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How to Rebrand Your Business: Part 3

Welcome back to the third week of our 5-part series on how to rebrand your business. Each week we will cover a unique and important aspect of the rebranding process. Be sure and catch up on the previous weeks’ posts if you’re just joining us! And now for this week’s critical question…

What is my mission?

what is my mission

Once you’ve assessed and confirmed your need to rebrand your business and reevaluated your current target customer base, it’s time to determine your new mission.

While your mission will most obviously be described by your mission statement and placed on marketing materials such as your website, social media profiles and brochures, it must also be something you and your employees live and breathe every day. Most importantly, your mission must be demonstrated by your actions and it must also align with your vision for the future of your business. Yes, this will require a little critical thinking/soul searching, but is an important part of the rebranding process that many people overlook.

Mainly, I believe most people avoid updating their mission during the rebranding process because it can be a daunting task to fit everything your business stands for in a succinct sentence or two. But this exercise alone demonstrates your innate understanding of your business and its purpose. It’s not always fun, but it’s necessary – ah, such is life!

To help you get started with honing in on your new mission as part of your new brand, let’s think through these three questions together.

What benefit do you provide to your customers?

Whether you sell a product or a service, you should be ultimately selling a “benefit” to your customers. Common examples are expertise, efficiency, peace of mind, enjoyment, quality and comfort. Focus on your one or two most prevalent benefits and identify the key parts of your business that affect your ability to provide these benefits. For example, a restaurant that provides enjoyment and quality to its customers relies heavily upon its cooks and wait staff to produce these benefits. These should then be a main focus of your mission statement.

What makes it more desirable to work with you than a competitor (or no one at all)?

Let’s consider that restaurant example again. It provides enjoyment and quality to its customers – just as any other restaurant aims to do. Why should people patronize your establishment over the countless others nearby? This point of differentiation will become a very important part of your mission statement, so take note as to how you personally answer it! Price, atmosphere, convenience and professionalism are some good examples as to how you might fill in this blank.

What gets you out of bed and into the office every morning?

Finally, dig deep and honestly answer what gets you out of bed and into the office (or in front of your computer) each morning. Not only will this shed light on an important part of your mission, it will also identify any internal issues you might have with your business that need worked out with the rebranding process.

For example, if it’s only the thought of cash that gets you to work, that is a red flag that you may also need to focus some time on finding a passion for your business that isn’t solely financially focused. Rather, if it is the passion for helping people, collaborating with your employees, solving problems or telling someone’s story that “drives” you to work, you now know one more very important piece of your current mission!

And remember…rebranding alone won’t fix a poorly run business or a broken process any more than a bandage will fix a gaping wound. When venturing down the road to rebranding, be sure to reevaluate all aspects of your business to identify weak spots!

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the previous posts from this 5-part series:

Part 1: Do I need to rebrand?

Part 2: Who are my customers?

Join in the conversation by commenting below!

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2015 in Business & Success

 

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How to Rebrand Your Business: Part 2

Welcome back to the second week of our 5-part series on how to rebrand your business. Each week we will cover a unique and important aspect of the rebranding process. Be sure and catch up on the previous weeks’ posts if you’re just joining us! And now for this week’s critical question…

Who are my customers?

who are my customers

When you first start a business, you have to take an educated guess as to who is most likely to be your core customer base. But after several years in business, your sales may suggest that who you’re targeting is not who is actually buying. It’s important to monitor this data and regularly evaluate whether your current brand is still appealing to your target market.

If you should find, for example, that your brand is designed to appeal to men, but most of your sales are to women, this is one indicator that rebranding your business may be a smart move. So how do you begin to identify such trends and changes in your customer base? Here are several ways to pinpoint who your customers really are.

Who is most engaged on social media?

What people are saying about your business is just as important as who is saying it. Take a look at your business’s Facebook page, Twitter accounts and Instagram followers. Who is tagging you in posts, leaving comments and liking your updates? It shouldn’t take too much digging to uncover the demographics that describe your most engaged social media connections. Their names will give you an indication of their gender, their photos will give you an estimate of their age, their profile will tell you where they live and their updates will help to understand their passions and hobbies. The is a powerful way to begin understanding who your target audience really is, but first understanding who is currently engaged with your business.

