“Let’s face it, you’re a rock star, in a company full of rock stars. How do you differentiate yourself?”
My friend received this feedback a few years ago from his Director and it left him speechless. You more than likely work for one of these amazing companies, and it’s littered with Grade A+ talent at all levels of the organization, so you need to find a way to differentiate yourself. Seldom does the person that works the hardest, gets the promotion. That would be the fair thing to do, and because life isn’t fair, it simply doesn’t happen. So, you have to do something drastic to differentiate yourself. Like Steve Jobs said, “You can’t look at the competition and say you’re going to do it better. You have to look at the competition and say you’re going to do it differently.” But how? You have to walk less, and talk more.
Don’t forget to turn off the lights before you leave
It goes against everything you were taught, and immediately 90%+ of my audience logged off, but that’s ok, because in order to be in the 10% you have to do what the other 90% are unwilling to do; talk more. Sharing your journey while simultaneously executing is the next level. Just to clarify, nothing replaces putting in the work, you’re just adding another dynamic to it.
We are now part of a new world – The Digital World. If people don’t see, hear, or pay attention to what you, your brand, or your company is doing, it simply doesn’t exist. Without content, you don’t exist. Period. Like my good friend Gary Vaynerchuk says, we day trade attention and content is the new form of advertising. Content is your currency, and it’s the key to differentiating you from the 10K+ other people in your organization. You have to create and document your journey regularly, you have to put out pictures and video, and you have to do interviews. If you do it correctly, it can drive immense value for yourself, your organization, and will get you noticed.
First, you have to understand the value of ‘professional equity’ and why it’s important. You graduated from your alma mater in 20_ _, and your degree is more than likely driving more value for you now, than it was then. The school has moved up in ranking, become more prestigious, attracted some world class professors, and overall has increased the equity of your degree by multiples. The same can be applied to your workplace. I know people that are now enjoying the sweet fruits of professional equity for a company that struck it big, years after they already departed.
But, it’s easy to see how your company is building your professional equity, but what are you doing to build your company’s equity? For example, I like to think about Bozoma Saint John, Sheryl Sandberg, Steve Canal, and Stacy La (representing Uber, Facebook, MillerCoors, & Clover Health respectively). Each of these wonderful people are building their company’s equity, driving personal value-add, creating a local face to their Global Brands, and growing their global awareness. So, what is that contribution worth to the organization? It’s hard to quantify that level of value because it’s ultimately priceless.
Content creation comes in so many forms, but let’s take a brief look at two of the most powerful mediums; video and audio. I’m going to assume that you are already putting in the work and are going to take the necessary steps to ensure your actions are aligned with the organization (no rogue employees). So, if you’re attending a conference or speaking at one, you should document that journey on your phone, step by step, and share it with the community. Literally, take out your phone and discuss what you’re doing and how you’re feeling. Be your natural and wonderful self. It will become more second nature the more you do it, and you will be surprised how much your audience will grow. You can take it one step further, and have your company capture your talk/journey and turn it into short form content pieces that will drive continued conversations around the topic. They can then promote those pieces to drive larger awareness around your story and the company’s services in a more authentic and impactful way than a typical commercial. On the other side of the spectrum is audio and podcasts. It’s a great medium to discuss company initiatives casually, while inspiring the future business leaders of the world that are listening. Those audio segments can then be cut and repurposed across social in a range of dynamic ways to extend its reach and life cycle. So, what’s the point?
Albert Einstein is said to have called “the power of compounding interest the most powerful force in the universe,” so you can’t overlook the power of Compound Awareness. The larger your audience grows, the more influential you will become in your personal and professional circle. This exposure simply creates new opportunities for yourself and your company, and that’s a great thing. The last time I checked, there is an immense amount of value awarded to people, brands, magazines, advertisers, networks, social influencers, etc. that can draw large audiences and exposure. For example, my company is conducting our 2nd Fundraising Round on WeFunder.com/EnBev and the more people that are aware of our efforts, the more successful we will be in our campaign. These articles and interviews have expanded my network exponentially, and it will only increase with each passing year. Although we covered this topic briefly, I hope that it has inspired you to take that first step in talking, inspiring, and engaging more with people in your everyday life, because your story, matters.