Networking Tips: How to Give a Good Referral

Big Hug or Big Shrug?

I’m so honored when a networking contact refers me to someone. Just want to give them a big hug to thank them for thinking of me and, in some cases, steering some sales opportunities my way.

But for some referrals, I hate to say that I really don’t want them. Really, I don’t. And it’s not that I don’t want referrals. I just don’t want bad referrals that will only waste my time, as well as possibly ruin my reputation and that of the referring party.

So what is a good referral?
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What is a Referral?

Many networking groups and associations differentiate between “leads” and “referrals.”

A lead is considered an unsubstantiated opportunity that merely points out potential for another. For example, someone notices that a new restaurant is opening and he alerts a marketing consultant in his network of the new restaurant. Typically, no personal introductions are made. The person who receives the lead often pursues it blindly. This is one step up from a cold call. As well, the person passing the lead may not even have permission to share any information with the salesperson. Later, we’ll discuss why that’s a problem, too.

A referral is considered a genuine, identified sales opportunity where someone knows of a current and real need of a friend, family member or colleague that could be handled by a networking partner. In these cases, the two parties are introduced to each other, identifying the need to be addressed. Consent to introduce is a key element of these introductions and is the first element in the following formula for more successful referrals.
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Have you ever received a bad referral?

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No! Keep ’em coming!

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The C.A.R.E. Formula for a Good Referral

Giving a referral is a sign that you care about the people you are referring to each other. But a referral must meet some criteria in order to be of value to everyone. So here is a quick formula to test a potential referral opportunity BEFORE you engage anyone.

Using C.A.R.E. as an acronym, here are the elements of a good referral:

“C” is for Consent. Before you blindly blast off an email or social media connection to two potential referral connections, get consent from both. For example, say that you know Referral Partner A would be an excellent supplier or resource for Referral Partner B. Before you email contact info to either partner, you’ll want to ask both separately and privately if they are interested in connecting. If both agree, then a connection is warranted. Additionally, in today’s era of concern over data privacy and sharing of personal information, this aspect of sharing referrals is critical and cannot be ignored!

You might be thinking, “Why wouldn’t Partner A be interested in connecting with Partner B as a potential customer?” Seriously, I have received innumerable forced referrals over the years that were totally inappropriate potential clients for me. These junk referrals not only wasted my time, but had the potential to harm my reputation since I was seen as someone who was unable to serve the prospective Partner B customer’s needs. As well, Partner B could peg the person who made the referral as someone who doesn’t have a competent network and/or who can’t professionally evaluate sales opportunities. Which brings us to the next element in the formula…

“A” is for Actual. Sometimes people want to impress either the person they’re referring or the person who will receive the referral. So they connect colleagues in their network, regardless of whether an actual opportunity exists or not. Can these lead to sales at some point in the future? Sure, it’s possible. But sometimes it’s a long shot. If no immediate or imminent need exists, don’t personally connect the parties.

“R” is for Relevant. Just as with actual need, a referral must be relevant for both parties. For example, I am a self publishing coach for business books. So inquiries for people who are looking for an author agent for fiction are not relevant to me, even though both I and the author agent work with authors on books. Make sure that you understand both the needs of your friends or colleagues and the source you are referring to them.

“E” is for Exit and Evaluate. Once you have properly introduced two parties, it’s usually best for you to exit the transaction picture and let them explore the potential opportunity themselves. However, it doesn’t hurt to follow up and evaluate whether the referral was a success, after a sufficient amount of time has passed for the type of business and people you are referring. You do want to know whether you should refer these people to others in the future. As well, you want to get an idea if your referral radar is working properly. If it isn’t, you’ll want to get to know your network a whole lot better!
Checklist for a Good Referral

Here’s a checklist of items that make up a good referral. IMPORTANT: When contacting each party for the referral, do NOT reveal either party’s name or info until you receive permission privately from each one.

Name of person(s) being referred.
Preferred method of contact for all parties (email, phone, social media, etc.).
Contact info for preferred method.
Best time to reach (if known).
Exact product or service of interest and/or other reason for contact.
Best way to schedule appointment (if known).
Budget for purchase (if applicable and known).

