In Brand Yourself to Build Your Business, we looked at three steps to help you get started on using personal branding as part of your marketing efforts. By now, you’ve had an opportunity to take these tips to heart: figure out what you do differently, consistently present your brand, and make yourself memorable. Now, let’s take a look at two professionals who did just that – turning their personal brand into personal success.
The Bowtie Guy
Meet Orlando Lucero, Stewart Title Underwriting Counsel for the state of New Mexico. He’s affectionately known by the tie that adorns his neck. “That’s always been my signature look,” Orlando says. “The men in our office are required to wear a tie every day, and I’ve always been known by my choice in bowties.”
Several years ago, when Orlando was Vice President – Escrow Officer for Stewart Title of Albuquerque, he and his team decided to build on his bowtie to establish recognition and create a pattern in each customer’s mind. “We tried to reference the bowtie as much as possible,” he says. From his marketing materials to thank you notes and even the car he drives, Orlando used the bowtie angle. His team’s slogan was: “Put the bowtie team to work for you.”
"Ask anyone in town today about the Bowtie Guy and they will know who you’re talking about,” says Orlando. “The challenge with branding is that you want to make sure that people associate your expertise with the brand you’re promoting. That’s the harder thing to do successfully.”
In fact, one time a loyal customer sent a cookie bouquet in the shape of little bowties to Orlando and his team, thanking them for a job well done. Through his industry involvement and excellent attention to service, Orlando’s customers have come to recognize and rely heavily on the Bowtie Team.
Wally the Cab Driver*
Many of you may have heard the story of a cab driver named Wally, as told in The Simple Truths of Service, by Ken Blanchard and Barbara Glanz. It’s a wonderful, true illustration of how developing a personal brand can help drive business and set you apart from the competition. In the book, they share their friend Harvey’s story of riding with Wally:
When a cab pulled up, the first thing Harvey noticed was that the taxi was polished to a bright shine. Smartly dressed in a white shirt, black tie, and freshly pressed black slacks, the cab driver jumped out and rounded the car to open the back passenger door for Harvey. He handed my friend a laminated card and said:
“I’m Wally, your driver. While I’m loading your bags in the trunk I’d like you to read my mission statement.”
Taken aback, Harvey read the card. It said:
Wally’s Mission Statement: To get my customers to their destination in the quickest, safest and cheapest way possible in a friendly environment.
This blew Harvey away. Especially when he noticed that the inside of the cab matched the outside. Spotlessly clean!
As he slid behind the wheel, Wally said, “Would you like a cup of coffee? I have a thermos of regular and one of decaf.”
My friend said jokingly, “No, I’d prefer a soft drink.”
Wally smiled and said, “No problem. I have a cooler up front with regular and Diet Coke, water and orange juice.”
Almost stuttering, Harvey said, “I’ll take a Diet Coke.”
Handing him his drink, Wally said, “If you’d like something to read, I have The Wall Street Journal, Time, Sports Illustrated and USA Today.”
As they were pulling away, Wally handed my friend another laminated card. “These are the stations I get and the music they play, if you’d like to listen to the radio.”
And as if that weren’t enough, Wally told Harvey that he had the air conditioning on and asked if the temperature was comfortable for him. Then he advised Harvey of the best route to his destination for that time of day. He also let him know that he’d be happy to chat and tell him about some of the sights or, if Harvey preferred, to leave him with his own thoughts.
Wally created his own personal brand, one that centered upon providing quality service. And that brand helped Wally’s business grow. In the first year that Wally concentrated on his personal brand, he doubled his income from the previous year. He no longer sits at cabstands. Rather, he relies solely on repeat business and referrals.