The Top 10 Ways to ‘Make Your Mark’ Every Day
William Arruda, Brand Expert
To succeed today, you need to be visible and known for something. That means you need to take every opportunity to make your mark – enabling you to benefit from the personal brand equity that builds over time. You can do this by consistently expressing your brand through the most routine and banal opportunities you have every day. Here are ten ways to ‘Make Your Mark.’
1. Your Voice-mail or Answering Machine Message
How many voice-mails do you get each day? Your outgoing greeting is an opportunity for you to express your brand. It says a lot about you. Last week, I was speaking with a professional trainer and self proclaimed ‘fitness freak’ and she told me that her voice-mail greeting includes a different health tip every day. This reinforces her message of commitment to health and fitness. She told me that she often receives calls where the person on the other end of the phone says ‘Oh…I was hoping to get your voice-mail.’
2. Your E-mail Template
You probably send hundreds of e-mails a month. Each one is an opportunity for you to communicate your brand. The way your mail template is designed along with the information you include at the bottom of your mails – your signature and contact information – says a lot about you. Jeff, a marketing manager whose brand is all about fun, adds a dose of humor to his contact information. He includes a randomly generated joke and links to his favorite humorous web sites.
3. Your Written Correspondence
Your stationery system and business cards are great opportunities to express who you are. Ensure that you choose materials and formats that are expressing your brand attributes.
4. Your Office/Desk
What does your work environment say about you? Do you have a messy desk, art work on the walls of your office, etc. What does your office say about you? What makes it speak in your unique voice? Have you moved to a completely paperless office, or are you surrounded with manila folders and sheets of paper? Does your workspace communicate your interests, passions, talents, values, and strengths? Whatever your answers, be aware that your workspace reveals a lot about you.
5. Your Web Site
If you are in business, your potential clients will certainly take a look at your web site before bringing you on board. If you are working inside a corporation, you still should have your own web site. If you haven’t done so already, consider buying your personal web site address. And if you have a web site, make sure the content, format and navigation reflect your brand. And update it regularly to ensure that the content is fresh and relevant.
6. Your Clothes/Personal Trademarks
What you wear can help you make your mark. Make sure your wardrobe both reflects your brand and is appropriate for your target audience. You may even want to develop a trademark if it feels right for you. A client of mine who consults with design departments at ad agencies is an expert in color. People hire her because of her keen eye for choosing and combining colors. Her daily attire always combines complementary colors. If she has on a blue suit, she will wear an orange scarf or if she is wearing a red dress, she will wear a green belt. For most of us, this complementary combination goes unnoticed; but members of her target audience always receive the message.
With so many people competing for the same jobs or for the same piece of business, you need to make your resume or proposal stand out. And you need to do so in a way that reflects your brand. Do you have a written resume, send people to a web link, is it on CD, do you have a portfolio? Is it color or black and white? Do you include the logos of companies where you have worked before? Make your mark with your proposal and you will make a major impression.
8. Logo/Graphic Elements, Fonts, Colors
Think of all the simple things like the logos or fonts you use, the colors you choose for your electronic correspondence as ways to make your mark. Don’t choose rare fonts or colors for the sake of being different, choose them based on how strongly they will reflect your brand – your unique promise of value. Create your own identity standards and use them consistently. Your logo, fonts you use, standard color palettes used consistently communicate your brand. Do you have a standard font that you use?
9. Your Thank-you cards
The way you express thanks says a lot about your brand. Do you send e-cards, written thank you notes or call people to thank them? Brian, a communications executive sends thank you cards to members of his team every time they have achieved a goal. He hand types them to express the importance he places on the written word. By doing so, he makes an indelible mark on the recipients.
10. Your Brief Case/Notebook, etc.
What do you carry to client meetings? Do you use a laptop or paper notebook? Do you have a leather-bound diary or a palm pilot? What type of pen do you carry? Although these are small items, they say a lot about you and give you an opportunity to make your mark.
Meet the author . . .
With his unique expertise in the human side of branding, William Arruda delivers keynotes, programs and workshops to inspire, entertain, educate and motivate. Learn more about William at http://www.reachcc.com