Category

Personal Branding: You and more

Business, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Personal Brand, Personal Branding: You and more

Entrepreneurship Demands You To Sharpen This One Skill

Entrepreneurship is not easy – and demanding, to say the least.

Every day, either you are trying to get new customers or playing your A game to retain your best clients. And, while it looks rosy to say you want 50 new clients on board this year – it’s a feat to deal with when planning your favorite clients’ roster. The efforts that go into prospecting and persuasion is never-ending, let alone handling your other responsibilities.

Simple: entrepreneurship tests you way too much. And only a few can sustain their excitement when they get knocked down on account of multiple reasons – or one, for that matter.

But let’s level the ground and think from an entrepreneur’s perspective – how do they actually manage to coordinate with their employees (if they have), deal back and forth with their customers, build a culture that lasts, thrive when people join – and also maintain a model of inspiration to run the show all by themselves?

It’s their communication skills. That’s it.

There is no magic formula to run a business. But, just for assuaging yourself, on an otherwise tough day, well, you pretty much know it – it’s your speaking and writing skills that work as great enablers in connecting with others and growing your business.

When you know how to communicate your message, just as how you clearly vision it, you can advance to a communication level where you attract the kind of customers you want to work with.

Upon reading this post, here on Inc, it’s not just entrepreneurs who benefit with their speaking skills; it can be any one of you who want to grow in your career – be it as an entrepreneur or as an employee.

Think about it: e-mail correspondence, sales calls, media interviews, writing op-eds, back and forth negotiations to upsell your services with your existing customers, sketching a new product roadmap or product strategy, pitching your investors, giving a keynote, carving expansion plans; or speaking with external vendors – all these professional chores demand clear, empathic and fluid communication from you.

Pacing up with these challenges disguised as opportunities (well, it’s the way to look at it) need you to sharpen your communication saw.

However, the sanguine perspective is this: as an entrepreneur, you can keep improving your communication skills via following keynotes, presentations, webinars, seminars and [Ted] talks given by your ecosystem/ partners/ business ideals. The opportunities are abundant and there cannot be a better time to ameliorate your verbal and written skills by being a life-long, agile learner.

One of the best examples to note in this context is Gary Vaynerchuk’s TheAskGaryVee show – he gives a no-nonsense, straight talk to you that helps you succeed in business (and life).

Shaping up your business ecosystem rests largely on how you ‘connect’ with your business stakeholders and community in general.

What are you doing to shine with your communication skills?

blog, Business, Career, Content marketing, Personal Brand, Personal Branding: You and more, Self marketing, social media, Solopreneur, Thought leadership

Think Like A Publishing Company (Because You Are One)

Social media has opened incredible avenues for anyone to write and publish. Let’s face it: we all are publishers. You’d see millions of people joining social networks and sharing their proud piece of work on the internet. Which, in a way, is not that overloading for others to read. Oxymoron? Not really. We have all heard about separating the wheat from the chaff, and that holds true even for your writing online.

 

There are people who have zero tolerance for gobbledygook or something irrelevant. They have some appetite for good content on the Web and ensure that they wear their blinkers on when they see/ read something, which doesn’t ring true with their filtering standards. They only look for a staple called wheat; rest everything else (no matter how much contextually ‘wow’ for others, doesn’t come under their scanner. It’s chaff, simple). The yardstick for reviewing content, although, depends upon many parameters, differing from a person to person.

 

Well, these people also happen to think like publishers. And so could you.

 

Your brand’s online presence hinges on how well you articulate your words with the right accent of emotion, rationale and a captivating narrative.

 

Thinking like a publishing company will help you connect with your readers in a no-nonsense way. Also, publishing companies can be really picky when they like a piece – and they would go on a reading stampede to ensure that when they are inundated with so many articles or pitches, they work like neat surgeons in keeping the substance and letting go of content that doesn’t resonate with them.

 

This approach can work for you in building an intelligent brand equity in your business realm. Once your brand starts gaining momentum via producing content for your readers, there will be more [writing, business, speaking] invitations – and you’d, then, have to think like a publisher to accept the most relevant and promising invitations while letting go of the ones that do not connect with your brand’s purpose and overall vision.

 

You have a voice to shine online across your intellectual properties by being neat about your writing and how you approach your influencers and your ecosystem in general. By neat, I mean crisp yet articulate, prudish yet personally opinionated, and fluid in subtly connecting with your readers.

 

Michael Brito, in his book, Your Brand: The Next Media Company also highlights the importance of honing your brand to think and to be like a successful media company. He has captured the meaning of content as a brand marketer brilliantly. And so, you can start developing your own media company like a mini-inc or a mini-Forbes via curating and creating excellent content on the Web, with your own set of guidelines and benchmarks when launching any form of content- be it blogs, articles, op-eds, case studies, Whitepapers, e-books, a paperback book, and lately, even a podcast.

 

As with building your personal brand, following the strategies of a publishing company, your content becomes more focused, enhanced with the right tonality and voice, and brings out more reasons for your readers to stay engaged with you for the long-haul.

