I was at university with a stoner called Joey*.
He had long, straggly blonde hair and always wore a crumpled heavy metal t-shirt and black biker jacket – like Axl Rose’s little brother. He usually had a big, sleepy smile on his face and his only words were ‘Hiiiiiiii’, ‘Niiiiiiiice’, and ‘Sweeeeeeet.’
We all liked dopey Joey but didn’t think he’d amount to much. We simply wrote him off.
How wrong we were.
I’d known Joey for about a year when I found out that he was, in fact, doing a PhD in physics studying under no other than Professor Stephen Hawking. Joey’s specialist subject? Time travel! Apparently, he liked time travel because there were no books on the subject and he could spend all his student grant on ‘relaxants’.
Wow. I felt pretty stupid at that point. I’d completely misjudged Joey. I resolved to become more open-minded and never under-estimate anyone again.
But I still get the wrong impression about many business people I meet.
Online, their personas are as dry-as-a-cracker and about as flavourless. Their LinkedIn profiles describe a ‘highly experienced, strategic team leader who thinks outside of the box’, much like every other highly experience strategic manager out there. Yawn. (And the fact they use that phrase straight from the 90s dates them straight way…)
They make their potential customers yawn too.
And yet, when I meet these business owners, I discover a completely different person. Usually (praise be) they’re a whole lot more interesting – full of insight, interesting opinions, experiences, wisdom, enthusiasm and life.
It’s often hard to reconcile the vivacious person in front of me with their dull snorefest of a CV.
And it’s the same with businesses too. Cookie-cutter, word-heavy websites all too often conceal the sparky people and brilliant products and services that lie behind them.
What a waste.
Are potential clients or employers writing YOU off?
The idea of a brand – whether that’s a brand for a business or a personal brand for an individual – is all about giving a taster to the client of what it’s like to work with you.
To pique their interest. To lure them in.
But so many people and businesses do the opposite – turn potential clients and employers off before they’ve even spoken. They are being written off before they’ve even had a chance to prove themselves. And it’s a huge mistake.
So here’s my advice: take a look at your company website or your LinkedIn profile and ask yourself:
- does it really communicate who I am/we are?
- does it tell the reader what I/we stand for?
- does it show some personality?
- do I feel anything when I read it?
If not, it’s time to dig a bit deeper into what makes you tick.
Use colour, detail, examples, testimonials and stories to bring your brand to life. And, above all, make sure it’s consistent with the experience that clients or employers will get when they work with you.
Don’t let anyone write YOU off as a stoner.
*I’ve changed Joey’s name to protect his identity.