Whether you realize it or not, you are your brand. From the custom-designed swag you give as gifts to the attendees of the keynote speaking engagements you accept to the “personality” of your online presence — it all represents your company.
However, it’s not enough to just have a brand — you also need to capitalize on it. Always be out there actively representing and promoting your brand. Because if you’re not, who is?
I not only live this philosophy, I also coach my clients on some of the most effective ways to work on their company’s branding. A key point I always make is to remember to be authentic and be you. This will not only keep the phone ringing with new business calls but reinforce your standing with current clients — and guarantee you are top of mind when they need assistance.
Here are five ways to brand your business in 2018.
Find Speaking Engagements
Getting up in front of a crowd can be nerve-racking for some, but there is no better way to capture an audience than presenting on an engaging topic at the front of the room. Make a resolution to accept as many speaking engagements as you can.
Not sure how to find speaking engagements? Check with your local chambers of commerce or trade organizations within your industry. Just be sure the topic is one you’re comfortable speaking about so it makes a positive impression. The most important thing is to be earnest and let your personality shine through when you speak, giving the audience an authentic look into you and your brand.
By now, everyone knows how important networking is for a business. In today’s fast-paced and information-dense environment, it’s more important than ever to make a good impression quickly. This calls for more than just handing someone a business card. You have to make a genuine connection with those you meet.
Choose events that resonate with you personally or align well with your company’s mission statement. Maybe it’s a charity that you support or a business leader’s group you’d like to get to know. But remember, don’t be pushy. Ask leading questions to find common ground and always remember to include a personal note when you follow up. Make it known that interaction with your brand is always a positive and helpful experience.
The key here is to stay informed and then share that knowledge with clients and contacts. Send relevant article links, tips and stories to keep your brand top of mind and to build lasting relationships. Don’t forget to share when you’re featured, as well — inclusion in news articles and blogs showcases your expertise and provides a third-party endorsement of your company.
There are a variety of ways to connect including social media and e-newsletters, but it’s important to be mindful of the frequency of your communication. Too much or too often can potentially cause more harm than good.
Be A Connector
Give to give, not to get. Whether it’s helping a friend, colleague, journalist or acquaintance, giving feels good. Being a connector — with no strings attached — makes you a valuable resource that will often lead to unexpected outcomes. Offering a helping hand always leaves a positive lasting impression — and it feels good!
Helping others is good for the soul and a fun way to meet like-minded people. Corporate social responsibility is important to all businesses, large or small. And employees, clients and the community like to support companies who give back.
Whether you are delivering meals to the food-insecure, planning a fundraiser or providing mentorship to young people, participating in the activism for causes you and your company care about leaves a lasting impression. Advocating for volunteerism promotes your company’s philosophy of supporting the community and also helps to promote the charity. You’ve not only volunteered — you’ve provided the cause with a third-party endorsement.
Branding is about consistency and securing that unsolicited third-party endorsement. Whether you are an attorney at a law firm, a doctor who has a general practice, an established nonprofit seeking donors, a realtor seeking or selling a listing, a developer selling condos, a restaurant looking to increase patronage or a publicist (like me) building her client base, owning your identity and managing your brand will contribute to your successes in 2018. So get out there! And don’t forget to be yourself.