Wondering how to really stand out and create long-term customer loyalty in the competitive market for lifelong learning, continuing education, and training? Building brand and developing a rock-solid, trustworthy reputation have never been more important, and few people know more about how to do these things than my guest on this episode of the Learning Revolution Podcast: Dorie Clark.
Dorie is a branding and marketing expert who shares her insights regularly in well-traveled channels like the Harvard Business Review blog network and Forbes. Her new book, Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future – the focus of this podcast – was published by Harvard Business Press Books. Her most recent book – definitely relevant for anyone visiting this is site – is Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It.
I knew Dorie was just the person to talk to when it came to exploring how education businesses – from training firms, to associations, to individual subject matter experts – can better manage their presence and impact in the market place. Listen in for some great insights and practical tips on how you can boost your brand and rocket your reputation.
Listen to the Podcast
02:05 – Introduction of Dorie Clark, author of
the forthcoming Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future and a regular in mainstay business destinations like the Harvard Business Review blog network and Forbes.
03:05 – Reputation has become even more important as the number of competitors has grown, along with the playing field – which is now global.
3:28 – You need to have a reputation that draws people into you, makes then say “You are the person I want to work with” – and a strong reputation helps make price less of an issue.
04:22 – Have to stay on top of what is being said about you online, and perhaps more importantly, what’s not being said. Don’t let other people control the dialogue.
05:00 – What’s the role of listening to the market?
05:29 – In the past, you would have had to pay thousands of dollars for focus groups and other approaches. Now, it is possible to find out a tremendous amount by listening in on social channels.
06:40 – Have to recognize that people’s expectations have risen . They do expect higher levels of responsiveness and customer service. But social media also gives you the ability to reach out to people proactively, surprise them, go above and beyond.
07:48 – How important is content marketing as part of establishing and maintaining a reputation and building and brand?
09:00 – In the past, no matter how good your ideas were, if you didn’t have capital, you were often stuck. That’s changed.
10:00 – In many cases, mass media isn’t the answer anyway. You want to get to your specific audience, and social media and other tools now make that possible.
10:47 – Have to keep in mind that, when you put content out there, you are reaching and influencing people even if you never hear from them directly. You have the potential to become a thought leader.
11:53 – The idea of building a platform and context over time. How do reputation and branding fit into longer term branding and strategy. Dorie references her HBR blog post It’s Not a Job Search, It’s a Permanent Campaign.
Dorie discusses why personal branding is the ultimate career weapon
DD13:18 – You can’t just say I want a job (or a customer) and one magically appears because your resume (or advertising) is so great. You have to build up a reputation and trust over time in the marketplace.
14:38 – There is a built in advantage, if you are targeting a niche audience, for really going deep with the type of content you provide and this leads to loyalty over time.
15:18 – Examples of companies and individuals that are really getting it right.
15:55 – Discussion of Klout and the move toward measuring reputation and influence. Justin Beeber is a poster child for reputation management – his efforts point to how powerful behind the scenes, intimate type communication can be – a move away from the standard corporate press release approach. Customers and members want a human connection. People are loyal to people, not institutions.
17:50 – Example of venture capitalist Fred Wilson from Dorie’ s HBR blog post Transparency is the New Leadership Imperative. Fred has used blogging as a key tool to connecting with his audience and building his reputation in the venture capital community. He has been rewarded for being transparent in an industry known for not being transparent.
19:18 – What are the one or two first steps a small firm, individual subject matter expert, or association should take to start building their brand?
20:04 – Start with a basic Google search on yourself or your organization to see what is already out there. What’s being said, how easy is it to find and contact you. Something like a LinkedIn profile is very basic, but even just doing that means people will have a better chance of finding you.
20:10 – Blogging is also a powerful tool for building brand. A lot of people who have dabbled with blogging are abandoning it. This opens up a big opportunity for people willing to make the commitment and put in the time to establish themselves as a thought leader.
23:34 – Wrapping up. Be sure to visit Dorie’s Web site.
24:10 – I’d be truly grateful if you would give the podcast a brief review and/or rating on iTunes – http://www.learningrevolution.net/itunes.
P.S. – See what readers are saying about Leading the Learning Revolution: The Expert’s Guide to Capitalizing on the Exploding Lifelong Education Market. – Jeff