Who is making the purchase?

Next, you should look at who is paying your bills. While social media provides some great information about your fans and followers, there are many people who will sing praises of your business, but have never made a single purchase with you. Sure, they might be potential customers down the road but the only thing they are paying you right now is lip service. Look through your client accounts and identify the gender, location and any other pieces of personal information you collect to identify who is giving you money. This will tell you who you should continue to target because they are people who have already moved to the “action” step and will likely do so again.

Who are your loyal customers?

Finally, identify those customers who have made large and/or multiple purchases with you. Who keeps coming back for more? Try and find what they have in common. Are they of a similar age, geographic location or income level? Create a profile of what this “superstar customer” looks like and use it for the next and most important step. Which is….

Evaluate how well your current brand connects with your core customer base?

So you have all this great information about your most engaged and loyal customers, now it’s time to evaluate your brand against what appeals to them. Ideally, you will form a small focus group with people who fit this customer profile. If your resources are limited, hold an internal brainstorming session with your team and play the role of this customer. Critically look at all aspects of your brand – logo, slogan, colors, website, social media, marketing materials and outreach. The ultimate question to answer is “Do our efforts align with the brand that is most likely to attract our best customers?”

And remember…rebranding alone won’t fix a poorly run business or a broken process any more than a bandage will fix a gaping wound. When venturing down the road to rebranding, be sure to reevaluate all aspects of your business to identify weak spots!

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the previous posts from this 5-part series:

Part 1: Do I need to rebrand?

Join in the conversation by commenting below!

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2015 in Business & Success

 

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How to Rebrand Your Business: Part 1

You are joining us at the perfect time! We’re just beginning a 5-part series on how to rebrand your business. Whether rebranding is the right answer for your business or not, this is a smart question to ask yourself every so often to ensure you’re managing a healthy brand and taking advantage of every opportunity to improve your business’s image. Let’s get started by asking the most critical question…

Do I need to rebrand?

do i need to rebrand

The answer to this question isn’t always yes. For as many rebranding success stories you’ll find, you can also compare them against the many rebranding fails (take a look at these). Rebranding requires a lot of work and can be a risky move. When you think your business is in need of a complete branding overhaul, carefully weigh the pros against the cons.

People often forget that true branding is not just your logo. It’s the public perception and emotional attachment to your business that are years in the making. When you think of it this way, you’ll better understand why beginning the journey of rebranding is a big – and powerful – step.

For businesses who have experienced success as a result of rebranding, they could justify this decision because at least of the following sentences was personally true for. Let’s take a look at what these are and I urge you to carefully consider whether any of these sentences ring true for you as well.

  1. My brand lacks clarity.

When people see your logo, website and marketing materials, are they able to easily identify what service or product you provide? Your brand needs to quickly and clearly communicate what you do. Brand clarity also applies to communicating why people should want to do business with you (i.e. how you’re different from the competition or the value and quality of service you offer). If you hand someone your business card and they still have to ask you what it is you do, this sentence is likely true of your brand.

  1. My brand does not appeal to my target audience.

Your brand needs to speak to the people who are actually going to spend money with you. While it may be cool to have a trendy, abstract logo with slang in your tagline, if your core customer base is age 65+, you are not going to appeal to them. Hopefully you’ve nailed down the demographics of your target audience (if not, definitely stay tuned for next week’s blog!). Does your brand reflect this research? If not, this sentence is likely a true statement of your brand.

  1. My brand does not align with my current mission and/or future vision of my company.

Your business should be constantly evolving. You should be honing in on the products or services that make you money and narrowing down your target audience so that marketing to them is a science. Because of this evolution, it’s understandable that your brand may need to be altered as well to keep up with these changes. Whether you’re going through something as drastic as a merger or acquisition or you simply discovered your target audience has proven to be different than who you thought they would be 5+ years ago, this sentence may be true for your brand.

