Finding brands that work together in order to start working together
So I got my new business cards in the mail yesterday. I wanted business cards not only as an efficient way of passing along my contact information but also to build the “Kati Heffield” brand. The definition of a brand is the quote included on the back of my snazzy new cards,
“A Brand is not a product or a promise or a feeling. It’s the sum of all the experiences you have with a company.” – Amir Kassaei
Well, in my case it’s experiences with a person (me), not a company. When I find a job opening a I research the company to determine what kind of company they are, more than what they do/make/sell, I want to know who they are. I go over their website, check up on their Linkedin profile and employees, explore their advertising and marketing initiatives, and read reviews of the company online if available. All these impressions combine to form my understanding of the brand of the company as a whole. Before I apply, I always think about how I’d fit in with the brand of the company. Mini USA, Google, Red Bull, VW, and Coca-Cola, are all companies I’d love to work with, not because of the perks (well I’m sure those would help), but because their brand attributes parallel those I strive to link to myself as a brand. While I was at Chick-fil-A I developed a very strong understanding of the corporate culture, when someone is described as being “very Chick-fil-A” anyone who has spent a significant amount of time with the company knows exactly what that means. If you weren’t naturally very “Chick-fil-A” it was wise to fake it for customers or when corporate came to visit. In order to avoid needing to put on a facade, finding a job with a company with a brand personality similar to mine would be ideal.
It goes the other direction too, companies are looking to hire employees with attributes aligned with the company’s brand. Every interaction the company has with me or associates with me plays a part in deciding how much of a brand asset I would be as part of their team. If a potential employer Googles me everything they find becomes part of the brand image they hold of me. My Facebooks (I have two), Linkedin, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, some event promotions from a past internship, a news article about a 2008 gay rights rally I helped orchestrate in Wilmington, along with old events I was the contact person for at Chick-fil-A. All of those links and their contents (if said employer takes the time to browse them) contribute to their opinion of me, could perhaps encourage or discourage them from reaching out for an interview or help generate specific questions to ask our interview.
Being “on brand” as the Kati Heffield “brand”
My point is, during the job search I have to make sure everything about me is “on brand”. Everything that can be found online, what my references have to say about me, any interactions I have with a potential employer in the form of a cover letter, resume, application, and phone or in-person interviews/meetings needs to communicate: who I am, what my goals are, what I’m good at, and how all of that combines to show them all how I can be an asset to them and their brand.
I need to quickly and clearly communicate what my brand is with the maximum amount of impact within the limited interactions I’m able to initiate with each company. That’s where the business cards come in. Once I realized I needed business cards I had to decide whether to design my own from scratch or go with a template. I wanted something unique that stands out in someone’s mind but also leaves a lasting impression of my brand.
As you can see in the photos, the cards I chose resemble a Facebook Timeline with cover photos and my profile picture. While I find it obnoxious for someone in my field (for models/actors it would make sense) to have a picture of themselves on their business cards I find this to be the exception. Social media marketing is one of the areas of marketing that really excites me and I feel the Facebook look of the cards reinforces that as an aspect of my brand. In a job market where pretty much everyone has Facebook experience at least for personal use I want my business cards to say, “Yes, of course I know Facebook. But I especially know how to use it for business”. I put a lot of thought into every part of the card in order to say as much about my brand as possible. Each of the different cover photos I chose tells a little bit about me which can make for a great conversation starter. I scoured pages and pages of marketing quotes to find one that describes my perspective of marketing and branding. And I included five methods of contact (or research for the social media ones) to offer the most opportunities to interact with my brand. I haven’t given one out yet but I’m excited to see the reaction when I do.
What about you?
What do you think your personal brand is? Do you do anything specific to try and communicate different aspects of your brand? As far as my business cards go, what do you think?
If you like the Facebook business cards, they’re super easy to make, you log-in to the website with Facebook and it pulls your current profile picture and all your cover photos. You can decide which cover photos you want to use and delete the ones you don’t.
Here’s my personal link http://www.moo.com/share/cgptgh which you can use for 10% off your first order with Moo where they do a lot more than just the Facebook cards. They even come with a business card holder.