Women In Business

The 3 power ways to build your business

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The power of a great brand

I started my marketing career at Procter & Gamble in 1990 followed by stints working for the 1996 Olympic Games and becoming Asst. Chief Marketing Officer at Coca-Cola so I have worked with several world-class brands. Today I run a global branding and marketing firm that I started 17 years ago, a brand I created from scratch. A brand is a promise in the hearts and minds of their customers of a consistent experience with the product or service. If you do not create your brand others will define it for you. Here are a few tips from my experience on how to build a strong brand:

Be original – What makes you unique or special?

Be creative – How do you want people to think & feel after interacting with you vs. your competition?

Be honest – Let your brand be known for speaking the truth, and you become the trusted advocate and go-to source.

Be relevant – Brands aren’t created in a vacuum.

Be consistent – Develop a cohesive message, and live it every day.

Be passionate – Everyone loves to work with people who are passionate about what they do; it makes life much more fun and interesting.

Everything communicates, not just your company name, brochure or logo but your business cards, stationery, e-mail signature, invoices, how you present yourself, how quickly you respond to messages, everything. It is a deliberate and holistic process. Names contribute to your brand and in our case I think it has been a major plus. Maven is Yiddish for expert and a Mogul is someone of rank, power or distinction in a specified area. I like the alliteration and I think it sets us apart from other firms. It shows a little personality & attitude and implies we do not take ourselves too seriously. Would you rather hire “Strategic Marketing Solutions” or Mavens & Moguls? We are the “not your father’s Oldsmobile” o f marketing firms. If nothing else your name is a great conversations starter and getting into a conversation is all it takes to open a door.

Thought Leadership is a great way to build your brand, increase visibility more broadly, raise your profile and attract more customers.  Activities like speaking at a conference, writing articles, building the following on social media all contribute increasing awareness with potential customers and building credibility with a larger community.  Before trying to start your own blog or newsletter, try contributing regularly to existing well trafficked blogs in your industry or newsletters of likeminded organizations reaching the same target audience as you.  Make sure you put your URL or contact info on it so they can find you and follow up.  When your articles or talks become available online, make sure to send them out via social media to all your friends, followers and contacts.  Optimize your website to make it easy for people to find you too.  Start small and build as you go.  For me I started speaking at local events and then submitted proposals to speak at industry conferences and trade shows nationally and eventually global events too.  Same advice goes for writing start with small publications then move up the food chain to reach bigger audiences.

The power of a strong name

Is your brand memorable?  Do people know how to find you?  My company does a lot of naming work for our clients and we have many exercises to help generate names and a process to pare them down and test for a winner.  It is a lot of fun and harder than it looks.  For my company when I started the firm I jokingly referred to the women as the Marketing Mavens & the guys as the Marketing Moguls & for short I called them Mavens & Moguls as a working name but never expected it would stick.  I did research over e-mail with prospective clients, referrers, media, etc & tested ~100 names.  Mavens & Moguls was one choice on the list &  to my great delight & surprise it came out as a clear winner.  It has helped us be memorable and stand out from the pack.  Because I have a hyphenated last name half the battle is for clients to be able to find you when they need your help.  I have had clients tell me they could not remember anything other than my first name & one word of my company so they googled Paige & Mavens and we popped right up.  I was at an event one day and a venture capitalist started waving in my direction and shouted “hi Maven!” across the crowd, everyone looked my way and we ended up getting introduced to a portfolio company that hired us!  Names contribute to your brand and in our case I think it has been a major plus.  Maven is Yiddish for expert and a Mogul is someone of rank, power or distinction in a specified area.  I like the alliteration and I think it sets us apart from other consulting firms.  It shows a little personality & attitude and implies we do not take ourselves too seriously.    Would you rather hire “Strategic Marketing Solutions” or Mavens & Moguls?  We are the “not your father’s Oldsmobile” of marketing firms.  If nothing else our name is a great conversations starter and getting into a conversation is all it takes to open a door.

The power of networking

Most of my business comes from networking. My rule is that you should network in person during the business day and do it online after hours. People do business with people they know, like and trust so you have to get out there to build your reputation online and off. Prospective customers and jobs can come from anyone anywhere anytime so you should always be on your best behavior & make a great lasting impression. Be nice to everyone & make friends before you need them, you never know who is in or will be in a position to help!

DO:

Give before you get

Stop selling start listening

Find a buddy to go to networking events with so you can work the room together, it makes it much more comfortable and fun

Bring plenty of business cards

Send follow up notes to best prospects after the event

DON’T:

Monopolize people’s time or let them do it to you, chat briefly and exchange info so you can follow up after

Overshare, let them do most of the talking

Get into political discussions with people you do not know

About Paige Arnof-Fenn

Paige Arnof-Fenn is the founder & CEO of global marketing and branding firm Mavens-&-Moguls based in Cambridge, MA. Our clients include Microsoft, Virgin, venture-backed startups as well as non profit organizations. I graduated from Stanford University and Harvard Business School. I am a popular speaker and columnist who has written for Entrepreneur and Forbes.

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