Students at marketing programs are drilled over and over about maintaining a company’s brand and reputation. I remember clearly in one of my graduate courses my professor telling me “under-promise and over-deliver” so often that every time I put together a proposal or program for a client now I can almost feel his stare over my shoulder as I type.
The same rings true for an individual. I don’t care if you’re Kraft or your name is Karen. Your brand matters. Even more so in this new media world where everyone is a journalist, marketer, trade association, influencer and all around “consultant.” How can you possibly differentiate yourself? By paying close attention to your personal brand and by being your own best brand advocate. By delivering on your brand’s promise.
Consider these tips to becoming your brand’s best advocate:
- You are the company you keep. When working with a brand, make sure it resonates with you on more than just a monetary/ exposure level. You’ll be able to speak more authentically if you believe in the product you’re using.
- Keep up your appearances. Make sure your logo, graphics and brand identity (no, not the bag or shoes you are wearing) are in line before you go to the public.
- In that vein, good design doesn’t necessarily mean good content. Get your brand promise down to a 30-second elevator speech. Your business card can only say so much.
- Be interested and engaged. We are living in a “me-terial” world, but it shouldn’t disengage you from learning more about others.
- Network onto others as they network onto you. I’m a firm believer in passing along good connections. Karma, baby!
- Get the media essentials you need. All businesses big or small should have at least a basic media kit of the company’s mission and purpose, team bio pages and fact sheet. That way, with all that networking you’re doing, you’ll have some marketing materials to send your contacts! (For more information on our press kit offering email us. Shameless plug, yes.)
- Authenticity matters. It’s time consuming, but wherever possible don’t outsource your brand’s messages to a third party. I’m talking to you, twitter.
Because at the end of the day, budgets, customers, clients aside, what you’re selling matters almost as much as who’s selling it.