Thursday, February 28, 2019

How to Shine as a Business Brand Ambassador

I’d like to say congratulations to the finalists in the Telstra Business Women’s Awards for 2019, I applaud your remarkable achievements. From technology to social impact, fashion and more, you are an inspiration.

Many of these women come from non-business backgrounds and began very simply, yet have wanted to succeed, make a difference and make their mark.

No matter what field or endeavour you and I are in, we can all strive to do our best and let our true light shine.

This group is no doubt passionate, enthusiastic and proud to stand out as brand ambassadors for their organisation or their own business. Brand ambassadors are often celebrities – just one person who is chosen because of their high media profile and potential to “spruik” the business as a media spokesperson.

Well known personalities certainly do play a role but wouldn’t the ideal be that all people in the organisation shone as brand ambassadors?

Often when I am briefed on corporate brand and image workshops, I hear that one of the biggest challenges business owners and managers face is employees who are not willing to step up and standout.

Many people at work consider that doing the job is enough. You have been chosen for your skill and talent and input as a high performing employee – or you’re using that talent to head up your own business. You do your job well but perhaps there is a need for additional executive presence to rise to the top and be a true corporate brand ambassador.

You may be too busy doing the work to bother with learning new skills, upgrading your image, networking or displaying the value you bring to others. In my experience it is often a fear factor. We hide “behind the desk” and think – if I do my job well – that’s enough. But to truly excel as a brand ambassador, it is worth considering that everything you do and say impacts on your business.

The term, “executive presence” gained attention as the result of a survey and book published by New York’s Center for Talent Innovation. According to the results of the survey, to demonstrate executive presence you must have three key characteristics

Gravitas, Communication excellence and a pleasing Appearance. This is not news – it’s a subject that has been around a long time. I remember “back in the day” learning about these traits at what was called modelling and deportment schools. However, it is the rebranding of this still topical and important issue that certainly gained a lot of media attention.

In today’s competitive environment, branding, whether businesses or people is an important strategy to stand out in the minds of customers, potential customers and consumers.

Al Ries the author of many books about branding and positioning said, “The essence of marketing is building a brand in the minds of consumers”.

Branding is more than just marketing and promoting your business through advertising, social media, promotional products or communication collateral. It is understanding and influencing how your clients or the consumer sees your brand and your people brand.

Building brand ambassadors will help boost your company’s bottom line as they are noticed, memorable, are able to build rapport and provide a relationship between your business and its products or services with customers or potential clients and gain influence to attract those customers to your door.

So how can you do this? Here’s a few quick tips to get you started.

  • Gain market research. Understand what your clients and customers are thinking. Determine what your staff say about your brand, their interactions with the company and external audiences. How do they feel about their experiences of working in the business? Combine that knowledge with the leadership team’s thoughts (even if that is just you) and any views expressed through media coverage.
  • Condense that knowledge into a few key attributes that sing the praises of the company and refine that until you come up with a branding statement that positively reflects your business and team. Don’t negate the negative attributes – this exercise will help you be aware of what they may be and take the necessary steps to overcome them.
  • Conduct training for everyone in the business. Go through the steps you’ve taken to come up with the brand position and what the expectations of people are moving forward. This is where customised training will help to instil executive presence whether that is increased communication effectiveness through presentation skills training or introducing a new dress code and personal presentation guide. 
  • Leverage the brand though various communication channels, such as public relations, advertising, social media or digital presence. And through entering awards! Most importantly leverage your Brand Ambassadors through client networking, community and charity events and other social events where they can truly shine.

Branding will help send a consistent message both internally and externally and brand ambassadors will help boost your business.

Learn more about 3 Steps to Build a Stand Out Personal Brand in my free video series, NOOK, LOOK, HOOK.

Sue Currie is a speaker and the author of IMPRESSario, Present and Promote the Star Within You. She is recognised as a leading authority on personal branding to boost image, profile, brand and business. Through her image management and profile building programs, workshops, consulting and keynote presentations, Sue helps businesses and entrepreneurs position and present an influential professional brand.

Image courtesy Shutterstock

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