When big brands want to create a bigger footprint, impact or enter a new market, one of the things they do is attach themselves to a bigger brand. It's called a strategic brand alliance. And you can do the same thing.
Case in point: Think about Madonna back in the day. Remember back in the 80s when her star was on the rise? She was a household name and enjoyed plenty of fame, fortune and money. But she really wanted a movie career. So what's a huge music star to do? How about marry a big movie star like Sean Penn? While she may or may not have consciously sought-out a movie star, it certainly couldn't hurt, right?
In other words, Madonna aligned herself with a brand in the industry she wanted to be a part of. She started hanging out with the movers and shakers in that industry and networking there. (Yes, even movie stars network!)
I realize this example is a bit outrageous. And I'm not suggesting that you drop your significant other to seek out someone else for the benefit of your business. I am suggesting that you can elevate your brand by associating with businesses and people who have stronger brands and more name recognition than you. It's a common business practice that many small business owners tend overlook.
There are many reasons why elevating your business in this way is a smart use of your energy. One of the biggest is that it's a way to increase your credibility almost instantly. Being aligned with well-known companies makes you more attractive to media, potential clients, sponsors, business partners and conference planners.
Here are a few ways that you take action today and use this concept to increase your own brand:
Go on a "Rolodex treasure hunt." Who do you already know who is very well-respected in your industry? Look in your Outlook contacts and social media contacts. Approaching a warm or hot lead is much easier than going in cold. This can be someone in your local community or someone known by society at large.
Brainstorm ways you can work with bigger brands. Great ideas are interviewing people on the phone or Skype video, recording it and sending the recording out to your list. Of course you can do this live as well, but it is a good idea to record the interview so you can use it later.
Volunteer to help. For example, many people travel around the world to participate in conferences. Ask if there are ways you can volunteer so you can meet and network with them. The bonus is that you can experience first-hand the "behind the scenes" approaches bigger brands use for their conferences.
Attend other conferences that big names attend. Seek out specific people to meet. Take your photo with the movers and shakers. Start to build a relationship with them.
Ask for testimonials or endorsements from someone with more name recognition than you. Many well-known people have decided that to remain highly visible, they will give testimonials. Understand that they will probably not give you a direct plug unless they know your work intimately, but they may be willing to testify to the importance of the kind of work you do.
Ask for an introduction to someone specific. Look at their contacts in social media and see who they know. Social media makes it easy these days to see who people know.
The bottom line: Leverage your brand by finding ways to be associated with others with bigger brands than you. Then rinse and repeat.
© 2011 Meredith Liepelt, Rich Life Marketing
This article was written by Meredith Liepelt. To get more great advice from Women's Toolbox Media Diva Meredith Liepelt , visit her website at: www.RichLifeMarketing.com