Your presentation is your brand
Think of Nike, FedEx and BMW and you instantly remember their logo or tagline. Not so for a small enterprise. Small business owners lack the marketing budgets for glitzy campaigns that yield instant name recognition.
Social media has leveled the playing field somewhat, but entrepreneurs mustn’t lose sight of the real power of a brand – the live presentation.
A brand is a promise. It’s also what your business stands for. And in the case of small business, the CEO is the personification of the brand. So, how you speak and how you present your company are strong factors in building and communicating your brand.
But cutting through the clutter to communicate your brand is challenging. According to The Radicati Group, in April 2010, approximately 294 billion emails were sent every day. That equals more than 2.8 million emails sent every second. That’s why a personal presentation helps you stand out from the competition.
A strong presentation reinforces your brand. Think of the late Steve Jobs in his black turtleneck before a backdrop of huge iPhone graphics. Imagine Tony Robbins with his manic energy, pounding his chest. Visualize Suze Orman with her short, blond hair and her sharp tone, telling people in the audience, “You’re denied!”
What these top presenters have in common are the five Cs of communicating their brand.
Consistent: A strong brand is consistent. The message, the brochures, business cards, PowerPoint, website, social media platforms and promotional items should have the same look and feel. One speaker I know brands herself as the “Joan Jett” of motivational speaking. Her attire is black, her hair is spiky and her promotional giveaway pens are black. No matter the occasion, she wears black. Her visual presentation is always consistent. Consistency builds trust.
Congruent: Do your body, voice and words communicate the same message? Here’s where brands lose their power. If the visual, vocal or verbal message is out of sync, body language becomes the default message. Remember when George Bush Sr. glanced at his watch during the presidential debate with Bill Clinton? That’s what people remembered – that Bush was bored or distracted.
Clear: A confusing message dilutes your brand. Resist the temptation to be too creative with your acronyms and buzz words. Simple trumps complex. What makes sense to you may be confusing to the listener. A production company owner would tell prospects that they were “media agnostic.” What he meant is that they worked in all forms of media. Nobody got it. Do you want to be clever or clear?
Concise: Don’t fall in love with the sound of your own voice. Aim for sixth- to eighth-grade language. You don’t have to “dumb down” your message, but polysyllabic words and passive language simply don’t sell. Keep it short and simple. Audience attention spans are short. The average Ted.com talk is 18 minutes. If you can’t convey your message in 18 minutes, you’re probably not clear about your own message.
Compelling: How do you grab and keep attention? By speaking to the listener’s needs wants and interests. Try to be memorable. If you’re brand is “cutting edge, you don’t want to deliver the ubiquitous PowerPoint presentation. Why not show a humorous video instead?
Do the unexpected. One scientist decided to use a dance company to visually explain how a particular laser cooled down matter. He took a potentially dry topic and made it compelling.: http://www.diresta.com/knockoutpresentationsblog/?p=1585
Remember speaking is the new competitive weapon. Business owners invest thousands of dollars creating logos and taglines to communicate their brand. But they’re only as good as your last presentation. Your presentation is your brand.