Author: Laura Camacho, PhD
Did you know that filmmakers spend the same amount of money marketing a movie as they do making a movie?
Yep. Marketing is as important as making. This is as true for film as it is for your career.
We all know some quiet professional, who does exceptional work….but someone else gets the here’s-your-own-parking-spot promotion, sought-after projects, and plaque-on-the-wall recognition.
Even with a level playing field, the loudest people in the company are the ones who get noticed. But fear not, you don’t have to be oh-my-goodness-becky obnoxious to make a difference.
No one gives you power and recognition. You have to conjure that yourself, Cookie.
Here’s the missing piece of your corporate puzzle. Bosses are human. (Weird, right?) Not only that, they are quite busy with all those meetings and are primarily concerned about their career tracks. They also have short memories.
The good news is that you are a clever, creative smartie and can Pop at Work in a way that makes people happy they work with someone as talented as you. #blessed
What’s pop? It’s creating a strong personal brand platform based on people who know who you are and what you’re about. That’s pop (sans snap & crackle).
A personal brand platform supports you throughout your career, and it’s formed from people who vote for you. Regardless of where you’re employed.
Using the creative, clever part of your brain to develop your pop at work through a marketing plan has multiple positive ripple effects. Like:
- Boosting your confidence. It goes through the roof (possibly breaking a ceiling or two). Confidence is dolla-dolla-bills in the bank.
- Enjoying your J-O-B. Developing unexpected ways to communicate your value at work makes your job more enjoyable. And makes you more fun to be around.
- Cranking up your idea generator (AKA—your brain). This process flexes your creativity. And who knows what other amazing innovations you’ll come up with because you unleash your brain’s inner bodybuilder.
- Thinking like a BOSS. You’re someone who’s going interesting places. So go forth.
So how is this plaque-on-the-wall recognition going to happen?
It’s called marketing. I call it #brandyou. Some call it “working your butt off.”
Do whatever it takes for people to remember your name. Show what you can do, so they can’t make a plan without you. Work at everything from a Free Agent angle.
The starting point for this work is to consider yourself a free agent. While you may adore your current position at the best company ever, I’ll bet you a case of chilled Prosecco that you’re not still working there five years from now.
As a free agent in your industry, you’re in charge of keeping your skills shiny-like-a-knife sharp. You’re also in charge of creatively spreading the word of your awesomeness.
Here are some things I (and some of my clients) have used, but I know you will think of your own marketing plan once you start thinking like a free agent.
3 Ways to Pop at Work
Start a movement.
You don’t have to be Gandhi to start a movement. Bring your favorite nonprofit to work and organize your colleagues/department to participate in a walk, a half-marathon, a concert, etc.
Kelli Garrison, Director of Epic Clinical Systems, organizes the Heart Walk team for the IS department at the Medical University of South Carolina every year. She starts working on this in July for the October event. It raises her visibility within the organization and extended community. And she raises money for an excellent cause. That’s a—Win. Win. Win.
You only need one thing to pull this off: enthusiasm. Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger. Work alone will never fully satisfy a person, so humanize your office and solidify your platform by highlighting a worthy cause to support.
Another way that can work well…is to form a committee. I was part of a very small innovation committee at a large company, and we had fun putting together meetups for the larger innovation (we kept “innovation” loosely defined) community. It’s been a powerful platform-builder for everyone involved.
Put together a speaker’s panel.
I discovered the value of this quite by accident when I was asked to moderate a panel on innovation because of my work with the above-mentioned innovation committee.
Panels are: Fun. Short. Interesting. You get to pull together three to five (probably three) people to share their differing points of view about a theme. It’s more dynamic than a single speaker and less burden on the participants.
If you bring in a panel to your next town hall or other big meeting, you’ll have fun putting it together. Your personal brand platform will rise. (This article gives you specific details on how to put together an awesome speaker’s panel.)
You can also submit a speaker’s panel at your favorite industry conference. It’s more fun than speaking all by yourself and more likely to get accepted.
Ask leading questions.
You can tune out for part of that boring meeting, but plan to ask your leading question. Prepare at least one question for any meeting where you want to make an impact.
Now, not just any question will work. Leading questions show that you’ve done your homework, and you’re in sync with your company’s strategy.
First, make sure you know what top leadership’s top goals are. If you don’t know, that’s a good question to start with. Fortunately, you don’t have to be fluent in Corporate Zombie Speak to ask good questions.
Examples of ooey-gooey good leading questions include:
So, am I right to see that this decision is supporting our pillar goal of __________?
Wow. I’m swooning as I type that.
And how does this mandate align with our key strategy of ____________?
What about (insert your brilliant idea) to help us achieve ____________?
Don’t worry about your voice shaking. If anyone even notices, they’ll be impressed that you felt the fear but spoke up anyway.
You’re the brand manager of the Brand Called You. That calls for clever and creative marketing. Go out there, start a movement, pull together a panel and (for coffee ice cream’s sake), ask questions. What’s your best Pop at Work marketing tip? Show off your creativity below.
Laura Mixon Camacho, PhD, is obsessed with helping creatives and technical professionals flourish professionally (by “flourish” she means “make bank”). She believes all conversations should be carried out with style and enthusiasm. (She calls that #brandyou.) And a presentation is just a special conversation. Laura creates quirky, interactive and intense communication workshops and privately coaches quiet executives to be more influential.