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Disclaimer: Both the publisher and author have used their best efforts in preparation of this information. No representations or warranties for its contents, either expressed or implied, are offered or allowed and both parties disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for your particular purpose. The advice and strategies presented herein may not be suitable for you, your situation or business. Consult with a professional advisor where and when appropriate. Neither the publisher nor author shall be liable for any loss of profit or any other damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential or punitive, arising from or relating to your reliance on this information.

Should Distressed Companies Retrench, Restructure, Reorganize, Turnaround – or All of the Above?

Companies that become financially distressed often turn to business turnaround consultants for expert advice, others try to fix things on their own. Understanding the different terms that apply can help you determine which is the best course of action for your business.
What is a distressed company (or financially distressed company)?

Investopedia defines a company as being in financial distress when they struggle or become unable to meet financial obligations, which could include payments to lenders, investors, landlords, vendors, suppliers and even employees, in the case of employee payroll and benefits expenses.

Companies in financial distress can take measures to reduce expenses, increase revenues, renegotiate financial obligations and so on. In other cases, financial distress is a temporary condition which can be remedied with a short term business loan or (as in the case of a payroll shortage) by using a factoring payroll loan to ensure cash reserves are adequate to cover obligations during a cyclical or seasonal cash flow lull.

What made the difference was a strong turnaround plan, dedicated people and a firm commitment from company leaders.
— Anne M. Mulcahy, Xerox Corporation
What is a business turnaround strategy?

A business turnaround strategy is a plan that is tailored to the unique challenges and needs of a distressed company, often written by or with the assistance of a business turnaround consultant, and agreed-to by company leadership that details the measures that will be taken to reduce or eliminate financial distress.

A business turnaround strategy – or business turnaround plan – may encompass a few or many organizational elements, but will nearly always include:

An executive narrative listing the specific objectives, company and market place description, estimates of market potential, company expertise and talent, what changes will occur, financial projects, how much capital will be needed and the anticipated return on investment
A business summary which describes the industry, the company’s products or services and target markets, the company history, roles of key business leaders, explanation of what caused financial distress and short and long term goals of the company
A marketplace analysis which describes current market demand, potential to be profitable, current customer base, potential new customers, current marketing and advertising, and competitor analysis (often presented as a matrix using SWOT analysis)
A positioning statement including brand, product and service differentials, unique selling propositions, proposed marketing and advertising strategies and tactics
A business change proposal which describes facility, equipment and staff capabilities and needs, and what needs to be changed to ensure that company objectives, short and long term goals will be achieved

It’s worth noting that the business turnaround strategy looks a lot like a traditional business or marketing plan; however, remember that it’s just as likely that as much or more effort will be made to reduce and eliminate operational costs and inefficiencies as will be directed toward adding new products or services or expanding marketing and advertising costs.

In other words, while a traditional business plan is often laid out to describe how a company will be expanding their marketing and advertising and adding new products and services, in a business turnaround plan, a large part of the effort will go toward eliminating goods or services which are not (or cannot be made to be) profitable, reducing personnel, reducing the cost of goods sold, eliminating purchase of supplies that aren’t necessary to operations, and so on.
What is a business turnaround consultant (or business turnaround expert)?

Business turnaround consultants are individuals (or companies) with expertise in business analysis and turnaround tactics that can help a company reduce or eliminate financial distress. They are usually hired by business leaders, but sometimes are called in by a company’s board of directors or key investors. In fact, one of the first priorities for a business turnaround consultant is to ensure that company leaders are committed to the process and willing to enact recommended changes. Without the support of the business’s owner, CEO and management, turnaround efforts are not likely to be embraced, take root and produce the results desired.
What is retrenchment (or a business retrenchment strategy)?

Turnaround business consultants may recommend a retrenchment strategy, which is in effect any strategy that helps a business cut expenses by reducing its size or diversity, such as eliminating or selling off non-core divisions. By eliminating less profitable aspects of the business, it can be stabilized and focus on profit centers within the business that can help it regain financial footing and grow.
What is restructuring?

