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Networking 101 – More on Branding – What Linda Hart Said . .

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So, I know that many of you have been waiting patiently for the whole week to hear what an expert has to say on the subject of branding, and here she is, over to Linda Hart

Linda Hart said…
Nikki, great words of wisdom. No question that networking is a crucial skill to learn. You touched on the personal brand, which prompts me to comment from my perspective of a personal brand coach. When we talk about developing and communicating the entrepreneurial brand, this is so much easier said than done. One would think that it would be a cinch to haul out your passion and eloquently and emotively describe it to anyone who will listen – the truth is, for many of the entrepreneurs or solopreneurs that I work with, being succinct in defining the passion is a real effort and fraught with insecurities, lack of trust in a single message and in some cases negative or defensive “baggage” that causes confusion of messages.

We are thinking and feeling beings, our only currency is the currency of language. The more accurately and emotively we are able to craft our message regarding ourselves, our service, or our “widget” and build the delivery that accurately depicts and delivers our brand positioning, the more solid, reliable, and trustworthy we become as personal brands. To your point about networking introductions, we want to be fairly certain that through the currency of language, we are getting the greatest return on investment from every introduction we make, if not in terms of tangible business then in terms of building a trustworthy and credible profile that can be referred for future business. To my mind, it’s about clarity and about consistency. I find many business owners are not as clear as they could be about what they really are all about – hoping that the listener might ask the right question and allow for further exploration which may lead to the chance discovery of some business synergies. Phew! What a lot of hard work and so many missed opportunities as a result. I call it “vocal mechanics” – throw in a whole lot of words in a random way and hope that it will somehow hit the right spot, or be able to solve the problem for the listener. People listen in very particular ways, mostly they are listening with the “what’s in it for me” ear. By being clear and focussed about your business, service, or consulting service, offering a clear, concise, and succinct message that is consistent not only in its language but also in its visual and graphic delivery goes a tremendously long way to building trust in the market that you are targeting. For that very reason, large, well-known brands have single messages. Why do we think that since we are relatively small players we need to have one for each market or occasion? Building a brand is about relationship building between you, your offering, and your market – but before all that, we need to build a relationship with ourselves, get in touch with who you are, what your passion really is, how will you best deliver it and to whom and then work on the language that will allow you to “orchestrate” your brand message in a unique way, clearly, consistently and with passion. Makes networking so much more effective and non-stressful, as you have no need to reinvent yourself for each networking situation. Rather you reinforce and bring to the top of mind your clear and consistent message every time you use your most valuable currency – your brand tone of voice and language.

There you have it. Thank you Linda for your insights, they certainly do bring a lot of clarity to the table.

Until next week folks, keep on Networking!