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Brand Yourself

As I pounded away on the health club elliptical machine yesterday morning while watching Republican Sen. Jim DeMint on “Morning Joe,” I was once again reminded of the importance of “branding” yourself (or your agency, your product, your program, etc.) whenever you’re speaking in public.
Here’s the setup: DeMint was invited on the show to talk about the upcoming GOP primary in his home state of South Carolina, but being no fool, he turned it into an opportunity to also plug his new book, “Now Or Never.” By my count, he managed to work in references such as “well, as I say in my new book” and “if you read the book, you’ll see that…” at least five times in the brief live interview, even though the questions weren’t directly about the book. So, although he didn’t actually mention the title (which would have been even better), he did repeatedly remind the audience that a), he has a new book, and b), they should go out and buy it.
The point is, whenever you’re being interviewed by a journalist or delivering a presentation or speech, brand yourself. Remind the audience who you are, the name of your agency, the name of the project you’re working on. For example, don’t say “our agency is making great strides on telework.” Say “We’ve been promoting telework at the Department of XXX, and we’re making great strides.” It may feel a little forced to do this, but if you make a convincing point and the audience doesn’t know who you are or what the agency or program is, why should you bother showing up in the first place? Give them the information, tell them what to do with it, and remind them where it came from.

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