Another strategy that business turnaround experts might recommend is business restructuring. While retrenchment refers to changes that affect the size or diversity of a business, restructuring refers to strategies like debt consolidation or making significant modifications to a company’s operations (such as selling off assets) or corporate structure (such as cutting payroll expenses).
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What is reorganization?

Business reorganization involves making changes to a company’s internal makeup, such as reducing the number of managers within a company by reorganizing its departments, changing the leadership hierarchy, identifying work which could be outsourced to save money, or consolidating departments that have overlapping or closely related responsibilities. A business reorganization is often performed specifically in order to cut payroll costs and related expenses, like benefits premiums, payroll taxes, workers compensation fees, etc.

Understanding the tactics that can be used at a micro level to make small adjustments to cut costs, improve efficiency, speed up cash flow and gain market share may even preclude the need for a business to deploy solutions on a large – and often public – stage.

Take these ideas into account the next time you meet with your company’s managers or board of directors for the purposes of drafting or revising your organization’s long range plan. The corrective actions that might apply when a business experiences severe financial distress may sound drastic, but in reality, many business leaders make decisions like these on a smaller scale throughout the life of their business.

Why Do Businesses Need A Ppc Advertising Firm

No, by no means is it imperative. Just that having it on board as an ally makes things a little easier and simpler to handle. Not that the PPC Advertising Firm you hire makes your business as big as that of Microsoft, just that the leverage it provides over the web makes life easier for you and for the monetary aspects you harbor. Pay per Click management is a process you ought to cherish having on board, as your account books suddenly make a lot of noise all of a sudden.

In times when competition becomes pretty overwhelming to handle, good enough to choke any business, PPC Advertising services have become mandatory. They provide visibility. They make the business popular. They drive traffic to a website. Most importantly, they help it make a lot of MONEY!

Yes, it is true. That is the reason why that last word has been highlighted so flamboyantly. Money is the driving factor behind setting up a business enterprise and it is this very factor which is accomplished through Pay per Click Management Services.

The deal is very simple. The vendor takes up the project. Research begins on all the important keywords that can potentially be made a part of the campaign. The PPC Advertising completes its first stage when the vendor finalizes the final keywords out of which one or two of them become an integral part of the hyperlink. The final one (ones) is placed right in the middle of the hyperlink, which in turn is placed at the top of the search engine rankings chart. This is a strategic move to ensure the link is clearly visible to the end user at the top.

A simple click on the link solves the purpose behind the implementation of the Pay per Click Management campaign. With every bona fide click, the business makes money. The campaign goes on for a defined period of time and once its tenure ends, the vendor helps the client count all the money that has come in and the entire account book is scanned for a final faultless calculation.

Starts ups need visibility to make money and generate that initial capital to survive. Mid caps need that money to expand business operations. Thriving organizations need that exposure to become world known companies. Only one commonality binds all three categories. They all need a positioning where people get to know them well and are able to identify with what they actually are.

This is the most tried and tested way of making money online in recent times. Companies in every part of the World use this campaign to fetch work for their businesses. So famous it has become with time that it is the first thing to come to anyone’s mind whilst contemplating business expansion.

The reasons mentioned above are good enough to understand why businesses need PPC Campaigns, and most importantly the services of a good PPC Advertising Firm. The think tank ultimately, is the party responsible which orchestrates everything from scratch to seal.

Email Marketing Newsletter Free Significant Roadmap

If your major interest is information related to email marketing newsletter or any other such as Postcards, Email Marketing Asp, Online Email Marketing Software or Email Marketing Best Practices, this article can prove useful.

Define your topic of interest. What do you like to talk to people about? What do you like to learn more about? What do you like that other people like? What types of other people like what you like? Answering these questions will lead you to powerfully target email promotion. Targeted email promotion will bring you the highest and most rapid results.

Confirm and then re-confirm email addresses. You should come up with a system for reconfirming your regular subscribers email addresses over time so you don’t lose anyone.

