The November Success Experience was a hit! Our distinguished guest speaker was Marshawn Evans, Attorney, Reinvention Strategist, Author and Public Speaker. Marshawn provided valuable strategies on positioning yourself to take YOU to the next level of branding. NSN Atlanta would like to thank our sponsors, the W Atlanta Downtown and Marshawn Evans for their support and helping to make this event a phenomenal success!
Check out the photo gallery to see what you missed!
Marshawn is the Founder of ME Unlimited®, Author of SKIRTS in the Boardroom: A Woman’s Survival Guide to Success in Business & Life (Wiley 2008), President of EDGE 3M Sports & Entertainment and Founder and Executive Producer of The Caring EDGE Awards. Her success in the classroom and courtroom took her to the infamous boardroom as one of Donald Trump’s handpicked cast members on NBC’s hit show “The Apprentice”. Marshawn was the only person to lead Trump’s all-women’s team to a victory as the Project Manager for an upscale yet in your face, Lamborghini Advertising Campaign.
Here’s what Marshawn had to say about Monetizing Brand You.
“Start where you are, use what you have, knowing what you have is already enough.”
A lot of people have made branding more complicated than necessary. Marshawn states that branding is about one thing: perception. We have been raised to think that the opinions of others do not matter, but she disagrees.
On The Opinions of Others: On The Apprentice, in the boardroom is when everyone starts pointing fingers. You realize at the point when you get fired, that the opinions of others definitely matter. Their opinions impact your outcome. It is not all about how talented you are. If you are excellent at making jewelry, and no one finds out about it, it doesn’t matter. If no one sees or appreciates it, it doesn’t matter. That’s why we have a lot of fluff that sells or you may see people who are less qualified or capable get ahead.
What The Other Side Thinks of You: In law school, one of the most important things Marshawn learned is that you need to know what the other side thinks of you. Most people know what they are good at doing. By contrast, if you do not know what you are good at, pay attention to what people compliment you on. The key: Get people to buy into you and ride along with you. People want to be around a winner.
Position Yourself As an Expert: Why is it important? Experts make more money. Whether you are in a corporate career and go to an office or an entrepreneur, one of the best things you can do is position yourself as an expert in your industry. On ESPN, the people who are on television talking are not necessarily there because of their experience. There are people behind the scenes that have the knowledge, but are not good at or don’t prefer public speaking. The reporters are there because they know how to hold the viewers attention and capture the audience. You like them because of their expertise, but they are not necessarily the “most experienced”.
TIPS TO GROW YOUR BRAND:
Marshawn had no background in sports prior to starting her company EDGE 3M Sports & Entertainment and no desire at first to be involved in sports entertainment. Her law firm told her that she would not get clients, or she if she did, she wouldn’t know what to do with them. She didn’t take being told that she “can’t” well, so she quit and started her company. She understood branding even though she didn’t have the sports background.
Speaking: “Focus on what you have not what you don’t have.” When you speak professionally, you enhance your brand, because experts speak,” said Evans.
Smart business owners speak for pay, not for play. Position yourself as a professional speaker. When speaking for 15-30 minutes at a conference, you will make more of an impact than attending the conference for eight hours. You have had more exposure and more of an advantage by being a key speaker.
“You increase your opportunities the more you step outside of the four walls of your office.”
When Marshawn worked at a law firm, she asked herself, “ If I keep meeting lawyers, how will I get new clients?” She thought about how she needed to diversify. Becoming a public speaker allowed her to meet more people. Speaking opens new doors you may not think about. Many people engage in “Stuck up networking” which allows you to only speak to certain people. “Openness” creates opportunities you may not know about, because you never know who you will meet and what that person may have to offer.
Writing: Writing is another way to monetize your brand. You need to be writing, and your writing needs to be published. With the advent of blogs, it is easier than ever to get published. It is easy to create a blog. However, keep in mind that image is everything. You need a creative blog. Develop content that allows people to see who you are. This is a great opportunity to create your brand image (one of your best assets) online. By doing this, you establish yourself as an expert. People look for those who have a unique perspective to offer. One of the best ways to do that is through writing.
Joint Venturing: You do not always have to create your own blog. Marshawn writes for Black Enterprise and now her work is viewed internationally. Think about joint venturing or partnering with another outlet to convey your image or concept. They already have the target audience all that’s needed is your perspective.
Working with the Media: Have you already positioned yourself as a speaker or writer? Have you demonstrated an expertise or skill set that the media wants to utilize? There is a dire need for our voices to be heard. Even if you don’t have notoriety from a show like the Apprentice, there are opportunities to let your voice be heard.
Joint Ventures with Corporate Partnerships & Sponsorships: Do you have any books you want Published or Projects you want sponsored? Having sponsorships and partnerships is a way to grow your brand astronomically.
Positioning: How do you position your proposal so people will find value to support your brand?
If they see that what you have is what they need to connect with a segment in the market they were not able to connect with previously, that opens the door for them to consider what you have to offer.
Structuring: How you structure your proposal is important. Major companies say most people do not know how to approach corporations properly so that they will support them. Have you been writing? Have you been in the media previously? These things position you. You being the face of your business is so much more attractive than your services being the face of your business. There may be a lot of people that do what you do, but it’s about how you “distinguish” yourself that sets you apart from others.
Key Components When Building Your Brand
1) Image – How you come across is important. Your image really does matter. Think about your industry and how you want to be perceived and dress backwards from there. Someone who is less knowledgeable may be “perceived” as more knowledgeable because of their image. For women, Marshawn does a seminar called Cocktails vs. Contracts. How you present yourself makes a difference in whether you will be singing a deal.
2) Intellect – When thinking about how you will position your brand, lead with SMART. There is no substitute for intelligence. Be well read. Do your research. Don’t apologize for being intelligent. It’s not about being cocky. You can not assume people know that you’re knowledgeable. They only know what you tell them.
3) Reputation and Consistency –“It’s not what you do sometimes. It’s what you do all the time,” says Evans. For example, If you go through the line at McDonalds and the fries are cold, you might blow it off and not let it bother you the first time. However, if it happens a second time, you may want to speak to the manager and begin debating on whether you want to go back to that McDonald’s. The same thing can happen with you and your business.
“Don’t be “cold fries in the marketplace”
- You never want people to question your work ethic, integrity and commitment to something.
- Don’t be the person who doesn’t double and triple check their work before presenting it.
- Statistics show how women of color are perceived in terms of ability and expectations. You can surpass that but only with consistency and reputation.
On Passion: For Marshawn, the Apprentice was an eye opener, because all the tasks are advertising related. When she was project manager, she developed an ad campaign for Lamborghini. Her team won because they delivered their presentation with more passion vs. just presenting information. The executives told them they felt what they were trying to say, without them having to say it.
A great product with a great brand is one that leaves you with a certain “lasting impression.”
Marshawn’s Advice: “There are lots of ways to get to where you want to go. If it is in your heart, you can get there. If there is a desire in your heart, it is given to you for a reason. Whatever your dreams are, inspite of skepticism in the marketplace, they can come to pass. Start where you are, use what you have, knowing what you have is already enough.”