Thursday, August 26, 2010

Name Brand

Kleenex. Q-tips. Google. What do these things have in common? Major brand identity. How many of us ask for a tissue or use a cotton swab to clean our ears. How many of us "search" for something online?

It used to be that this type of branding was reserved for large corporations but things have changed radically. Do you know who is a brand now? You are. Each and every one of us are not just "consultants" for our company; we are a brand. People look at us to see what it's all about. When we present our product, we also present ourselves.

So what does this mean? How can you use this to your advantage? What do you need to be aware of?

In an age where so much communicating is done virtually, every thing you say is fair game. For example, if you are on Facebook and you have identified yourself on there as a consultant, it is best not to have posts that include swears or inappropriate material. If you're having a bad day or you're mad at someone, don't post it. Just a suggestion - but if people are aware of what you do, then everything you say is linked back to that. Whether or not you intend it that way, that is the perception.

Also, when you are doing business, whether its a party or just talking to a mom at the park, be sure to put your best face forward. I have learned to no longer go to the grocery store in sweat pants and a paint shirt and to always take the extra 2 minutes to run a brush through my hair and throw on some eye makeup. I don't go to the store in a 3-piece suit, but I do look respectable - like someone you wouldn't be afraid to invite into your home.

When we are prepared for business, business shows up. My kids have been taking swimming lessons every day for the past 2 weeks, which means I am sitting at the pool every day for a couple of hours. I have made sure to have catalogs and business info with me and to join in the conversation. I have some great leads from opportunities like this.

When it comes to branding, the main thing is awareness. Know that people are tuning in. How we present ourselves in non-work situations often speaks louder than when we are in consultant-mode.

Leslie (our VP of Sales) loves to say "Be Proud Out-loud!" I totally agree! Opportunity is everywhere. Be prepared to share with the people you meet. You are a brand. Make it the best brand you can!