 

Think and write like a publisher; have an outsized impact – in the form of more business, more writing and speaking invitations, co-branding opportunities, cofounding a business, co-authoring a book and much more.

 

Over to you. Do you think like a publisher?

Career, Personal Brand, Personal Branding: You and more, Thought leadership

Your Career Will Thank You For Having a Dynamic Personal Brand (Here’s Why)

Everyone wants to reach their career pinnacle – and have a positively enduring journey in between (at least until we have an epiphany that we have reached a certain level of success – the intensity and desire may vary, however).

 

Some of you may have advanced to a level where you feel you are progressing. And some of you maybe thinking to yourself, ‘can I get any better in my job?’

 

The answer is never a vanilla yes or no. It is rather yes and no – in fact, somewhere in between. But let’s face it: as J.T.O’Donnell says, every job is temporary. Then the question is, what really sticks with you? Is it your paycheck, which diminishes as you swipe that card and revel in your own version of luxury? Or is it your experience that guarantees you a job for the next 2-3 years, giving you a steady compensation? Or is it your level of proficiency that helps you land a gig or two, or a promising job, giving your respite for that said time?

 

Let’s iron out these questions with this last one (only if it helps you think more introspectively): Do you have a career insurance?

 

Should you feel the answer is yes, then you are doing something right.

 

And if it’s in the variations of ‘no,’ ‘maybe,’ ‘could be,’ then I do have an answer for you – and that is, create a compelling, indefatigable personal brand.

 

Your personal brand is your career insurance, rightly said by Dorie Clark. Essentially, it all boils down to how hard you need to work on developing a brand that is aligned with your long-term career aspirations. While you career aspirations might alter or change owing to certain personal or professional course of events, but the good news is: you can flex your personal brand and re-engineer your goals basis the changes you undergo professionally and personally.

 

Via a dynamic personal brand, you can embrace your status-quo and also incorporate your dream career you so ardently envision to have. And the best part? You become a great story teller – connecting disparate parts of your career narrative and tying it back to what you truly stand for.

 

Your personal brand is your passport to entering newer career avenues, locally and internationally. You become a business of You, Inc – and work no more like a 9-5 employee; you actually grind it out tenaciously like having a company of your own. Every oral and written correspondence reflects your personal brand. And so, when people want to know more about you via the company you work for, they may just scour your profile online and discover some great content and/or a blog post that makes them want to know you more. Wouldn’t you love this serendipity?

 

More so, being discovered as a promising, dynamic personal brand can give you ready career and business results:

 

  • Your boss can promote you earlier than you think because of your thought leadership in the industry.
  • You co-workers can trust you a great source of live personal-wiki when they need answers or general suggestions.
  • Your company’s clients can bank on you for consulting them in your area of specialization/ thought leadership.
  • You could land up getting bigger clients for the company via applying your branding knowledge to your company’s online and off media assets.
  • You become a great PR-able person for your company and your personal brand – writing value-packed articles/ bylines or blog posts that talk about latest developments in the market.
  • You can bag a career (and not a job) because of having extensive self-marketing collateral that plays a crucial role in the selection process over and above your resume.
  • You are agile enough to learn, unlearn and relearn new market developments and pivot should you feel your personal brand needs to accelerate. This lands you into new conversations with your hiring managers across varied industry verticals because of your contextual knowledge.

 

What are you waiting for?

 

Make your brand shine – and let your career do the talking: ‘Thank you!’

Business, Entrepreneur, Personal Brand, Personal Branding: You and more, Public relations, Self marketing

4 Ways You Can Thrive In Your Marketing Job As A Personal Branding Expert

marketing-job

This is the best mix – marketing and personal branding. Many of you [and me, of course] would love this title and the very perks that come along with this badge of honor.

Some ready benefits: you love the level-playing creativity that gradually unfolds with time; there is a certain mandate – be it PR, digital or social – that you are responsible for, which is pleasantly challenging; and you love the results part even more. (Who wouldn’t want to get business for the company when the stakes – both financial and personnel – are so high?)

While the positives are fairly more, let’s not overlook the challenges that come along with it that need a thorough attention, too. Let alone other countries, if you look at the number of marketing jobs in the Big Apple (NY) – there are an ample number there, already. The competition is only toughening to hire the best candidate who has a heady mix of knowledge, learning agility, branding, and excellent communication skills. (Well, other skills may vary based on the role and its set of requirements; these are the essentials, however.)

So if you have this job, savor it, totally!

With the changing marketing landscape, marketing veterans have to not only grow their company’s brand but also leverage the platforms and tools that best amplify their respective personal brand, too. After all, having your own well-established personal brand matters even more – given the online cacophony of zillion voices waiting to be attended to. You have to play your A game every day to stand out from the pack in your realm – and give tons and tons of value packed information/ content to able to differentiate yourself. (That’s hard work, I know – but worth every shot.)

Both the roles [your marketing job and being a personal branding expert] are equally important to have a more social impact, better visibility, and get more customers for the company – and for yourself, too.

