Let me tell you a story about this guy named Keith. He unabashedly rode on the coattails of his ambitious and hard-working business partner. He followed her around to every networking and webinar event, always arriving before her, stealing her thunder for a proper introduction. He had access to all of her email accounts, credit card applications, telemarketer records, and even managed to insert himself into her business development pipeline. Keith was everywhere. As hard as his business partner worked, it was always Keith who got the glory. Thankfully, all this began to change the day his partner finally changed up her email signature strategy.
Keith’s star began to shine a little less brightly, and his business partner finally began to emerge from the shadows. At last, there were no more Keith name-callings, and more forehead smacks on the other side of the keyboard as her clients now realized . . . (wait for it) . . .
Walk West (formally Greenroom Communications)’s business manager is a gal, not a dude.
Seriously, people. Not a dude.
Having a name that is “different” can be seen as a curse OR a benefit. People either 1) *never* get it right, or 2) *always* remember my name because of my prefatory story, which goes a little something like this:
“Hi, I’m Ketti. K-E-T-T-I. No, not Kitty: KETTI. Pronounced like Teddy, but with a K. Yes, it’s my given name. No, it’s not short for anything. It’s actually an old-fashioned German form of Katherine, but instead of spelling my name “Käethe” with an umlaut above the A, my parents Americanized the spelling, to make it “easier” on me. Their names are Sue and John, so they wanted their children to have unique names; hence, Maia, Ketti and Jed were born.”
That’s my elevator pitch. My short & sweet stock intro. If you know me personally, you’ve heard it. And if you’ve been to a loud, crowded party with me, then you’ve definitely heard me try to explain it (at top volume) over and over again to people who, enthusiastically smiling and nodding, have absolutely NO idea what I am saying to them.
But you know what? Keith-be-d*mned, I appreciate that my name is my signature quirk: the reason people remember me. How many people get to be known by just one name: Oprah, Cher, Elvis? Not too many more. Very cool. And for this one-word gal to work for a one-word renowned company like Walk West (formally Greenroom Communications) is just the coolest.
You see, every brand strives for that familiarity and recognition by their industry targets. Every brand has a “short & sweet stock intro” that sets them apart, and makes them more human. But what propels the successful brands to stardom is their persistence to keep standing in the middle of that noisy cyber-party, shouting and sharing their living, breathing, dynamic stories to their social following until those targets stop nodding and smiling, and eventually start LISTENING.
So, what’s YOUR story? What’s the reason people should know YOUR brand? How are you making YOUR content more memorable, shareable, and dynamic? Haven’t found your groove yet? No worries. We’ve got a few tips:
1. (hu)MAN-UP, DUDE.
Brands that are able to break through the interweb’s social & digital noise usually do so by baring very real, gritty, human messages. Trust me, we know it’s a leap of faith the first time you do it. And it definitely takes trust in your marketing partner. You have to be strong & brave to believe that your targets will still listen when you un-pretty the message. But by daring to bare your human message to the world, you’re no longer shouting in a crowded party – people finally stop and “get” what you stand for.
Ding – lightbulb moment.
2. STAY TRUE TO YOU.
Do you remember when Bethenny Frankel squeezed into her 4 year old daughter’s pajamas? Yeah. Don’t do that. Trying to make your brand fit into a tiny box in which it (clearly) doesn’t belong, is an obvious try-hard tactic that your followers can see right through. Be proud of who you are. Don’t make excuses. Don’t try too hard to conform. There’s a reason why you deduced a final, defined voice for your brand – now, stay loyal to that.
3. BE SMART.
By establishing your brand as the thought leader in your industry, you gain followers who trust your advice, respect your guidance, and are proud to stay with you for the long run. Forbes recently published an article about The Future of Thought Leadership. In it, the author touts thought leadership as the most powerful way to attract clients. And if strong, smart content is what draws them to you, then relevant, current, dynamic information is what keeps them looking to you for your product/service expertise.
Look, we can’t all have that immediate, one-word notoriety for our brand. But we can fine-tune our elevator pitch so that it breaks through the noise and clearly defines the benefits to our target market. And once those targets finally stop and listen, your job must be to keep wowing them with a steady cadence of human, brand-accurate, smart content.
The end result? We bet the next time you end up together at a crowded party, they’ll remember your name. And, with any luck, it won’t be Keith.