Brag or Brand: Is there a difference? / by Kia Jarmon

Kia Jarmon of MEPR Agency for 12th & Broad

“But I don't want to brag!” I hear that same statement time and time again from the humblest two audiences there are, the solopreneur and the professional woman. After all, how can they be a brand with limited resources and even more limited visibility? Well, that’s the hundred-dollar question. But here’s the million-dollar answer; you already are a brand. But the kicker is that either you own it, or it owns you.

For years being a brand was reserved for the largest kid on the block; they were able to spend millions in advertising, have flashy websites, and their storefronts are feathered along the busiest streets. But twitter and youtube sensations have proved that people, along with products and places, have the ability to hold the brand designation.

It’s more than a logo or website, heck anybody can get business cards. Being a brand is the sum of the experiences people have with you; what they think, see, hear, and feel when they come into contact with you. The reality is that you are a brand whether you want to be or not.

The hard and depressing part for some in my line of work is that being a brand is a lifestyle, not just a business strategy. It takes far more than a team, stacks of roll-out plans and a rolodex of contacts to deliver on the brand of you. It’s an adoption process and it requires patience and consistency.

So why is it so difficult for women and small businesses to acknowledge their brand fabulousness?

Well, this has multi-part answer that could take days and many charts to explain but here is one concept. The biggest difference between most people and the larger corporations is the ability to monetize (get people to spend) and mobilize (move people to action). While you may not have thousands of followers, you have a core few. As you grow your brand with intention, you can have the same influence.

So how do I as an individual own my brand? Consider these suggestions.

1.   Secure your digital assets. Do you have your own domain name? Do you have all of your social media profiles secured? Even if you are not using them? Visit a site like 1and1.com today and secure your future.

2.   Outline your brand attributes. Take 20 minutes and think of five keywords you want people to think of when they see or work with you. These are words like resourceful, encouraging, confidential, gatekeeper, to name a few. The actions you take on social media, during speaking engagements, and while networking are a great time to display your brand.

3.   Seek awards and recognition. Ask colleagues and clients or superiors to nominate you. Honestly this is the most difficult advice for women. Don’t assume that people know your accomplishments enough to nominate you for an award. Have a group of two to four close individuals and ask them for their nomination. Don’t forget to send them a few bullet points of what you have done.

4.   Work in your community. I am always asked ‘how can I get started showing people my talent?’ Work with an organization/company, for a pre-determined period of time, in the area you want to showcase the most. Make your time with them count. Ask for testimonials and even referrals for other opportunities that can pay.

Think about it this way. If a consumer or employer had to choose between you and someone else, why would they choose you?

Cheers to owning the brand of you!