And so, here are a few ways you can grow in your marketing role whilst also having a likable personal brand. Let’s dig in.

 

  • Synthesize your branding efforts. While it’s sometimes agreeable to keep your personal brand separate from your professional brand, but somewhere you need to reach an anchor point where you would have to align your branding efforts with your overarching business goal. So let’s say you have a marketing or a branding blog, you can start putting the links of your personal blog wherever you write professionally – be it for the company blog or other relevant publications. Your professional brand equity grows when you marry both the roles and use them interchangeably.

 

  • Speak at your company’s events. The best part of growing a personal brand? You have your own set of followers who believe in your purpose. Why not indulge in occasions where you would have to introduce yourself as a marketing head and also chime in with your own branding spiel? Events get the best version of you, as you know the best of both worlds and have a stellar brand narrative (from the company brand and personal brand standpoint). Once people notice that you are participative in such events, potential customers reach out to you for your openness, understanding of your role, and eloquence.

 

  • Keep learning. When you are in marketing (especially), you need to have a voracious reading appetite. Lay your eyes on the latest marketing books and read it; if not cover to cover, then absorb the chapters that are more informative and rich in content and value. Also, read books from other genres: that way it will make you more creative and help you connect the dots when you are trying to come up with a marketing strategy presentation for your coworkers. Reading helps you co-relate things in general and helps you in coming up with brilliant ideas for campaigns, creative, and business writing as well. That way, you can be a part of many seminars, webinars and brainstorming sessions where your opinion might just be the one what people are looking for. By keeping up with the latest marketing trends, you can apply that knowledge to growing your personal brand, too.

 

  • Brand your company holistically. Being a branding expert can help you build thought leadership for the company you are working for. The founders and CEO can benefit from your blogging, vlogging, and social media activities. This, in turn, builds their personal brand and gives them the industry recognition, too. What’s more? Branding the company’s employees fosters a participative culture where each employee’s brand is contributing towards the greater brand purpose of the company. For example, each employee from a said division can contribute his/ her ideas for the company blog or other intellectual properties, opine on the new trends that the company can leverage to grow its brand, holistically.

While these points may sound way too common, but they define your brand in its entirety; helping you leverage the best possible platforms to connect with your customers and coworkers.

How is your marketing job coming along together with growing your personal brand?

What challenges are you facing in this context?

Business, Career, Entrepreneur, Personal Brand, Personal Branding: You and more, Self marketing, Solopreneur, Stand Out

Does Your Brand Attract The Right Customers?

customer-photo

It all boils down to one thing: how you are marketing yourself in your business and standing out to make a social impact on your ‘desirable’ set of customers.

 

Not all customers that knock on your [metaphorical] Web site headquarters would be the ones who are really interested in what you are offering. In fact, quite a couple of times, there will be some cases where you will encounter potential customers who may be seemingly interested in your brand, only to bypass this opportunity later on.

 

That is why it is important to have an ‘agreeable’ brand imagery where would you desire to showcase via your brand is, quite appropriately, also perceived largely the same way by your ídeal’ set of customers.

 

The ensuing question then is: is your brand conveying the right messages on your promotion platforms? As you wouldn’t want any random person to Google your brand’s name and see a flurry of online results that completely not justify what you stand for. There has to be alignment between what you desire to communicate and what people deduce through the information that comes up online when they search for you.

 

So the first step for you should be to define your ideal customer avatar. Not the generic or bland descriptions; figure out what kind of customers you want to speak with, and do business with. For example, Starbucks is generally perceived as a place that is a home away from home; a sense of camaraderie is felt when you visit any Starbucks coffee shop. This is simply because Howard Schultz knows the kind of crowd it wants to attract through its brand’s purpose. Besides, it wants to be perceived as a brand that is more than just a coffeehouse. However, the answer is clear: whether you want to attract a variety of customers or stick to a specific customer avatar, it all hinges on how your brand’s purpose intersects with your customers’ experience. It is then, that I can safely say that you have attracted the right customers.

 

As nicely put by Russo in her post, here, putting your brand on the pedestal of forging relations that thrive over a period of time, instead of merely reflecting yet-another-business conversation that sounds transactional, can help you get in touch with prospective customers that value long-term business relationships. And what’s more? Your business brand is perceived as not just relational, but also as a mutually satisfying association opportunity.

 

How? Keep reiterating your brand’s purpose clearly on all your online and offline touchpoints – in every blog post, video, white paper, your ábout me’ section, your ‘contact us’ section, your social media profiles, work culture, values and work ethic that can lay out your reasons for connecting with new customers.

 

Hence it is crucial to first understand every bit of your customers – from a demographic, psychographic, interests, day to day behavior, and their agile mindset standpoint– to decipher whether your brand can truly connect with them at the most fundamental level, first. If not, keep looking out; don’t stop until you find your right customers. And, in some time, your brand will blossom when your customers write that first testimonial on your Web site – giving you enough and more reasons to take pride in how you have made an even stronger, relatable business/ personal brand through winning customers.

 

What is your strategy to attract your ideal customer?