My next series of articles about working mothers and potential careers is that of owning your own business.
Some people hesitate now to open the doors of their company due to the economic struggles we’ve faced. Others believe that this economic challenge offers many potential benefits to a new business owner (which I’ll discuss in my next post).
Today, though, I wanted to talk a bit about branding yourself. I’ve interviewed several people who have given excellent insight into this key element of making it in the business world, whether you are opening your own company or working for another.
Branding yourself is as what it sounds – thinking of yourself as a brand.
Drew Gerber, CEO of Blue Kangaroo, Inc. and creator of Pitch Rate, says thinking of yourself as a brand is vital in making an impact in the business world.
“Most people think of Coca Cola or Starbucks when they think of a brand, but you have to think of yourself as a brand and how you will position yourself in the marketplace,” he says.
How do you do this? “You position yourself in the marketplace as the expert you want to be, and then you begin to market yourself.”
Consider who you are, what makes you the expert on the subject matter, job, or business in which you are applying or forming, and then market yourself in this way.
Susan Harrow of PR Secrets agrees and says that the impression you give should be who you really are – not a projected image of someone you think the client wants to see, or who you feel you should be to have this job. “When I go to your website, does it feel like you? Does it sound like you? When I meet you is it going to be the same?”
How can you establish yourself as an expert in a field, and thus begin to brand yourself as that expert? Gerber offered several tips:
- Appear on the news, radio, or in print. This, says Gerber, is probably one of the most overlooked ways of establishing yourself, but, he adds, ” . . . think of what a placement in the local newspaper sent along with a resume will do.”
- Join local groups. Get known within the community. Where are the people in the community and what are they involved in? Find out and get there and become known.
- Use in person contact. Emailing someone is fine, but talking to them on the phone is even better. And best? Meeting them in person. Gerber says human interaction really makes a point, and Harrow agrees, stating in person and on the phone you can get a feel for someone and the conversations can turn and lead in a direction never possible in an email.
- Use social market to establish your credibility as an expert but, Gerber cautions, social networking should not become your business platform. Use it as a tool to grow, but not the only tool.
Some other things to consider:
- Are you projecting the image you want to project? Do your clothes and attitude portray the brand you are hoping to portray to the marketplace. Think about it: Who says the word Nike without thinking of the swish, or hears the words Coca Cola without thinking red and white? If someone hears your name or your company name, what image will they see?
- Your image should be who you are, and this should reflect in everything you do. You shouldn’t ‘make up an image’ to show to the crowd, and then drop that image when you go home for the night. Otherwise you will feel uncomfortable and another image will shine through for the public – one of nervousness and anxiety.
- Always look for ways to show yourself as an expert. Speaking at local events, attending workshops, teaching classes, writing articles, contributing to local publications, and appearing on the news and in media are all ways in which you can make yourself known in the field and, therefore, establish yourself as a brand.