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Yesterday I spoke at the University of Maryland’s “Graduate Research Interaction Day 2014” (go terps). It was a great opportunity and I enjoyed it very much. It did get me thinking about how many of us consciously build our brands. This will be the first of three blog post on the subject of branding yourself.
Finding what you are passionate about is the first step in creating a personal brand that stands out. Figure out what you love and why you do it. A great video on Ted.com by Simon Sinek discusses the golden circle and encourages us to find our passion. What is branding? It’s building a relationship and engaging people—it’s a conversation.
Most people know “what” they do. Some know “how” they do it. Few know “why”. I challenge you to think about what your why is. What motivates you? Why do get up in the morning? And why does it matter?
Finding out your “why” and your passion will allow to stand out. A lot of people find it hard (and it is) to really stand up for what they believe in. Because this so rare, we value those that express what they are passionate about.
Safety is boring—average and ordinary are not memorable. It’s important to take risks.
Sure as humans we all want to fit in. But when it comes to your professional career, you want to be remembered top of mind.
It’s also important to know who is listening to your message. Who are the people with whom your message resonates? These are the people that share your worldview–that ones that have the same beliefs and values. These are the people that speak your language….find them NOW! Those are the people that will understand your kind of crazy. Embrace them and form your tribe.
Yesterday we saw the acquisition of Instagram for $1B or did we? What did Facebook really buy? A photo sharing application? Hardly. Facebook did not buy Instagram. What Facebook bought was far more valuable. They bought engagement through human connection and emotion. Every time we (you & me) take a picture with Instagram, there is an emotional connection that occurs. We are instantly curious. Our minds can often take us into the picture where we start imagining our own world, our own story.
Have you ever been on Facebook and started to randomly look at pictures of friends of friends? Practically strangers, yet so fascinating. Is it because we are nosy? Well, maybe. But I think something bigger is at play. As human beings, we have many forms of communication. The most powerful being the visual. At the end of the day, the way we interpret an image or a picture…
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In this day and age, there is nothing more powerful than a customer testimonial and/or a professional recommendation. This is especially true for a site like Linkedin. Even if you don’t own technically own a small business, getting a recommendation from someone you have worked with is just as powerful as a customer testimonials. After all, aren’t your colleagues, supervisors, clients, subordinates and others really your “customers”? The point is, your reputation in business is your brand. Maintaining your brand value is important. Below are some tips for obtaining the most powerful customer testimonials and/or professional recommendations.
- Establish a relationship early: This has to happen the minute your customer buys your product/service. Show your customers you care about THEM first. Deliver on your brand promise consistently. Always check in on your customers, especially if you would like to ask for a testimonial/recommendation in the future. Establishing a relationship early ensures that you will get a winning reputation. Building on that relationship will ensure customer loyalty and a happy client.
- Make the process easy: To ensure you make the process as easy for your customer as possible, please have in mind what you want them to do. Have examples of the types of testimonials you are looking for. Give your customers concrete guidelines about what to include and not include. Give them clear deadlines and ask if they will be able to meet them. Help them write the testimonials and share ideas about what other customers have done.
- Target specific areas for testimonials/recommendations: Businesses (and professionals) are sometimes very haphazard about the types of testimonials they need. Just like everything we have talked about in this blog, testimonials and recommendations need to be TARGETED. Do you want to showcase your trustworthiness and reliability? Have a few testimonials that talk about how much they trust you. Want to showcase how great your products are? Get customers who LOVE your products. Want to focus on the outstanding customer service your provide? Find customers that have had a great experience with your company in this area. The point is that you need to use testimonials/recommendations strategically to build your brand.
What do you find to be a useful way to get customer testimonials or professional recommendations?
Remember that customer testimonials are a big part of having a strong online presence. Speaking of which, npersona is hosting a FREE event regarding this subject on June 6th from 7 PM to 9PM in Arlington, VA. Sign up now! http://www.eventbrite.com/event/3492575387
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