I love being on the road, working with sales teams. Every experience, every opportunity is a chance to learn. So while I may be doing a training with them, I am always keeping my eyes and ears open to learn. This past week in North Carolina was no exception.
Upon leaving the hotel to return to the airport, the hotel encouraged me to use their driver. Hmmm…what’s so special about this guy? Fact is, I just want to get to the airport. But ok, I’ll give him a shot.
C.J. turns up in a top of the line luxury SUV, dressed to the nine, and welcomes me, saying “Good evening Miss. Hope your day has been good and you’ve enjoyed our city. Sit back, relax, and let me make this a comfortable ride for you.” Bottled water is waiting for me as I get in. Latest business paper is neatly folded. Smooth jazz is playing with the knowledge that I can request whichever music I would like and he will oblige. I had to know more about this guy, so I asked. C.J. owns this company. He works hard. But he is head and shoulders above everyone else. Why? Here is what I found:
When C.J. was turning from child to teenager, his dad gave him a bit of advice that I believe we should all listen to: “You now have an opportunity to brand yourself. It’s up to you with your actions, your talk, the way you present yourself and the way you represent yourself in print and public. Do you want your image on a trash can or on GQ? Make a decision and live and breathe it.”
Wow. It doesn’t get much more powerful than that. C.J. told me how this decision led him to the business he started and the way he wants his brand to be represented and lived. What about those of us working in sports and entertainment? What is our personal brand? How do we present ourselves? How can we start improving? Here’s some thoughts;
Social media: Do we represent ourselves not just as an “Account Executive” but truly as what our passion in the industry is? There are lots of Account Execs out there. That’s nice. There are also lots of “provide experiences etc.” out there. That’s nice too. But how and why? Who are we and what do we stand for in the industry? Why do we do it? What does your summary say about the how and why? Your brand on social media is not your resume…it should tell us about you and why we would choose you to do business with.
Personal social media: Nearly all of us have personal social media accounts. If you don’t want it noted by others (and I promise you businesses looking to hire often look at your facebook/instagram/etc.) then use the filters to make sure it is private for friends only. This is also part of your brand.
Public appearances: If you are wearing your teams brand, you are their brand as well as yours. This is not the time to be having a few too many tasty beverages, saying things others will remember but you will probably not. This is the time to be wearing it with pride, ready for anyone to approach or give consideration to your product. People have long memories. Hanging out with friends is great, but remember whose brand you are representing with your attire, actions and words.
Look among your teammates. Who do you best want to emulate when it comes to branding? Who do you admire that represents what they do and how they present themselves? These are the people who see what they do as fulfilling a passion and building a career. Learn from them.
In person meetings. How do you conduct yourself at an in person meeting? Pride in your company? If you are bringing them out to your facility, did you check first to make sure all is in order? Are you presenting the company’s – and yours- best foot forward? Do you present yourself as someone who is finding needs rather than ‘pitching?’ Do you show interest in that client or rattle through things? This is all part of the brand.
One of the best professor’s out there, Scott Grant from the University of Findlay, OH, works with students on personal branding. This may be one of the most important classes they take. I have watched students graduate and their career moves forward in a more positive and rewarding succession because of it. I encourage teams to contact him about doing a Personal Branding workshop. That’s how important this is to our careers.
Look around. See who you do business with on a daily basis. Look at people you follow on social media. Is the brand trash can worthy or GQ worthy? It’s not too late to create, follow, and live your Personal Brand. Success will follow.
Kathy Burrows, Sold Out Seating
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