Advertising. And Howe
By Karen Howe
We tell clients that creating a consistent brand matters. We should practise what we preach and make sure that our personal image conveys what it's supposed to
We are in the business of building brands for our clients. So why is it we so rarely consider our own?
A friend of mine has a son who is a phenomenal hockey player and aspires to the NHL. His team was at a meeting with a scout whose first words to them were, “When you leave this meeting, go straight home and delete every picture of you partying off of your Facebook page.” Why? Because scouts do their homework when looking for a team player, and they want to see the bigger picture. They want to know everything they can about a potential draft or hire.
This is not unique to hockey. Employers want to know whom they are really hiring. We check references provided by the applicant, but for those of us who do our homework that’s the tip of the iceberg.
That’s why it’s important to manage your public persona. It’s your brand.
As indicated by the anecdote above, ground zero for managing your brand is your online presence. We exist in a cyber-world and this is a deeply digital business. So protect or, better yet, purge those pictures of you careening around with a bong. Here’s an even better idea: never post them. If they exist on the web, they exist for all time to come. And those images can come back to haunt you at the most inopportune moment.
Look at everything you do through the eyes of your future boss, or clients.
If you want to rise up through the ranks, as a creative director I need to know that you have the ability to manage a client and their business with appropriate finesse.
Everything you say and do is up for decoding. How you dress. How you talk. Your table manners. And your social skills. They all matter.
Why? Because at some point in your career you are going to sit across the boardroom from a client and ask them to spend millions of their communication dollars on idea you just presented to them. They have to have faith in you – not just your idea. So you need to be polished, professional and well-spoken.
A writer I know used to wander around in what looked like pyjama pants and flip-flops. I have never, ever seen a client dress like this. I think it tarnished the writer’s credibility. Mirroring your client’s culture is very important.
One of our clients is always in a suit and tie. When we go to a meeting with him, we bring out the “client-go-to-meetin’ clothes.” It’s a sign of respect. As an art director so aptly pointed out, Mad Men has it right, “dress to impress.”
At some point in your career, if you will also be sitting across the restaurant table from a client for a business meal, and that’s when honed social skills pay for themselves. The last thing you need is fettuccine flailing out of your mouth. Unless you were raised by wolves, and even if you were, be aware of etiquette. If you don’t know which fork to use, Google is your friend. Again, it pays to polish your brand.
You preach to your clients the importance of creating and protecting a consistent brand. It’s just as important to make sure you’re practising what you preach.
Karen Howe is senior vice-president, creative director of one. in Toronto.
September 19, 2012 05:15 PM
Amen! And so dead-on in our computer-oriented world. I've cautioned my daughter to refrain from posting anything she doesn't want the world to see. First impressions are remembered forever. Well-spoken, Ms. Howe.
October 03, 2012 03:10 PM
If we're speaking about quality, professionalism and polish you might want to fix the editing error in the following paragraph:
Why? Because at some point in your career you are going to sit across the boardroom from a client and ask them to spend millions of their communication dollars on AN idea you just presented to them. They have to have faith in you – not just your idea. So you need to be polished, professional and well-spoken.