Perception is everything. This is true whether your personal or business presence is at the forefront. How we present ourselves to peers, colleagues, clients and potential clients has a direct effect on business development and retention whether you are an entrepreneur or assisting with the overall branding and presence of the company that employs you.
Here are five ways to effectively brand yourself or your company:
1) Define Your Brand and What It Offers:
What do you do? What services or goods do you offer and to whom? What are you really good at? What is the culture and/or business climate you would like people to pick up on? What sets you apart from your competitors? You should use clear and concise language in this defining process. Words such as efficient, effective, collaborative, innovative, community oriented, diplomatic and visionary can be implemented into your brand definition and what it is you offer.
2) Make Your Presence Known:
These days with numerous search engines and, more importantly, social media, it is not hard to develop a presence in a community and/or market you plan to flourish in. Trademark that name and logo and blast it. Set up a website to highlight your personal and professional accolades. Make sure there is a direct correlation between what you are offering either individually or as a company, the brand and the logo.
3) Utilize Others to Further Promote Your Brand:
Two words that are associated with my name, individually and as an attorney, are “efficient” and “timely”. I work fast and I get things done when they need to be done. One of my clients always introduces me to other potential clients and colleagues by referencing how fast I get things done. I follow this up with a business card that has my logo on it to take full advantage of other’s willingness to help promote my brand. I also have an accountant who is trustworthy, efficient and cost effective. Whenever someone needs a referral for an accountant, I send them his name and specifically tie it in with his company name as well.
4) Presentation Is Everything, Come Correct:
While you are promoting your brand, either through the direct goods or services you are providing or via networking, put your best foot forward. This includes personal presentation and honesty. Do not promote yourself or your brand as something it is not, or as a portal of providing something it can’t. This is a sure fire way to diminish your brand and have negative associations before you can adequately build.
5) Listen to What People Say:
Your brand, despite how you envisioned it to come across, may not be exactly how others view it. If you are branding yourself as the top designer or stylist in the world, yet your clients are always on the worst dressed lists of major publications, there may be a disconnect in what you are presenting and what is being perceived. Additionally, if your company advertises and promotes its brand as low carb/low calorie snack, but Dateline uncovers there are 400 calories per serving……you my friend may have a problem and damage control may be imminent. Make sure the look, perception and personality of your brand lines up with how your consumers and clients speak of you.
Rashida Maples, Esq. is Founder and Managing Partner of J. Maples & Associates (www.jmaplesandassociates.com). She has practiced Entertainment, Real Estate and Small Business Law for 9 years, handling both transactional and litigation matters. Her clients include R&B Artists Bilal and Olivia, NFL Superstar Ray Lewis, Fashion Powerhouse Harlem’s Fashion Row and Hirschfeld Properties, LLC.
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