A few weeks ago, a brilliant young gentleman approached me about how he could start getting paid to publicly speak. We had a 30-minute phone consultation about branding and positioning himself in a way so conference organizers would be anxious to get him on the roster.
One of the biggest forehead-slapping moments of the conversation was regarding his title. And friends, this is an area where I see so many people make a huge branding mistake.
You see, there’s a reason why my tagline is “Start SMALL. Brand BIG.” Many people think it’s because I teach small companies and solo entrepreneurs how to position themselves larger and more competitively in the marketplace. Yes, that’s part of it. The other part, though, is because branding happens in the DETAILS of your business. No logo or color will build a stronger brand than those micro moments when someone comes into contact with you or your company.
How Titles Can Dictate Whether You Make Money
Today’s post is about one of those micro moments…and that’s your TITLE. All social media platforms favor personal titles over corporate. What I mean by that is that when you search LinkedIn or Facebook for someone, it displays their title. Knowing that, there are then two ways you can show up under searches:
Mary Smith, CEO of WebWorks
Mary Smith, Sales Funnel Expert and Technician
Title One: Good on ya, Mary. You’re the CEO. Now I have to spend an additional 5 minutes (10 if your messaging isn’t clear) looking up your company to understand what part of the colossal machine that is Internet marketing you specialize in. (I won’t because no one has time or an attention span these days.)
Title Two: Oh, I get it. Mary sets up digital sales funnels that drives leads and dollars to my business. It took no more than the 2 second attention span I have to figure that out. Cool, I could use someone like that.
Use This Trick When Crafting Your Title
Here’s the deal. You give yourself a title for one of two groups of people. If you have a large company with a ton of people and YOU are not the product, your title serves to let your team know your job function in the company. I.E.: Matt Jones, Employee Benefits Manager. Oh cool, I’m an employee and if I have questions about my benefits, Matt’s my guy. Rock on, use the title Chief Executive Officer or Financial Officer or whatever so your TEAM gets it.
BUT if you’re a consultant, service provider, physical trainer, teacher, speaker, where you don’t have PEOPLE on staff, then your PEOPLE are your CUSTOMERS; and titles like principal, consultant, founder, CEO, are essentially irrelevant to them.
Listen, we’d all love to be romantic and flowery with our names. For the first few months of my business, I was on my ego trip by calling myself Founder. Well, duh…I’m a consultant. Who else would have founded the company? So I stopped. And now I’m a Branding Expert, Speaker, and Copywriter. Simple enough.
Look at your title and really think about what audience your title is for. If you have a large company, then traditional hierarchical titles may achieve your goal. If you’re a party of one calling yourself “Founder”, you’re branding for yourself, not your clients and you’re REALLY missing out.
Here’s the live video I did this morning if you’re a watcher not a reader:
Curious to hear your thoughts! As always, comment below!