The one thing to keep in mind here is that you MUST notify users that by submitting their business cards, they are agreeing to receive email communication from you. This can be as simple as adding a sign to the business card drop-off box saying: “We will send you an email to notify you if you have won. We may also send you periodical emails with special offers and announcements. If you do not wish to receive emails from us, please write ‘No Email’ on your business card.”

Don’t forget that you are only a step away from getting more information about email marketing newsletter or such related information by searching the search engines online. Google.com alone can give you more than enough results when you search for email marketing newsletter.

If you want people to be reminded about you or your company, email promotion is the best solution to do. You can actually update your customers about your products, and you will have the chance of getting sales with the simple clicking of the send button your email.

Embed opt-in links in body copy. Figure out the WebPages your visitors are most interested in, and then find a way to embed a link to your email newsletter in the body copy on the page. A good example is this article you’re reading, where at least one mentions of “our email newsletter” could be a link to your newsletter sign-up page. You’ll find mine at www.sharpecopy.com.

Identify target- Identify the target of the email promotion program. Identifying the target will assist you assist you to create a targeted email promotion program.

It might interest you to know that lots of folks searching for email marketing newsletter also got information related to another Targeted Email Advertising, Marketing Funds, and even Email Marketing Consulting here with ease.

Internet Marketing Consultancy Services – Your Ready Marketing Help

In the past few years there have been several changes in the virtual market place. People turn to internet to find the products and services of their choice. You need a well designed web site to do any business. If you are looking for an improvement of your business by creating a web presence, you can hire the internet marketing and consultancy services for specialized expertise in web development and for long term benefits. It is very important for you to find and make an investment in internet marketing and consultancy services that can provide custom made services to meet your business needs.

The expert advice and assistance of a consultant is necessary right from day one for the success of your business. The internet marketing and consultancy services will find out where the power of the company resides and create a niche market for it. A professional marketing consultant will first analyze the existing internet marketing skills, identify strengths and weaknesses of the business and then finally prepare a plan for strengthening the marketing skills especially in areas where improvements are required.

The internet marketing consultant will contact the clients of the business who vary with each other in the level of knowledge about internet marketing and business. Internet marketing and consultancy services also offer guidance on basic business matters and internet marketing concepts. The internet marketing consultants provide services relating to research, internet marketing management and planning of marketing campaigns.

Internet marketing consultants normally offer full-service consultations or target on particular internet marketing areas in the field of their expertise. Some of the areas in which internet marketing consultants offer their services include market research, search engine optimization, marketing plans, viral marketing, email marketing, pay-per-click campaign, link campaign, media campaign, web hosting, website development, preparation of business plans, newsletter publishing, ezine advertising, expert articles, copy writing, training & education, internet marketing books publication and coaching services.

An overall marketing strategy, with the help of specialized consultancy services having low overheads, will save your money and build your business. Even a minor improvement effected by the internet marketing and consultancy services can impact a huge difference in the profits and make you to dominate the market.

Reasons to Hire a Small Business Marketing Consultant

Many business owners operate under the false assumption that marketing consultants are only affordable for larger companies. In truth, there are many benefits to hiring a small business marketing consultant, as outlined below.

What Marketing Consultants Do

First, here’s a look at just what a consultant does for organizations:

Overall company evaluation. It’s hard for new business owners to evaluate their young organizations. A consultant can pull from years of business experience to assess the weaknesses and strengths of a fledgling business.

Strategic planning. Consultants must have:

1. A strong educational record in business.

2. Extensive experience as a business leader.

3. Exceptional understanding of how business trends work.

These features allow marketing planners to provide suggestions on how a business can succeed. After learning about an organization and identifying major opportunities and obstacles, a small business marketing consultant should be able to create a strategic plan to lead the firm to success.

Marketing design. Chances are your small business marketing consultant can write excellent ad copy to draw in new customers. Beyond designing small business marketing strategies, consultants can construct complete marketing campaigns. From graphic design to copywriting and editing, a small business consultant can wear many different hats while helping your business succeed.

