Category Archives: Diversity

Word Association

Brandtags is a really cool word association game. It shows you a brand and you’re supposed to answer with the first word that comes to your mind.


You may be surprised at some of your answers. For instance, Motorola made me think of pagers, then StarTac (Yes, I realize I’m dating myself…).


This is definitely an exercise worth the time. Not because of the initial thought you have, but it allows you to think about the many experiences you have had with the brand and how those experiences collectively affected your immediate response.


And you’ll think about the consistency of your own brand. Do your clients/colleagues get the same message no matter how they interact with you? Are you always responsive, friendly, efficient (feel free to enter your word here). And if not, what can you do about it?


Towanda Long aka The Café Lady


Your Image: Don’t Be Afraid To Be Different

I’m looking for a “free thinking” freelancer to partner with on an upcoming project. After scouring a few dozen websites, one thing has become painfully obvious.

There are too many people out there afraid to be different. I’m looking for a partner that’s not afraid to think differently, to try different things until the right solution is born.  

But I did not see creativity. Instead I saw the same language used over and over again. The credentials, testimonials, solutions, work samples, it all looked the same. Now, I’m sure each of these freelancers have something that makes him/her unique, but I can’t tell from the site. And I’m not inclined to contact them for more samples, because I expect the best to be posted. 

However, there is one great thing that came from this exercise. I’m now taking stock of my own image, because I want to be sure it represents me, the true Towanda. And I encourage you to do the same.

Look at everything. Not only your website and brochures, but everything (business cards, CDs, newsletters, etc.) you use to tell people about you and your products/services.  Are your materials full of business clichés that have lost their meaning? Do they look like every other company? Are they full of industry jargon? If you answer yes to any of these, consider updating.

After all, you and/or your business is unique. So, everything about it should reflect that.  

And I’m sure there are plenty of clients out there like me, looking to work with professionals that bring something unique to the table, not “business as usual.” 

Towanda Long aka The Café Lady

Diversity Training- Is it Necessary to Understand?

On paper it sounds good: Get a diverse group together for an open discussion on race, religion, politics or sexual orientation. However, if you’ve experienced one of these open discussions you’ll know that reality doesn’t really care about the paper.


Why? Because it is inevitable. Someone will say “I don’t understand why (you fill in the blank)” and it’s downhill from there (i.e. I don’t understand why black people got upset about Tilghman’s lynch Tiger remark).


This normally leads to the offended group trying to explain why an act or language is offensive, hoping others will eventually understand or “get it”. This in turn becomes frustrating, time-consuming, and usually ends with everyone feeling misunderstood. As you can see this is not very productive. In fact, it’s a no win situation.

Here’s the thing. You don’t have to “understand”. It’s like other things in life. If you’re not a mother you’ll find it difficult to “understand” the unconditional love a mother has for her children. If you haven’t been fired you won’t “understand” what it feels like to be suddenly unemployed.

 In the same way, if you’re not African-American you may not “understand” the pain associated with a hanging noose. If you’re not Native American you may not “understand” why the label Indian is offensive. Thankfully it’s not necessary to “understand.”

It IS necessary that we respect each other and our differences. It is necessary that we refrain from using derogatory language and actions.  And it is extremely important that we educate ourselves on ethnic and racial groups, so that we are sensitive to each other, seeing our differences as an asset, not a liability.  

Towanda Long aka The Café Lady