  1. My employees don’t feel connected to or accurately represented by our brand.

Just as your brand is the public’s perception and emotional connection to your business, it is also you and your employees’ perception and emotional connection to the business. You should be excited to hand out your business card, visit your website or review your marketing materials. If you’ve found that your staff have become apathetic or embarrassed by your brand, this is likely because they can no longer relate to it. If this is the case, rebranding may help you pump excitement back into your business.

When you said these sentences, were any true of your brand right now? Then you’ll definitely want to stay tuned for next week’s post as we continue our 5-part rebranding series with expert advice on how to reevaluate your customer base.

And remember…rebranding alone won’t fix a poorly run business or a broken process any more than a bandage will fix a gaping wound. When venturing down the road to rebranding, be sure to reevaluate all aspects of your business to identify weak spots!

Join in the conversation by commenting below!

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2015 in Business & Success

 

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Bennis Inc Has a New Website…And There’s Something In It For You!

Have you ever found that the service your company provides is sometimes the very service it personally lacks? It’s the same theory of “the cobbler’s children have no shoes.” As professionals, we often pour all of our talents and energy into serving our clients, that we forget to reserve a little to take care of ourselves.

I was a living example of this.

My website was three years old. It wasn’t broken, but it wasn’t a showpiece for the level of public relations and branding services I provide my clients. I needed to break out of my complacency, make the investment and update my website to something I want to show everyone I meet. And the New Year was a perfect jump start to make me reach out to a talented web design company that also happens to be a friend of Bennis Inc. David, owner of Nicely Done Sites, and I have shared clients in the past and I knew his team would understand my vision and come up with something even better than what I could have described.

The collaboration was invigorating! Our first kickoff meeting was on January 15 and the site pushed live less than one month later. We both acknowledged that this was an unusually fast turnaround time, but when it’s what you do for clients everyday, it’s to be expected that we were efficient with our respective roles in this project.

By now, some of you may have already jumped over to the Bennis Inc website to explore our new look. If you’re still waiting for an official invitation, join me by visiting http://www.bennisinc.com (I, too, now gaze at its beauty several times per day).

And here are some highlights of what you will find…

The homepage has just two slider images that communicate our most important messages. The images are high resolution, modern, elegant and timeless - all words I wanted my new website to embody.

The homepage has just two slider images that communicate our most important messages. The images are high quality, modern, elegant and timeless – all words I wanted my new website to embody.

Here's just one fun feature my website showcases - scrolling numbers below icons that highlight some of my most notable accomplishments. Necessary? No. Awesome? Absolutely.

Here’s just one fun feature my website showcases – scrolling numbers below icons that highlight some of my most notable accomplishments. Necessary? No. Awesome? Absolutely.

While I custom create my package of services for each client, I wanted to clearly and concisely give people an understanding of my specialties. This section of the website accomplishes just that.

While I custom create my package of services for each client, I wanted to clearly and concisely give people an understanding of my specialties. This section of the website accomplishes just that.

“That looks great, Stephanie, but you said there is something in it for me?” You’re right…there is!

My own journey of re-branding my business by updating my website reminded me just how powerful change (both big and small) is for any business. This is something I want to continue to spread to as many other professionals as possible! One of the most effective ways I’ve been able to do this for others is by helping them create or update their Linkedin profile content. Personal branding is one of my favorite aspects of public relations and Linkedin is a great way to accomplish this.

For this special “Rebranding” promotion I am offering a full Linkedin profile update for just $95!

Services include:

  • 1-hour initial phone consultation to discuss your current profile and goals for your new profile
  • New content for every section of your Linkedin profile
  • Up to 2 rounds of revisions based upon your feedback
  • Manually updating the content within your profile (or you may choose to do this yourself, if you prefer)
  • Suggestions and “industry best practices” for how you can continue to optimize your profile and take advantage of every opportunity available to you on Linkedin!

That’s more than $50 of savings from my regular pricing! This special price is limited to the first 10 clients who contact me on my new website contact form and setup our initial phone consultation. What are you waiting for?

