“It doesn’t matter how good you are if no one knows who you are,” Brand id/Strategic Partners’ (Brandidsp) marketing material reads. Jennifer Ransaw-Smith is the founder of Brand id/Strategic Partners, a full-service integrated personal branding firm that specializes in transforming senior-level executives and subject-matter experts into industry rock stars.
She spoke at the BeBlogalicious 6 Conference last year in San Antonio and rocked the house. In a room filled with experts, bloggers, and entrepreneurs, Ransaw-Smith addressed that critical conversation that bloggers hold in private Facebook groups: Why doesn’t anyone know who I am? What can I do to become better known?
Many of us have been working in social media for years without gaining much traction. What is the difference, everyone asks, between that person who penetrates consciousness and another with equally worthy content that just doesn’t zing?
We wanted to know where entrepreneurs who are too small to capture the attention of the larger creative agencies go for professional help in leveraging their visibility. Ransaw-Smith offered us answers to our questions:
What did you do before you launched Brandidsp and what actually prompted you to pivot out on your own?
In 1997, I read an article in Fast Company called The Brand Called You written by Tom Peters. I was working in New York at the time for a major advertising agency, writing for big brands such as Burger King, AT&T and Kraft. I loved what I did, however I was looking for more and didn’t realize what that was. The moment I read that article, the hairs on my arm stood up. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that this would eventually be my path. I had been paying attention to how some people were skilled at strategically positioning and elevating themselves while others, just as talented, found themselves stuck.
You have to remember, this is way before the existence of social media. I had no idea it would be exactly one decade later before I left corporate American to officially hang out my shingle and help people “make a name for themselves.”
Why is authenticity so important to the success of recognizing one’s inner authority and to branding one’s business?
The word authenticity is overused. It is everywhere. However, there is a reason. It’s hard to find something else that so accurately captures the importance of “being yourself.” The fact is, you can’t sustain imitation. If you try to build your brand and or presence on anything else but your truth, eventually you will fail. Guaranteed. But ironically, that simple thing is often the hardest to do because as an entrepreneur or executive, you are often spending your time looking around for success stories. It is much easier to want to imitate something that has a track record than create something from scratch.
Which is more important in this process, imagination or knowledge and why?
The most important thing about personal branding is it must be rooted in the truth. Therefore, you can have all of the imagination in the world, but if it isn’t backed up by knowledge, it does you no good.
Clients who come to me are often at the top of their game and include doctors, lawyers, CPA’s, real estate agents and marketers. What they find is they have spent an entire career building someone else’s brand (ie. their company’s) and not their own. What they need to learn at that point is how to become better known. In fact, the most requested workshop I give is called, ‘If you are so great, how come nobody knows who you are?’
What can your clients expect when getting coaching on this subject?
Clients can expect to dramatically elevate their visibility in the marketplace. They will learn how to “play a much bigger game.” As a full-service Personal Elevation Agency, and the only one in the US, We take a comprehensive look at where you are and where you want to be.
Services range from leadership branding seminars, workshops, consulting and training to full-service agency capabilities that work to support your leadership team. Employees become brand ambassadors and eventually brand evangelists. Solopreneurs are approached similarly to achieve the same results. “We meet with our clients for a 4-hour (half-day session). This allows us to do an in-depth audit, clarify their goals, and identify their blind spots. Our team researches the industry, looks at the gaps in the marketplace, and your expertise. Then we put together a game plan and bring together a customized team to help you actualize that vision.”
The seminal advice Jennifer gives all of her clients is to “Cling to where you are drawn.” She brings a high level of corporate experience, knowledge of how the market actually works, an incisive intelligence, strategic thinking and excellent listening skills. Perhaps most importantly, she brings the ability to employ these skills in the service of her clients as a true branding coach. You cannot ask for more than that.
To learn more about how Brandidsp can maximize your company’s marketplace visibility by leveraging either the talent of senior-level executives or subject matter experts, visit www.brandidsp.com
Patricia A. Patton is redefining the way women think about what’s next and what it means to live a well situated life, particularly among maturing black and African American women. Visit her website at www.PatriciaAPatton.com or tweet her at @BoomerWiz