That’s how these decisions are typically made. But it’s short-sighted.
Every company needs a media page, a place where people can freely access and download their logos, pictures of their founders, product images, and other relevant assets.
The alternative is to force the people who want to (and may even be required to) talk about you online to take poorly cropped, bad-quality screenshots and use them on their blogs and websites. What exactly does that do to your online brand and reputation management?
How do you want the people that come to your business – customers, bloggers, podcasters, influencers, affiliates, the media – to represent you?
Because know it or not, you are already being represented.
Most entrepreneurs find self-aggrandizing awkward and uncomfortable.
In one way or another, consciously or unconsciously, we’ve all been conditioned to hold back. To avoid appearing cocky or arrogant. To save face. To sidestep drawing attention to ourselves.
But if you don’t act as though you’re important, who’s going to do it on your behalf?
More certificates, diplomas, degrees, and doctorates won’t make you any more important. No awards or commendations will make you more important. Even being “discovered” won’t make you any more important than you already are, and it probably won’t happen, especially if you act as though you are unimportant.
You can’t wait for permission because no one is going to give it to you. There is simply too much going on in the world. Everyone is building towards their dreams. If you can’t find a way to integrate your goals with the goals of others, you should not expect to receive much help or recognition. If you don’t know what’s important to the people you’re working with, do not expect them to stick around. At some point, they will leave, and they won’t come back.
Hiding behind a corporate logo is a sure way to lose. People don’t connect with brands; they connect with the people behind the brands.
Place your photo everywhere, on your business cards, in your email signature, in the sidebar of your website. It doesn’t matter whether you like being photographed or how you appear in a photograph. Showing your face is a crucial and necessary step to self-aggrandizing.
Whether you’re an award-winning entrepreneur, a best-selling author, certified life coach, or anything else of note, hammer it repeatedly in your media. And if you haven’t accomplished anything of note, either set out to achieve something in the next year or study the process of manufacturing influence.
Have others talk you up. Get someone to introduce you on your webinars or at your live presentations. Have one of your top clients create a video sales letter for you and get them to share the amazing results they got and why others should hire you or buy your product immediately.
You’re important because you say you’re important. Self-aggrandizing is the first step to being perceived as important and influential by others.
Her talent isn’t in question. Lady Gaga is classically trained. She’s a great pianist and singer. She probably has other talents I don’t even know about.
The point is that by treating every occasion like Halloween, she got our attention. We’re all drawn to the bizarre, even if some of us don’t stick around to watch the whole train wreck.
And I’m not saying Gaga is a train wreck. I’m saying that only a portion of the people who come to check out the freakshow are going to stick around. Not everyone will be your fan. But some will, and those people will become your advocates long-term.
So, we need to be thinking about what we can do to grab people’s attention.
Slipknot has the masks, Marilyn Manson has a knack for the grotesque, KISS has the makeup…
And while these are more extreme examples than anything, what they have in common is that they’re successful by practically anyone’s standards. They got our attention, then delivered music that matched their esthetic.
You don’t necessarily need to go to the same lengths to get noticed. But chances are you will need to do something. Because you need to get feet in the door. Once you’ve gotten people to listen to your music, the battle is as good as won. Getting to that point is the hard part.
So, go back to your identity. Your brand. What are you about? Why do you do what you do? And within that context, how can you grab people’s attention? What would it look like to be the extreme version of yourself?
Some of my early heroes as a guitarist were Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen, and Nuno Bettencourt, and I learned a great deal from each.
But there always seems to come a point when drawing from the same wells of inspiration doesn’t yield new results anymore.
You can go and find new heroes, of course, which is what most us do. But these new heroes often end up being extensions of well-traveled paths. So, there’s a limit to how much more we can learn from them.
Legendary British jazz fusion and progressive rock guitarist Allan Holdsworth was known as the most technically adept guitarist to ever live (he passed just four years ago in 2017).
The irony? He hated guitar. He always sought to imitate the saxophone.
I’m not sure whether his secret was that he took inspiration from an unusual source, that he worked hard at is craft, or ultimately, both. I think we can agree, though, that all these factors were important.
Here’s another example that makes the point:
You can hear bits of Chet Atkins, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, West Montgomery, and others in virtuoso guitarist Eric Johnson’s playing.
What is fascinating about his playing, though, is that his style was also influenced by the piano. Which is why you rarely see him just strumming chords, as many rhythm guitarists are known to do.
This might seem restrictive to some, but it’s clear to see how it would fundamentally shift how you think about your instrument.
These are key lessons as applied to developing your creative projects and businesses too.
It’s fine to take inspiration from your peers and competitors. It might even be prudent, given that imitating another’s brand can sometimes give you instant trust and recognition.
But let’s be real here. As author Todd Henry often says, “cover bands don’t change the world – you’ve got to find your unique voice.”
There’s a great deal of inspiration that can be found in completely unrelated industries, niches, practices, and disciplines too.
My main niche is music, but I’ve started taking inspiration from:
Japanese variety shows
Political and geopolitical podcasts
Online drum lesson memberships (this one obviously has a closer connection)
Internet marketing and online business sites
Now, if we want our projects and businesses to be successful, we can never ignore who we’re talking to or the language they’re using to describe their problems. That’s the main way we’re going to ensure our mission is sustainable.
But there may be opportunities to create better products and services by taking inspiration from unrelated niches.
The key is to approach all that you consume with open loops. When you do, you’ll find answers to questions in unexpected places.