If you are not 100% confident that your Linkedin profile is showcasing your talents and abilities in the best light possible, let me lend my expertise to help set you apart from other professionals in your industry! All you have to do is contact me on my new website contact form and setup an initial phone consultation.

And if you want even more inspiration for rebranding your own business, stick around for my 5-part series on “How to Rebrand Your Business” running each Monday from February 16 through March 16!

Topics include:

  • Do I need to rebrand?
  • Who are my customers?
  • What is my mission?
  • What is my unique story?
  • What is my action plan for rebranding?

Have a question about rebranding your business or want to share a personal rebranding success story? Comment below!

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2015 in Business & Success

 

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How to Be Prepared for Absolutely Anything in Life

Be prepared like Noah

This quote is a great reminder that preparation is never a waste of time or energy.

I have one very distinctive personality trait that I can remember possessing as far back as grade school, throughout college and I still exhibit it to this day. It’s that I love to be over prepared. So much so, that I sometimes plan for extreme scenarios (coming down with pneumonia, driving off with my laptop on the hood of my car, sustaining a small house fire) and get my ducks in a row early and often so that I wouldn’t miss a beat, personally and professionally, should any of this happen.

In school, I would begin and often complete a semester-long project during the first 2 months. I would spend the rest of that time working ahead on other coursework – or as I did my senior year – starting my own PR consulting business. I often had fellow classmates or roommates ask me why I would work ahead when I didn’t have to. My response was always something along the lines of “I’d rather know I have it done now than risk something coming up later and not being able to finish it in time.” Yes, I sounded like a nerd then (and I still sort of am), but this personality trait proved to be a very strategic time management technique that has served me well throughout my life.

For all those times that I prepared and worked ahead on something and never got sick, injured or had technology malfunction on me, I was rewarded with free time to use however I wished. Sometimes I would work on other projects and sometimes I would simply relax. I also graduated college in the top 2 percent of my class without ever having to pull and all-nighter (where’s my plaque for that?).

I still plan in advance and have developed quite a few time-saving hacks that allow me to set my own schedule, take unlimited vacation days and travel throughout the year. When I’m in the groove, I work hard. For example, I’m actually writing this blog on January 2nd – Happy New Year! And this published live while I was playing with my son.

Being prepared has helped me to look like a professional and serve my clients well. It’s one of the things I am most complimented on and I take it very seriously. So how do I manage to stay ahead of the curve balls life so often throws our way? Here are 4 tips I personally use to be prepared for absolutely anything in life.

  1. Train in all areas of life

During “crunch time” when I have many projects that all seem to need to be delivered on the exact same day, I’ve found mental toughness to be a great asset. A daunting to-do list can be paralyzing, but if you can push through this mental barrier and just start somewhere, anywhere, that is 80 percent of the battle. I’ve found my own mental toughness to be closely linked to my physical strength. This is why, in addition to being a passionate entrepreneur, I remain a dedicated athlete. Physical activity is a part of my daily routine and I prioritize it.

I’ve had people ask me, “What are you training for?” My response is always, “Life.” It’s true. I am always training for life and that includes physically, mentally and spiritually. If you are equally strong in all three of these areas, you will be better equipped to handle whatever life throws your way.

  1. Clear your bandwidth daily

I refer to my workload capacity as my “bandwidth” and I have found that I can accommodate far more tasks than I ever thought possible if I make a conscious effort to clear this bandwidth daily. I try and zero-out my task list each night so that I can start each day with a clean slate and a narrowed down list of true priorities. If I can do it now, I do. This technique has allowed me to jump on spur of the moment projects and other work opportunities that I would have had to pass up had I not had the clear bandwidth. It also greatly reduces the stress that comes with a full day’s work combined with emergency projects or unexpected setbacks like a sick kid.

  1. Be productive not “busy”

There is a difference between being productive and being busy. I’m sure you can think of at least one person you know who always gripes about being so “busy” yet you know there isn’t that much on their to-do list or that they waste time in various ways. Productive people accomplish just as much (often more) than a busy person in far less time. It’s the concept of working smarter, not harder.

