If choice overload for evening activities was a challenge living in New York City for so many years, I definitely don’t have that problem now that I’m living Florida. For reliably good entertainment, my husband and I find ourselves quite regularly at the Naples Philharmonic, five minutes from home and with a great track record for attracting world-class artists.
This weekend I got a chance to experience Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony live for the first time. Oh sure, I’ve heard recorded snippets of it many times—and you probably have too—in tv commercials, in movie soundtracks, including a disco-fied version in Saturday Night Fever, and in at least one or two Bugs Bunny cartoons.
While Beethoven’s famous Fifth was the big draw, it wasn’t the only thing on the program. To sell seats, smart music directors choose works with name recognition, but to expand the audience’s musical awareness, they mix in less familiar works from other artists. In other words, come for the Beethoven, stay for the Berlioz.
In a sense, Beethoven lends his strong personal brand to help other composers become better known and appreciated.
Share your personal brand
What an important lesson for all of us. A personal brand is meant to be shared, not hoarded. It’s an asset that grows the more you use it, especially to help those in your network. And in fact, the more you use your personal brand in this way, the stronger it becomes and the more capital you accumulate to spread even further, all in a virtuous cycle.
So what are some ways you can leverage your brand to benefit others?
1) Refer: Talk up the people in your network. Write about them in blog posts and articles. Bring them up in conversation. Use them as examples in your presentations. In other words, name drop in a good way. Not to impress those you’re talking to, but to make them aware of the good work that’s being done by the people you know. For instance, I was speaking on a panel recently with two good friends, Bill Sobel and Laura Allen, when the name of a mutual friend, Adrian Miller, kept coming up. Finally, at some point, Laura chimed in to tell the whole audience who Adrian was and gave a quick pitch for her latest initiative, Adrian’s Network.
2) Retweet: One of the best and easiest ways to share your personal brand on Twitter is to retweet a helpful or interesting post from someone you’re following. Their message is spread more widely, your followers get the benefit of the information, and your stock rises because people can see you’re interested in helping others and engaging in the community, not just broadcasting one-way, self-promotional messages.
3) Recommend: Whenever you get a chance to recommend someone for an opportunity, take it. Don’t hide your network from others. For example, I spoke at a series of women’s conferences for a couple of years in a row, each year attracting a total of 20,000 women (and a few lucky men!). It was tremendous exposure, and I recommended at least a half dozen of my friends to the conference organizers for future events, where I saw a strong fit between their expertise and the focus of the conference. Another way to lend your personal brand is to endorse a contact on LinkedIn or write a book review on Amazon.
These are just some ideas to get you started. If you spotlight at least one person in your network each week in some way, in a year you’ll have 52 stronger relationships, not to mention a stronger personal brand for yourself.
Liz Lynch is founder of the Center for Networking Excellence and author of Smart Networking: Attract a Following In Person and Online (McGraw-Hill, 2008). She writes, speaks and consults to experienced professionals on how to seamlessly integrate social media and traditional networking to save time and accelerate results.