MPI Perspective - December 2009 - (Page 6)

A Brand Apart By Amy Drew Thompson In the brave, new world of business, you don’t want to be another face in the crowd. How do you characterize who you are and what you have to offer? What makes you special? What is your brand? Define yourself and refine your method. Careers are living, breathing entities. They change over time. Where then, on the evolutionary scale, is the art of selfbranding? In the coming odyssey of 2010, how will you stand out from the crowd? appreciated and remembered. And don’t ever fall under the impression that there’s nothing left to learn. “A person has to become a sponge for knowledge in all areas of the industry to understand how to adapt and react in any market. And one can obtain knowledge in many different forms. Use as many as you can to get a balanced viewpoint.” Persistence and perseverance pay off. Sue Hershkowitz-Coore, better known in many circles as her brand — Speaker Sue — got her break at a chamber of commerce mixer, her membership paid for with the last $50 she’d allotted for her burgeoning business. She was inches from returning to her original career, teaching English to middle schoolers. “I met a bank executive who said I could use his name,” she remembers. “He believed [staffers at his bank] would benefit from learning better business communication skills.” What he didn’t know was that the contact name he handed her was someone who already had turned her down. Using her new friend’s name, she got the appointment. “There were three bank vice presidents and they hired me to train their people. Every single presentation since then has Who is “the champagne of CMPs”? You’ve heard the term before. Miller High Life is branded as “the champagne of beers,” and Canada Dry used a similar slogan to sell its ginger ale. Why? Champagne was first associated with the anointment of French kings. It is exclusive. Only the sparkling wine from that tiny province of France even can be called champagne. And over time, its distributors molded the product’s image. It became locked in association with luxury and upward mobility. It became synonymous with “the best.” Simply put, champagne is the Michael Jordan of branding. (We could do this all day long.) The point? In the stormy economic seas of tight budgets and tighter competition, proper branding could turn you, your service or your company into the desert-island oasis that a potential client is looking for — or a safe harbor where clients past will return. What are meeting professionals doing these days to distinguish themselves? While newer tools — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn — are undeniably hot, can they trump the tried-and-true classics, like good old-fashioned word of mouth? 6 | MPINCCperspective | VOL. 28, NO. 3 Pitch Perfect REvent’s Roger Rickard of Rocklin, Calif. likens his professional path to that of an Old West wagon wheel. “Each wooden spoke represents a dif ferent employer or job function,” he says. Each has served a purpose in making him the person he is today. “I began in hotel security, and then became a trained professional bodyguard, an undercover shopper for restaurants and hotels, a hotel sales manager, and a general manager for a meetings and incentive management firm.” Today, he is a partner in, and chief business solicitor for, a knowledge business that serves the meetings, incentive and events industry. “We are a brain trust of the best and brightest in the industry,” he says. The tactics for self-branding may have changed over the years, says Rickard, but the principles have not. Traits such as authenticity, visibility and the ability to deliver on a promise are perennially

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MPI Perspective - December 2009

MPI Perspective - December 2009
President’s Message
A Brand Apart
Tradeshow Marketing: How to Reach Corporate and Association Planners
Getting to know … Sheryl Sookman Schelter, CMP
Being Green Is Not a Destination
Member Pearls
Chapter Chatter
Sponsor Spotlight
Student Affairs Committee Spreading the Good Word of MPI
Index to Advertisers

MPI Perspective - December 2009