When I get in the zone on a work project, I shut out all other distractions (no TV, muted phone, no social media, no other windows open on my computer) and accomplish the task in half the time it would take me if I was multitasking. Aim to be productive, not busy and you will be far more resilient when reacting to life’s curve balls.

  1. Celebrate when everything goes as planned!

Finally and most importantly, stop and enjoy the free time you’ve earned by being prepared. As I mentioned, I often use this time to work ahead on pet projects or relax with “me time.” It all depends upon my mood. Planning ahead is not meant to be a trap where you continue working endlessly, rather it’s about working efficiently and using the time this hard work has earned you to do other things you love!

Do you feel prepared for the obstacles that life throws at you or are you often blind-sided and left scrambling to pick up the pieces? Tell me how you prepare (or want to better prepare) yourself to handle life’s curve balls by commenting below!

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2015 in Business & Success, Life

 

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Life Lesson: Above the Clouds the Sun is Still Shining

The sky above the clouds in Philadelphia on December 12, 2014.

The sky above the clouds in Philadelphia on December 12, 2014.

Last month, I was flying from Orlando to Philadelphia after ending a weeklong “workcation.” As if it wasn’t hard enough coming back home after some relaxing time away, we also had to trade in the sunny skies of Florida for the thick layer of icy clouds above Philadelphia.

I looked out the airplane window as we began our descent and saw what looked like a flat arctic tundra as far as the eye could see. Without the plane’s wing in view, anyone might believe that the photo (to the left) was taken near the North Pole.

The whole scene felt surreal, like what might exist outside the gates of heaven. No, not because of the clouds, but because of the bright blue skies that shined above the clouds. Regardless of actual temperature, the view looked warm, calm and peaceful – and it helped teach me a very valuable lesson that couldn’t have come at a more perfect time in my life.

Above the clouds, the sun is still shining.

That week away was my first real period of extended relaxation since becoming a mother (family vacations just aren’t quite as relaxing with a toddler). I had been looking forward to it for months and coming home – especially to Pennsylvania in December – was the harsh reality that I would have to get back to my less than glamorous responsibilities as an entrepreneur and mom with no reprieve for the foreseeable future. To add to this dismal outlook, my husband was headed straight into his busy season of travel, taking him away from us on average half of the days each month through the end of January.

I wasn’t looking forward to that plane’s descent, the one that would take me not only under the clouds and away from the sun, but back to project deadlines, toddler tantrums, holiday stress and playing the role of two parents. But that final glimpse of blue skies was the hope I needed to remind me that the sun will always be there – even throughout my gloomier days.

Weeks later, this Pennsylvania winter is only getting started and it’s been days (maybe weeks) since I’ve really felt the sun on my skin. It’s tempting to give in to the weight of the clouds and lose sight of the joy that exists just a layer above.

That’s the broader life lesson I think we can all take away from this snapshot.

The clouds you are under right now are likely far more than just the weather. Maybe it’s post-holiday financial stress, work, relationship issues or simply the winter blues. No matter what “clouds” you have hanging above your head right now, be encouraged by the sun that is shining not too far away on the other side.

Just as the sun will eventually burn away these winter clouds and bring us back to the summer sun, our own internal burning determination to melt away the hypothetical clouds in our lives also has the power to bring us back to blue skies and happier times.

Were you inspired by this post? Share your own life lesson that you have recently learned!

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2015 in Life

 

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How Do an Introvert and Extrovert Live Together in Peace?

Opposites_attract When I first met my husband, I immediately loved how effortless it was to be with him. I was content in his company because I could be myself and say whatever was on my mind. Some days we would pack a week’s worth of activities into a few hours and other days we would do absolutely nothing special – and every day together was (and still is) so much fun. To people who know us, they might say we are a good match for one another. We have similar interests, career aspirations and humor. Yet, what many people would never guess is that we are actually opposites when it comes to our personality type. I am an introvert and he is an extrovert. While there are other differences as well, this has been the most noticeable throughout our life journey together.

