At The Best You Expo 2016, Janey Lee Grace guided a rapt audience through the skills you need to be noticed in business. The Best You records some of her fabulous, transformative advice
Janey Lee Grace’s message at The Best You Expo was clear: in an age of social media and big media, whether you’re a lone freelancer or the CEO of a large company, the most powerful thing you can do to get customers is be noticed for the right things. Whether you’re running a practice, providing business services, teaching, coaching, consulting – in fact anything – the most important question you have to answer is how can you most effectively project yourself as a brand?
“It’s going to sound like seriously big time showing off,” Grace told attendees. “I love it when people show off! I call it showing up not showing off. It’s actually recognising what you’re here for and how you are going to get absolute clarity on your unique brilliance.”
For Grace, the realisation that many people don’t know how to communicate their brilliance came when she was was due to interview a hypnotherapist for BBC radio.
Grace knew that the therapist did really positive things and she was excited about getting the message about her guest’s work out to a big radio audience. But when the recorded interview was performed, there was a problem.
“Unfortunately this lady, despite having written a great book, was not a great interviewee. She didn’t have absolute clarity on her USP, her key messages and how to get herself across. We dropped the interview.
I was absolutely gutted at that point and I thought you know I never want that to happen again, and if I can do anything to help, I will.”
She asked her audience to really answer a question honestly, so they could get clarity on what their brand was based on. That question was for people to ask themselves: “What’s great about me and my business?” Being ready to articulate it was the starting point of knowing exactly what your brand is.
So what does Grace mean by being a brand? Although it’s the springboard, it’s not only knowing what makes you good at what you do. You might have a book, you might have a viable business. A reputation for reliability, punctuality, a business-like approach, warmth or excellent service are not enough to make you stand out from the many others in the marketplace providing similar services.
“All of that’s great! However all of those things are pre-requisites.” She explains that, in many ways, they’re the tools of the trade; they are “exactly the same as a hairdresser having scissors and a hairbrush”,
or a dentist having his equipment.
The question is, why do people go to their preferred hairdresser over and over again, when they could go to any hairdresser? Yes, there’s trust, but there’s also the USP, the unique selling point. That’s where the brand is to be found.
Finding your specific brand is not necessarily easy, and requires some thinking outside the box.
Grace told how one already successful businesswoman she worked with wanted to draw extra clients. After hours of searching for what made her special, Grace drew from her that she loved scuba diving, but never went enough.
“She imagined herself, at such times, as a mermaid. It sounds whacky, but this was the starting point of a brand, which came to be known as, “The authentic mermaid.”
“It was fun, and it got her noticed. Of course, not everyone can be a mermaid. That would mean there was nothing unique in their selling point. And some people have interests and skills that don’t necessarily mesh with the business they run. But finding that special thing about yourself that can inform your business, that’s where a brand and a USP are born.”
Grace also gave some great advice on what you do with your brand, once you’ve got it worked out and conceptualised, and finished with advice on four distinct areas that help to build a brand: clarity, confidence, content, and connections.
“In many ways, the first two go together. If you are clear about what your message is, then you have the right to be confident about delivering it. If you aren’t confident, then you can learn to be with the right training.
“Content is vital in the media age. It gives media outlets something to talk about – so that ebook, which might be just a short advertising pamphlet, can be vital to opening doors. “
Her final advice was great: “You can have connections in the media world, but you also need to have the clarity about where you fit in. If you can make the right connections in the right slot, then your brand is well on its way to being recognised.”