It was just a month or two ago that our own brand was a mess. I know, we are a branding agency. Our website was severely outdated and didn't do our people or our services justice. Our social media had fallen by the wayside and lacked any sort of synergy. But at the end of the day, our clients were happy and we continued to receive referrals so it didn't really matter, right? Wrong.
We may have thought that it was working but, at the end of the day, you have to put your money where your mouth is. And given that people want to do business with people, as opposed to brands or companies, you better be able to let your actions speak way louder than your words. And for us, that means being able to demonstrate that we actually know how to build and manage brands, starting with our own.
I was looking into our website and social media analytics from this week and realized our number had spiked, particularly on Monday when the first article was released. Just like I would expect over 90% of the visitors came from google. Because let's just be honest, when there is something that we are not familiar with we "google" it. Now what would have happened had our website not been updated? What if the contact information wasn't correct? Would we have gotten as many interview requests this week as we did? It has really given me a fresh perspective into how important it is to stay ready. We joke around with our clients and often use the phrase, "stay ready so you don'thave to get ready". But this goes well beyond sports. It applies directly to life and business. When I got the call to go on CNN my hair was in a pony tail, I and I was wearing my typical work uniform of jeans and a blouse. Oh, and the CNN producer wanted me at the studio downtown within 2 hours. No, I am not saying you need to wear a suit or a ball gown to work everyday, but I am saying that you need to stay ready so that when an opportunity presents itself you're able to jump right in. And that doesn't mean camera ready, it also means ready with insight and knowledge. Because if I learned one thing from this week, it's that when news breaks, it moves FAST. And if you're not ready, they're already on to the next story. So how do you "stay ready"??
1. Stay up to date on what is going on within your market or your industry.
You have to stay in the know. Luckily with the help of social media, apps, and push notifications breaking news is basically being thrown at you so you don't have to do too much of the legwork. My team and I set up Google notifications on all of our clients and anything related to them. We also have the Bleacher Report and NFL apps set up on our phone with specific push notifications. Then we use Hootsuite to closely monitor all of the various streams on Twitter.
2. Present yourself everyday as if you're expecting to meet your next client.
You truly never know who you're going to run into on a daily basis. And if you're anything like me, the universe decides at the most interesting times when someone is supposed to come into your life. Stay presentable and put together. If you're in an industry where casual works, then rock it. By no means do you need to go from jeans to a suit. Figure out what works and then stick to it. Because you never want to be in a situation where you run into someone and you think to yourself, "I can't believe I look like this right now". And as much as your personality, accolades, experience, and reputation are most likely going to be what closes the deal, first appearances do matter.
3. Keep you brand identity in check.
Do you have a company or personal website? If so, keep it up to date. And don't keep it stagnant. People want to know what is going on NOW. Your standard website should clearly depict who you are and what you do, but it should also get updated with current events or projects. Make sure your "brand identity" is synergistic across all platforms - website, social media, LinkedIn, etc.
4. Put yourself out there.
I went through a phase where I went head down for about a year. I had spent the first two years grinding and putting myself out there. I was at just about every NBA or NFL event you can think of - draft, ESPYs, games, etc. And I was literally counting pennies and maxing out credit cards to make it happen - I'm all about keeping it real. Then I figured I had met everyone that I needed to and it was time to work within my business. Looking back, I can't even imagine all of the valuable relationships I may have missed out on. It's also important to highlight that almost all of the clients that I am now working with are from relationships I fostered those first two years. Sometimes it just takes time. But you really never know who you're going meet and where. There is a whole lot of "right place, right time" going on, but first you have to get out there.
Here's to you and your legacy.
Lauren Walsh, President & CEO