Years ago, I had a Rotary Club friend who had built a highly successful financial planning business at a very young age.
One of his branding secrets was that he was always impeccably dressed and well networked with many top athletes, business leaders and fellow finance types. Invariably, someone .....
One of his branding secrets was that he was always impeccably dressed and well networked with many top athletes, business leaders and fellow finance types. Invariably, someone would compliment him on the tie he was wearing; he had some really gorgeous ties. He would either take off the tie on the spot and graciously give it to that individual as a gift, or he would have one shipped out as a gift for arrival the next day.
I was always blown away by his ability to take a casual compliment and turn it into a branding event that no one would ever forget. He was of course a very astute investor, but what set him apart from the competition was his over-the-top, non-verbal service statement. His actions said that he would literally give you the shirt off his back if it was in his power to do so. I have not seen this person in more than 20 years, but I will never forget him or the successful company that he built.
Today, I don’t see many ties being worn, but the need to build your personal reputation in ways that set your brand apart from the competition remains paramount.
Having great skills or a great business model alone is not enough to build a great business anymore. People need to know who you are and what you stand for before they will believe in what you have to say or sell. Building a great personal or professional brand — or what I think of as the halo effect — requires a substantial network of relationships that know who you are and can readily attest to your credibility.
Fortunately, we now have a myriad of tools to build our networks and brand reputation, including LinkedIn, blogging, publishing e- books, contributing to trade publications, participating in regional and national trade events, volunteering and contributing to the community or causes we care about.
I think we all remember seeing incredible numbers of people show up to hear whatever Steve Jobs had to say whenever he took the stage, largely because of his reputation. Of course he had great products, but it was the halo effect he had created for himself that allowed every one of his product launches to become major promotional events — they were covered by every major news organization in the country.
Time Magazine, Newsweek and CNN had never before showed up for the launch of a new computer, hi-teach gadget, smartphone or any Silicon Valley event for that matter. Yet when Steve Jobs took the stage, his product launches were the hottest ticket in town. He was even able to auction off the media rights to announce his product launches based on who would provide the biggest splash in the press. Since he passed away, those events have gone back to the media equivalent of a big yawn.
My advice is to decide on what kind of halo you want, and then begin building and being that brand. Do you want to be the brand no one will ever forget; the one everyone is talking about; the one that changes lives and adds value to the world around them? It has never been easier to put yourself out there. It just takes courage, the desire to learn and grow and a willingness to give more than you take each and every day.
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David Bloom currently serves as Senior Vice President of Strategic Development for Famous Brands Intl.David has a track record of accelerating the growth and business operations of a wide variety of brands and business models both nationally and internationally. Prior to joining Famous Brands, he was responsible for developing ground-breaking strategies, and executing accelerated development plans and programs across a number of brands in a variety of industries worldwide.