Project and process management. The consulting lifestyle appeals to many leaders in the corporate world. Indeed, most small business consultants are top business performers who have decided to shift to a different way of life. This means consultants usually have project management and process design skills, which they can employ to improve your business’s performance.

How Small Companies Benefit

Let’s explore the benefits of hiring such consultants:

A fresh perspective. Contracting with a consultant as one of your marketing strategies will bring you an unbiased, fresh perspective. Internal conflicts and ongoing office politics can limit one’s vision. Outside consultants are free of preconceived ideas about your business, so they can provide a fresh perspective.

High-quality help. As mentioned earlier, most business consultants have transitioned to consultancy from a star-studded business career. In other words, you’ll likely receive top-shelf advice from your consultant – and for less than the cost of a single employee.

Peace of mind. Partnering with a marketing contractor can help you feel calm and confident about the future of your business. With peace of mind, you can better focus on your organization’s core offerings and drawing in new business.

Cost and time efficiency. You get great bang for your buck when you hire a marketing contactor. Since most marketing strategy planning consultants charge hourly rates, you avoid paying employee-related taxes by hiring them. Moreover, consultants are experienced, versatile professionals capable of handling everything from social media to long-term strategic planning. Rather than bringing in a new crew of writers, marketers, project managers and designers, you can pay a trusted advisor on an as-needed basis. Hiring a small business marketing consultant maximizes cost-efficiency.

Clearly, there are multiple benefits to partnering with a small business marketing consultant. From creating comprehensive small business marketing strategies to performing overall business check-ups, marketing consultants can help your company shine.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6724707

Why Businesses Need Marketing Consultants Even During a Recession

Smart businesses know that clever and effective marketing is the key to success during both good and bad economic times. The problem is that many businesses are finding it hard to adapt their marketing strategies to today’s economic climate.

This is not surprising as successful marketing especially in a recession requires detailed marketing knowledge and experience that many businesses don’t have. Investing in good marketing consultants can help businesses reconnect with their customers or clients and promote their products/services more effectively.

This article provides a brief overview covering the following:
o What marketing consultants are
o What can businesses expect from a marketing consultant
o How they can help businesses during a recession
o What to look for when choosing a marketing consultant

What are Marketing Consultants?

A marketing consultant is a trained professional or company who can assist a business or organisation in creating and implementing effective marketing strategies to promote their products or services.

A trained marketing consultant should be able to view things from the target audience’s perspective including how they think and react to a business’s products or services.

Good marketing consultants are certainly worth the investment since they can handle all of a business’s marketing requirements leaving the client free to focus on other important business needs.

Whether a business is just starting up or has been trading for some time an experienced consultant can assist them in investing their marketing budgets wisely and creating strategies that working both in the short and long term to meet and in some cases exceed their expectations.

So what should you expect from your marketing consultant?

A good marketing consultant should:
o be experts in a number of marketing techniques and strategies
o provide creative, fresh and successful marketing strategies that are tailored to the businesses goals and target audiences
o assess current marketing strategies, identifying problems and suitable solutions
o handle any issues or problems that may arise during a recommended marketing campaign quickly and efficiently
o collate and analysis marketing data including providing campaign reports
o be in regular communication with the client being able to listen as well as make suggestions

How can Marketing Consultants can help businesses during a recession?

Recession is a difficult time for business suddenly customers aren’t as willing to part with their money as they used to be, plus existing marketing campaigns may have become much less effective.

What is often needed is a fresh approach, but where to start? No business wants to start risking their marketing budgets testing different strategies until they find the ones that work. What they need is someone who has the expertise to access the current situation and experience to suggest proven marketing solutions.

This is where a good marketing consultant or company can really help, finding ways to make marketing budgets stretch further and work more effectively to improve business ROI.
Yes hiring marketing consultants is an addition cost that needs to be carefully considered, but surviving a recession is not just about cutting costs it’s about using resources wisely. Investing in a consultant can help businesses review their current marketing identifying areas where resources could be saved and where existing or extra resources should be placed for maximum results.

