How do you promote yourself? Your firm? When you are looking for new business and expanding your practice, what do you do? You promote your brand. Individuals have a brand just like corporations. Like a corporate brand it is a promise of deliverability of an experience or service or product. In this case that service or product is you.
How do you know what your brand is? Take an inventory of your skills and accomplishments and past work history. Are you an incredible negotiator? Do you get the deal done? A great mediator? Determine what your reputation is. If you are not sure, ask co-workers or your clients how they perceive you. Are you the go-to person? Are you the hard working creative problem solver? If others perceive you differently from what you want your brand to be, don’t despair. You just need to re-brand yourself as so many companies have had to do.
For many companies and people your brand evolves over time as markets change and people mature. There are many things you can do to reinforce your brand and expand it.
Social Media Sites
Use these strategically and make sure they reflect your brand. Promote yourself accordingly. You can post material and articles and participate in discussion groups. Make sure you provide meaningful information. Always express yourself professionally -- don't write anything that you don't want anyone to see or would regret later. Remember, there can be repercussions. If you have a picture of yourself, ask what it says about you. Does it represent you in a professional manner?
Write thoughtful blogs or participate in forums where you can demonstrate your knowledge or "out of the box" thinking. Write an article and publish it on your blog.
At Work, At Social Functions
How you behave and carry yourself at work will impact your brand just as how you behave socially will. Attend conferences and workshops. If there is a social component to these, attend them as well. It is a great place to make connections. Don't forget that how you behave at social business functions is also important. People do take notice and remember.
Volunteer and/or Professional Associations
We are all pressed for time but charities and professional associations are great places to reinforce or extend your brand. By volunteering for a charity or joining a professional association and getting involved you can participate in appropriate activities to get exposure and promote your brand. Take on new challenges to expand your brand. At many professional organizations, they host seminars and events. Program an event and find speaking engagements. Speaking at CLE events is a great way to position yourself as an expert in a particular area and network with other practitioners. Many Bar Associations put on their own CLE courses and look to their members to speak.
Want to change or extend your brand?
Want to expand your practice into a different area? Taking on a leadership role in a professional association may be the way to position yourself as a leader in the eyes of current or potential clients. Blogging about the industry or commenting on other blogs is a way of showing your expertise -- the possibilities are endless. All it takes is some hard work and creativity.
Adele Lemlek is the principal of Alto Consulting, specializing in marketing and business development. She is the former Director of Marketing for the New York City Bar Association where she stewarded the New York City Bar’s 2005 re-branding. She frequently speaks at programs and workshops on creating a personal brand.