Your work is giving—or, more precisely, selling—advice. How well are you selling yourself and your firm?
Let’s agree that being compelling to your sweet-spot clients is a must. Why then do so many firms—from 1-person shops to some mega names—insist on watering down what makes them distinct? Why do otherwise savvy partners fail to build a strong personal brand that aligns their talents and passions with their firm?
Three words: lizards, trolls and camels.
The lizard rules. The lizard is the part of us that is satisfied with the ordinary (for more about the lizard brain, read Seth Godin’s “Linchpins”). Reaching for more feels too risky. Unsafe. The website that says: “our service, our people, our technology are second to none” was written by the lizard. When you find yourself holding back, afraid to shoot higher, the lizard is in charge.
The troll appears. You overcome the lizard to firmly stake your territory—you publish an article, write a blog post, or make a bold statement in a speech. That’s when the trolls appear. Trolls are critics who take perverse pleasure in tearing others down. In fact, you haven’t conquered the lizard if you haven’t attracted a few trolls. Your job with trolls is simple. Ignore them. Engaging trolls only fires them up for more criticism. Who needs that? Let them go find someone else to annoy.
You create the camel. You’ve subdued the lizard enough to attempt something compelling, but haven’t quite been able to ignore the trolls. The result? Camel territory. Yes, the camel that was a horse drawn by committee. Camels are great if you’re crossing the desert, but most of us aren’t. While getting other inputs (especially in a partnership) is necessary and valuable, don’t let it dilute what makes you unique. Keep your focus on resonating with your sweet spot clients.
The secret to compelling marketing? Subdue the lizard. Ignore the troll. Avoid the camel.