What should I look for in a marketing consultant?

Hiring a marketing consultant can bring a business valuable expertise and a fresh successful approach to their marketing efforts; however, as with any industry it’s important to pick the right consultant for the job.

The following are a few points to consider when selecting a marketing consultant or firm:
o Recommendations – Make sure the consultant or firm can provide client recommendations. Ask for a list of current clients who can be contacted for references.
o Compare – It’s worth getting in contact with several different consultants and comparing them not only on price, but also experience and service. The right consultant is not always the cheapest or most expensive, but often the most experienced.
o Research – Do some independent research on marketing consultants. Businesses can use the internet to research individual consultants or companies and check if there are any complaints or issues they need to be aware of. Even the best companies may have disputes from time to time so if there are complaints businesses should try to find out more about them and how they were resolved.
o Rapport – It’s important to have a good working relationship with your marketing consultant. You want someone who will listen to you and communicate on a regular basis. If you have doubts about their ability to communicate with you then its best to look for another consultant.
o Creativity – Part of the job of a marketing consultant will be to come up with fresh new ideas and strategies and this requires creativity. If the consultant or firm don’t seem very creative or lacking in ideas you need to look elsewhere.
o Multiple Strategies – Never put rely on just one marketing strategy. Look for consultants who will offer a number of carefully planned strategies that can be put to the test and provide clear results in both the short and long term.

No one can be an expert on everything and in business it’s important to recognise an individual’s strengths and weaknesses and use them accordingly. Marketing is a specialist field and it is unlikely that most businesses will have individuals with all the expertise needed in this area so hiring a marketing consultant or firm provides an excellent solution.

However, it’s important for businesses to approach hiring a marketing consultant carefully, taking the time to find the right consultant for them to ensure their business is successful not only today, but long into the future.

Recession is a difficult time for everyone, but by spending marketing resources wisely and getting the right expert help many businesses can actually become stronger and more successful.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2417956

immersive brand experiences

As technology intensifies and competition proliferates, customers are demanding more bespoke and engaging interactions to give a brand the attention it warrants.
Interactivity vs immersion

Interactivity is a two-way process involving the input of one party and response of the other in an ongoing manner. If this is how we define interactivity, then watching an advertisement on the internet or television is not interactive because there is no feedback loop involving the viewer’s reactions. Clicking a button is only a one-way action. Online does not necessarily mean interactive. An interactive experience must be thought of as a conversation.

Involving the customer in an experience creates an emotional connection for him. If the customer is acting and not just in listening mode, there is a far greater chance that he is open to a personal experience. co.za\our-offering\experiential\ An immersive brand experience is what is needed. These experiences often involve the customer using one or more of the five senses and often take the customer on an imaginative journey.

Winning experiences

A compelling example was Time Portal, the Stella Artois experience at Wimbledon this year where customers were taken into a time warp back to 1877 (the year of the first Wimbledon tournament) and guided through parts of London by a hologram of the championship’s first winner Spencer Gore. It ended in a bar where live tennis was screened and, naturally, Stella Artois beer was sold.

Stella Artois enjoyed a 25% year-on-year increase in sales of limited edition Wimbledon-branded beer. This was attributed to a combination of sponsorship and brand activity, including this Time Portal event.

Cadbury promoted its product, Dairy Milk Bubbly, by creating an imaginary chocolate land called Joyville, where all of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate is made.

Joyville, obviously inspired by Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, cost £6 million included a commercial showing all the factory workers at Joyville (so named because “each bubble in this aerated chocolate contains a tiny piece of real joy”.) working hard to create the Dairy Milk Bubbly. The highlight of the campaign is an actual musical chocolate fountain at a mall in London and an interactive website where visitors can explore Joyville and learn more about the chocolate.

Engage your audience now

The explosion of social media along with its interactive feedback opens up new avenues to marketers at relatively low cost. But taking the interactive experience to the next level – immersion – is where expert marketing consultants are required. Live experiential marketing campaigns – although often breathtaking – can be costly and present some logistical issues.

