John Morgan is the gifted, best-selling author of Brand Against the Machine: How to Build Your Brand, Cut Through the Marketing Noise, and Stand Out from the Competition. In my interview he shares so much wisdom about personal branding, that it is a must read for anyone trying to break out of the clutter. D - Who are you and what do you do?
J - I like to think of myself as a brand architect and raconteur. I help entrepreneurs and businesses stand out, create a great customer experience, and strengthen the relationship they have with their customers and audience. I do that through consulting, speaking, and my book Brand Against The Machine.
D - How has networking helped to shape your career?
J - The impact has been incredible. I got serious about networking in 2008. Since then my business has more than tripled. It has lead to new clients, speaking gigs, and a book deal. But let me say that networking doesn't come easily for me. I have to make a concentrated effort and get outside of my comfort zone at times. I'm not one who loves to go to events or get out and meet new people. But the results of doing that are so beneficial for my business that I make it a big part of my plan.
D - You literally wrote the book on branding. How does personal branding fit in with professional networking?
J - Your brand is your reputation. The bigger and better your brand is, the more people want to network with you. Opportunities begin to seek you out. If your personal brand has very little visibility or is basically unknown, then getting out and networking is a critical piece to changing that. Once you've started networking with people, the opinions they form of you reflect your brand. The more people like you and the stronger the relationship they have with you, the more they'll support your business.
D - In your book you wrote, "The only people who stand out are those who want to." Do you think we should all strive to stand out? What are some good ways to do so?
Consistency is the Key
J - YES! All businesses and entrepreneurs have to fight through obscurity. We must find ways to stand out or we risk failure. To do that you need to focus on distinction. What makes you or your business different from everyone else? If you can't think of anything then take a look at everything your competition never does, and then do the never. Also, standing out once or twice isn't enough. Consistency is the key. Help people consistently. Communicate and engage consistently. Create content consistently.
D - How do you balance your online and offline relationships? How do you keep up?
J - Truthfully, I'm much better at it online than offline. I keep a list of people in my core network. These are people who are friends, but are also in a position to create opportunities for me and support my business. Every day I reach out to 3-5 of them, just to say Hi. By the end of the month, I've made contact with everyone. Then I start all over again. There's nothing worse than contacting someone you haven't spoke with in 8 months and then act like the relationship is important to you.
D - Do you have any final thoughts about business networking?
J - Don't judge a person or an event until you've met them or attended. You never know who will be there or who is in a position to help you. I once attended a networking breakfast (Geek Breakfast!) where only six people showed up. It would have been very easy to write it off as a waste of time. As it turned out three of those six became long-term clients and one of the others has provided me with many PR opportunities.
D - Thanks John. How can people contact you?