A common misconception is that introverts are shy and extroverts are outgoing. Not so. What it really boils down to is where you get your energy. I require alone time, solitude and quiet to recharge after interacting with people. My husband, the extrovert, gathers his energy from being around people. A day of solitude is actually draining to him. You can see how two people with opposite personality types can quickly run into a few road bumps when seeking out their energy sources.

So how can we all get along and give each other the space, or the attention we need even when it’s opposite from what we might crave? Here are 5 tips for how I have personally learned to live in peace and balance with someone the opposite of my personality type.

  1. Make an effort to understand each other’s personalities.

I gave you the two-sentence summary of introverts and extroverts, but that hardly scratches the surface. One of the best things my husband and I did was take the Myers-Briggs type indicator leading up to our marriage. We were able to see the differences in how we approach different situations in life and it really shed light on areas in which we may not see eye to eye because of our different personalities. Rather than being frustrated because he didn’t react to something the same way I did, I gained the understanding that he is reacting in a way that is appropriate and acceptable for him. Also, realizing that he is drained by too much downtime and solitude gave context to why he might like to hop to the next activity when I would rather have a break. Really understanding each other’s personalities is essential for living together in peace.

  1. Don’t judge or compare.

With the understanding of our differences, comes the temptation to judge and compare these differences. It also made me self-conscious of handling situations differently than he would. Why would I rather stay home when he wants to go see friends? Why do I feel drained when he’s excited to interact with everyone around him? The answer to this question is that it simply doesn’t matter. Comparing an introvert to an extrovert is like comparing hot to cold, black to white, up to down and wondering why they aren’t the same. It’s maddening if you don’t recognize it and change that way of thinking! In your own relationships, try not to be critical of each other’s need for social interaction or desire for alone time. Rather, encourage it.

  1. Find balance with independent activities.

My husband enjoys things I don’t and vice versa. Rather than give up these hobbies and interests because we don’t share them, we seek them out independently. An example is when we go on vacation. He might spend an afternoon golfing (something I have never had an interest in) while I read a book, take a nap or spend time with someone else in my family. There are still many things we do together, but we are not joined at the hip. We are confident and comfortable with our relationship to enjoy time apart without feeling guilty or conflicted. This has been a very valuable for helping us – an introvert and extrovert – live together happily.

  1. Be in tune to cues and triggers.

While we are opposites, this is not an excuse for my husband or me to be blind to each other’s cues and triggers for stressful situations. I continue to learn from past experiences what may cause him to be uncomfortable, unhappy or angry. These are very different from my own triggers. I can also pick up on non-verbal cues for when he may be in more distress than what he is openly communicating. I then search for ways to change the situation to alleviate the problem before it grows into a full-blown fight. I can say the same for him about me as well (and I will openly admit that I am more likely the person getting stressed out). Taking an active role in trying to understand each other’s personalities has helped us to be a better support system when times get tough.

  1. Don’t take it personally.

Finally and most importantly, come to terms with the fact that you cannot and should not be the sole source of each other’s happiness. Especially in the beginning of our relationship, I wanted to accommodate my husband and his active and outgoing personality. If he suggested something to do, I would oblige even when I needed some downtime. This works for a while, but as we grew in our relationship I felt more and more comfortable expressing my desire for some alone time. We had to learn that these differences were not our failures to make each other happy. Sometimes he will attend a social event and I’ll stay home, and when we come together again we are content and excited to see one another. The bottom line is that opposite personality types aren’t designed to be the missing piece that fills every void. We must still seek out other friends and activities to be truly fulfilled.

Opposites attract – and we are one more example of this truth – however, learning to live together day in and day out while accommodating our opposite personality type has been a continual learning process. As we continue down this life journey together, there will be much more to learn and maybe the best we can do is stay passionate and sincere about wanting to help each other live a life of contentment – in whatever form that contentment is found.

Are you an introvert or extrovert who lives with the opposite? Share how you accommodate each other’s personality types by commenting below!

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2015 in Life

 

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