When did I become obsessed with note cards? I know no one else that can spend 30 minutes contemplating stationery; evaluating each available design and qualifying them by the projected emotional reaction each card will evoke when opened by the recipient. I eliminate them one by one, “ too corporate”, “not professional enough”, “ too girlie”…. This process took over half an hour!
It might be understandable if I was in a stationery store the size of Bev Mo, but I was in front of a 3-foot wide stand in a bookstore. A guy at the café table right behind me ordered his latte, drank it, and finished his magazine by the time I decided between the Chinese flower and the French lettering!
So what was my deal? I now know that every time I send a note card, it is a representation of my brand, much like a business card, but I wanted it to seem personal, no logo, or tag lines… yet it should have the feeling that I might have designed it. I wanted “authentically me.”
I finally found my perfect cards. I was pretty darn happy, too that I feel so clear on my brand these days that I was able to make that decision with such accuracy.
I was not always clear on my brand. In the very beginning of my business I remember when I couldn’t tell people exactly what made me different. It took some work, but I got clear in my brand, clear in my message, and increased my business and back account. Let’s take Dr. Jordan Schaul, Zoo Keeper Emeritus, for example. He is very consistent in marketing the Zoo Peeps brand, not just the logo. Anything Zoo Peeps connects zoo people. I may suggest some ways that he can further distinguish his brand, but some of you already consider him synonymous with Zoo Peeps. For an animal guy he sure has some intuition when it comes to marketing and brand development. Jungle Jack Hanna is a legend in his field.
I don’t even need to say a word. You guys already conjure up an image.
Are you clear in your brand? Does your visual brand match what you have in print? In other words, when you speak about your business, on TV or in person, do you create the response that you want? Do people act on your call to action? Do they see the value in what you know, and what you do?
If not, look to see if your authenticity is showing….
The Boring Lawyer
I met a man the other night that was nervously preparing to talk to a group of professionals about real estate law. “What I do is boring,” he said… Well, good grief, it will be if he walks in with that attitude!
He really likes what he does, but doesn’t feel comfortable speaking in front of people or cameras. So, he feeds his fear of speaking, (which is a fear of rejection, really), by suggesting that his material is boring, and they will never like him! He has built in his excuse for failure!
I saw a better presenter in this guy:
My suggestion was for him to bring a story; He mentioned he is very fond of his dogs, so I proposed he start his presentation with story that includes them. He feels comfortable with that topic, and he will seem more approachable when the group sees a personal side to him. instead of a stiff lawyer that they might expect to see. I helped him find a thread in his story that took him into his first point of his presentation. He got very excited about this idea!
Now, he won’t just be the “lawyer that had the PowerPoint presentation on disclosures”, but he will be “the owner of the Frisbee dog they can see at the park on Saturday mornings! Oh, yeah, and he really knows his stuff when it comes to disclosures… I should give him a call… I liked him!”
What’s happening here? He is allowing his authenticity to show, and he standing out from the crowd.
Stories are one of the most memorable ways to create your visual brand, and show your authentic difference from your competition. Having a stable of stories can be ammunition in the interview circuit, too! If you need help getting those stories down, grab a coach and get them ready. It will pay off in the end. Literally!
Then you can “thank” your coach with a nice note card!
Sandra Dee Robinson