Immersive brand experiences allow customers to build and expect a relationship with your business, instead of just having touchpoints. Get in touch to find out how Tradeway can help you to build a personal relationship with potential clients though immersive brand experiences.

V&A Waterfront appoints Openfield as commercial sponsorship agency

A new venture begins for Openfield Sponsorship Marketing Consultants who have been appointed as the commercial sponsorship agents for the V&A Waterfront, the South African destination that welcomes millions of local and international visitors annually. The appointment was made in December 2012.
V&A Waterfront appoints Openfield as commercial sponsorship agency
Jo Ramsay, Head of Strategy and Measurement at Openfield commented: “The V&A Waterfront is an iconic South African destination and we are proud to have been appointed to assist them in securing select, like-minded brands as strategic partners. The main purpose of these partnerships is to provide an enhanced consumer experience for visitors to the venue.”

V&A Waterfront appoints Openfield as commercial sponsorship agency
The commercial partners’ programme being developed by Openfield will incorporate global best practice and will focus on creating mutually beneficial relationships between the V&A Waterfront and premium brands. Strategic partners will be afforded the opportunity to engage with the 23 million visitors that the venue attracts annually.

Executive Manager, Strategic Marketing, Chantelle Cole of the V&A Waterfront commented: “We are in the business of providing extraordinary experiences that leave lasting memories. One of the ways we do this is through events, entertainment and activations. We look forward to working with Openfield in finding the right long-term partners to work with us, thereby creating new platforms that will deepen the experience and in turn the connection with our visitors.

Shaping a professional personal brand

Individuals looking for an edge in today’s connected and fast-paced working environment can use personal branding strategies to market themselves more effectively to prospective employers and clients.
Image via
Image via 123RF
Red & Yellow is offering a new course that shows individuals how to take charge of their personal brands, so they can promote and position themselves in a manner that distinguishes them in a crowded job market. “Personal branding is about promoting yourself and your career in much the same way as companies market their brands,” says Carla Potgieter, knowledge officer at Red & Yellow.

The concept of a personal brand, however, is not applicable only to marketing consultants or self-anointed social media gurus. Every working professional today has a personal brand – a professional image that reflects perceptions and understandings of his or her career and professional personality – whether he or she decides to shape it consciously or not.

“The term Google CV refers to the image that your online footprint creates of your character, work and career. Most people will do a Google search to see what social media, your personal web sites and other online spaces reveal about you, before they will hire you or engage you as a consultant.”

Four-week course

The Personal Branding course, which runs for four weeks, will give students the tools to take charge of how they present themselves online – and off. The first step is to understand what sets your ‘product’ (your skills, personality, qualifications, experience and so on) apart in the market.

From there, you can consider how to position yourself in the market in a manner that will create a positive, unique impression on prospective employers or clients. It might be worth ‘auditing’ your brand by looking critically at the image your online presence projects and considering how it aligns with the brand you would like to build for yourself.

The next step is to think about how you will portray your brand effectively and appropriately in the relevant spaces, for example on social media platforms, in interviews, on your personal web site, or even just in the CV you present and the emails that you write.

You should think especially carefully about how you project yourself in social media. An off-the-cuff remark made in anger or jest can deal massive, instant damage to your career, as Justine Sacco can attest, or haunt you years later, as Trevor Noah recently found out.

Portraying your true value

It is important to note that personal branding should be authentic. You should sell yourself on your unique positive attributes, experience and qualifications, but you should not stray away from your core personal or professional values or make promises you cannot keep.

Personal branding is not about creating a false appearance, but rather about bringing your true value to the fore. It can help you achieve your career goals, but it cannot make you into something you are not. However, applied wisely, personal branding can help you chart a course for your career and further your career goals.

Digital skills are essential for anyone who wants to build a strong personal brand because social media and the Web today play such an important role in shaping our professional reputations and personal brands. You need to know how to build and monitor your brand using the many platforms and tools the digital world has to offer, she adds. What is more, with digital skills in such short supply, a great mastery of digital tools and practices can be a valuable attribute to add to your own personal brand.