By Tim Kolacz
As we are moving into March, most businesses are humming right along with their business plan that they created in November of last year (or about a week ago) and are working away at the goals that they set. These could be sales goals, education goals, or even training an employee on a new technique to improve production. These are necessary and are great for the future of the company.
Another part of your business plan should have been how the company, and the employees themselves, are being branded. And no, not with a hot prod, but how you introduce yourself and your company to the marketplace. I was in a great meeting this morning where the main topic was – how do you brand yourself? Having gotten a degree in Marketing, I have been pretty good at getting the message out to the market for the companies where I’ve worked. The ads were successful, and I thought it was all hunky-dory. But that was advertising and branding which is a different world altogether.
However, not just trying to brand myself, but rather explaining how I am branding myself, has been a challenge. When speaking to the group, I went through all of the things I do for my clients and prospective clients and the group told me that some of that was my brand, it was just hiding and I couldn’t see it.
One of the women in the group is always well dressed, and wears high heels every day. One day a colleague of hers told her that it was great that she was consistent in her attire and that the heels were actually part of her personal brand. She thought to herself, how is wearing high heels everyday part of my brand? It turns out, the colleague was correct. About a week later, she sprained her ankle and had to wear flats for a while. The first meeting she went into, four people within the first 10 minutes asked her where her high heels were and why she wasn’t wearing them. Her choice of shoes has definitely become part of her brand.
When you go out and are presenting yourself on behalf of the company, what are you showing to your clients? Do you need to wear a suit and tie to show your professional nature due to your being a lawyer or similar field? Do you wear something distinctive that sets you apart? A bow-tie perhaps? Not wearing a tie perhaps? It depends on what you truly want to present and how you would like people to perceive you on that first impression. And yes, you can change a first impression, but it takes a while.
Take a look at your company and think through what you, your sales people, your customer service people (remember these are more important to keeping a client than the sales people), are projecting to the marketplace. If you take an outsiders view of it, you can help modify where needed and improve the way you are seen. It won’t happen immediately, but long term planning is the key to success.
Tim Kolacz works with clients who want to improve their risk management and lower their total cost of insurance. He doesn’t provide a solution; he provides the right solution. email@example.com