I understand the importance of visibility. As a small business owner, being “known” can be the difference between a steady flow of revenue or closing your doors. Yet, being visible is not enough. Being remembered is most important and means you occupy some prime real estate in the mind of someone. Garnering “share of mind” means that somewhere along the way they sampled your character and competence and you became memorable.
Marketing, by definition, is creating an exchange environment. For an individual, that could mean exchanging a referral, speaking positively on your behalf, a promotion or an introduction. Branding, by definition, is an emotion or image tied to a product.
You are the product.
Even in businesses, people are the brand and define the company, more than any mere mission statement hanging in the lobby. So, how does an individual create “buzz” for their brand for visibility and more importantly to be remembered so that they can develop credibility?
1. Know what makes you unique.
Whether you’re job hunting or wanting a position on board of director’s, you need to confidently know what value you bring to the table.
2. Get really good at communicating what makes you valuable.
Ninety-three percent of communication is tone and body language. Spend time on the words so that what you say and how you communicate are congruent with your value. Yet, know that communication includes your image, the way you present yourself, your workspace, your phone skills and even your lunch meeting etiquette. They must all be congruent with what makes you valuable. Any discrepancies will jeopardize your credibility and could produce negative word of mouth which is a problem that I will address in future articles.
3. Manage that communication.
If you’re creating “buzz” around your brand, it will require you proactively managing the communication. For example, if you’re new to a company or a position you will need to build a credibility wall. Yes, a physical wall if possible. It showcases every plaque, certificate, service honor, licensing, certification and degree you’ve received. This wall is your visual third party testimonial on the character and competence of your brand. Since that wall cannot travel with you, make sure that anytime you’re honored for volunteer service or recognized for a contribution that a copy of the “thank you” letter, note or card be placed into you personnel file.
Even if you’re on your own, these “proof of credibility” tools will take you far. As the vice president of a business fraternity in college, I booked speakers to speak to our fraternity for professional development. I asked each of them to write a letter for me about their experience working with me so that I could include that in my personal portfolio. Many of these speakers went on to become regional directors, chief operation officers, chief financial officers, company presidents and further that my portfolio has become quite valuable. Actively “buzz” your brand! Doing that will develop credibility; credibility will lead to influence; and influence will lead to leadership.
Maria Elena Duron is Editor-in-Chief for the Personal Branding Blog. Duron is the Founder of Buzz to Bucks Word of Mouth Firm and the creator of #brandchat – recognized as one of the top 12 business and marketing chats. . She is a published expert on branding, marketing and produces a podcast on moving from buzz to bucks focusing on gaining profitable business results. She speaks regularly to small businesses on marketing that’s profit driven and gaining more clients in the most budget friendly way.