I’d love to be famous for a day — reveling in the accolades of fans, with assistants responding to my every wish and making more money in a day than some people make in a year.
But does fame guarantee that everyone will know who you are and appreciate what you do? Do you have a well-defined and recognizable personal brand?
Remarkable Talent Isn’t Enough
The world-famous violinist Joshua Bell discovered that fame and his remarkable talent weren’t enough to entice passersby in a busy train station to stop and listen. The Washington Post a number of years ago conducted an experiment in cooperation with the violinist.
Wearing a baseball cap and in jeans, he was only recognized by one person over a 45-minute period of playing several of the most famous pieces in the classical repertoire. The subsequent Post story quickly went viral.
Bell’s experience prompted me to ask myself: am I doing enough to promote myself to potential clients? I may be the best writer in the world, but if no one knows me, it really doesn’t matter. As the Post said about Bell’s experiment, “If a great musician plays great music but no one hears…was he really any good?”
Judge for yourself in this video taken with a hidden camera in the train station.
Context counts. Too often, we limit ourselves to a small circle of business acquaintances that include only clients and members of our professional association. Joshua Bell learned he was unrecognizable when appearing out of context in a train station instead of a concert hall.
Expand Your Network
As business coach Andrea Nierenberg, author of the book “Nonstop Networking” writes, “You have the opportunity to exponentially expand your circles of influence, professional and social connections by building relationships with groups and individuals in your community. Consider joining local organizations dedicated to making a positive impact.
“Key players in your community may include local government officials, school board members, alumni groups, religious leaders and executives of local charities. Generating consistent face-time with these individuals tends to afford you a degree of credibility over time within the community. You can markedly expand your circles of influence by developing friendships with these groups and members of your community.”
So maybe it’s time to spread your wings when promoting your brand. Meeting prospects can happen in the most unlikely places that aren’t your usual business hangouts. After all, potential clients also coach Little League and volunteer at soup kitchens.
It’s possible to meet them by becoming a volunteer while also making a difference in your community.