Make “Slow Times”, “Grow Times”:
Use your Personal Brand to thrive in a tough market.
Does a bear market directly affect your career? Depending on your line of work, it might determine your income. In uncertain times, your Personal Branding and Marketing may make the difference between starving and surviving.
Let’s discuss the Bear Necessities – the actions you must take to continue to grow and maintain your business. In a bull market, you need good marketing to grow. In a bear market, you’re going to need great marketing to survive.
Start with Your Budget
Most professionals don’t see a bear market coming – just as most don’t create a marketing budget, or invest in their personal identity. Fewer still think of marketing their Personal Brand in a slowdown. But this is actually a great time to rise above the competition.
If you haven’t created a one-year marketing plan, start today. Outline your goals and audience and decide how your money will best be spent attracting those clients and employers. Begin with a consistent, weekly direct mail or e-mail blast. Then, begin utilizing different marketing channels to get your name out there. Work on a Personal Branding Statement, and develop a set of marketing messages based around it. Use them in all of your advertising, seminars, networking and communications. Run the campaign across the next 12 months.
Why is Personal Branding is a must in a down market? Trust.
Your prospects and prospective employers may feel let down by, even betrayed by, the big companies and corporations they trusted. By marketing your Personal Brand, you give your audience a face and name they can trust again. When it comes to the emotional concerns of your prospects, you should embody the human touch and personalized service they have been missing.
Focus your marketing campaign on a specific target audience, or domain. Establish who your “dream client” or “dream job/career” is, and speak directly to his or her needs with focused marketing. The better defined your domain, the more effective your campaign will be. Don’t be afraid to speak directly to your prospective clients’ or employers’ concerns. Words like “recession” or “volatility” might scare prospects at this point, but lightly referencing uncertainty is not a bad idea.
Use Public Relations
Making progress in a bear market means making the most of one highly neglected marketing channel: public relations. Good PR can catapult you ahead of the competition during a bear market – and maybe even turn the market around for you.
For a great example, look at Mike Glickman. At age 23, this California REALTOR® began using aggressive PR to build an empire around his Personal Brand. When the San Fernando Valley real estate market softened in the early 1980s, he brought crowds to open houses with raffles giving away cruises in the Bahamas. When an energy crunch hit, he gave away gasoline. During a citywide garbage strike, he hired a private sanitation company to rid neighborhoods of trash. Glickman became something of a local hero, and Mike Glickman Realty became one of Los Angeles’ leading residential real estate firms in the 1980s.
In a down market, it may be time for crisis communications. So use your direct mail and e-mail marketing to get the jump on your domain’s concerns before clients call you in fear or disappointment.
When there is a drop (or surge) in the market, send an e-mail out to your current clients. Tell them what is happening, and what you are doing about it.
Using another group list, e-mail prospects semi-regularly and let them know your personal opinion on the matter.
Few items are more newsworthy for the media than the impact the market is having on readers’ pockets. If you work in a field where every economic turn is a big development, let television and radio stations and print journalists know that they can call on you when they need to interview an expert. Also, send press releases to media sources explaining the steps you are taking to help your clients in this time. Media coverage is free, and credible.
Do or Die
In a bear market, a Personal Brand is your best investment. A lasting downturn can be a career-killer, or a godsend; aggressive PR and aggressively marketing your Personal Brand could make all the difference.
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Mark Montoya has been working in personal branding for more than a decade for hundreds of online and offline companies, small businesses and individual service professionals. His focus has been toward improving the way jobseekers find employment on the Internet. He has synthesized his expertise by helping job seekers obtain their ideal choice of employment over the Internet on his sites MyOnlineCareerSpace.com and MyOnlineCareerCoach.com, and through his books 101 Tips Every Job Seeker Should Know and The Ultimate Online Job Search eBook.
“It is the responsibility of the individual to reject the prospect of mediocrity and to strive for the betterment of society as a whole” ~ Mark Montoya