It’s hard to believe that the holidays are just around the corner. When I think of the holiday season, other than the typical themes of hot chocolate with marshmallows, skating in Rockefeller Center, and shopping (a lot of shopping), I also think that it is a genuine opportunity to build your brand in all the best ways. You might be wondering how the two things are connected. I am glad you asked!
Regardless of religious affiliation or the holiday you celebrate, this is an excellent time for brand building. The holiday season brings with it gratitude, joy, anticipation, and, for many of us, the thoughts of things to come in the New Year. Here are some ways to leverage this sentiment and boost your brand while you (and your network) are in the spirit!
Express gratitude and thanks to those people who have made an impact in your life (and your business). Make a list of those people who have extended a kindness, offered to help you in some way, or simply shared an idea that you found valuable. You can reach out to people with a handwritten note of thanks (my personal favorite), via email, phone, or social media. No matter what method you choose, I can guarantee the recipient will appreciate and feel good that you took the time to remember how they impacted your life. I am sure there are people you have been in contact with or engaged in some way that will get that warm and fuzzy feeling because you thought of, and showed appreciation, for them- and as Maya Angelou once said, people remember how you make them feel. Expressing gratitude is a wonderful brand builder and for more on the ripple effect this can have, you might want to check out The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life by Janice Kaplan.
Maybe it’s been a minute since you have spoken to some people. I get it. Life happens. Kids, parents, spouses, and a host of myriad “issues” arise. People fall out of touch. Sometimes it’s just hard to do all of the things we have to do. Juggling a lot of priorities can cause us to become forgetful sometimes. The holiday season is a perfect reason to reconnect with people in your network and further your positive brand presence.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to people to say hello, check in on them and their families. Some people struggle, especially around the holiday season. Your outreach might be the very thing that helps someone. The purpose of getting back in touch should be to let someone know you are thinking of them; if other things come of it related to your career – great! If not, you’ve brightened someone’s day and perhaps rekindled a relationship that will benefit you both now and in the future. I am a pick-up-the-phone kind of person. To me, there’s nothing better than hearing the sound of someone’s voice. You can also send a card. Who doesn’t like to get well wishes in the mail? You will absolutely stand out since the only thing that comes in the mail anymore is what? Well, junk mail! Want to connect on a deeper level? Here’s a book that can be beneficial: Friend of a Friend…: Understanding the Hidden Networks That Can Transform Your Life and Your Career by David Burkus.
The holidays are known for parties and gifts! “Gifting” allows you to build and manage a memorable brand. I know people who give the same gift each year to friends and loved ones. They aren’t lazy. It’s quite the contrary. My friend knows that people wait for the treat she gives. And she gives it every year. Do people remember her? You bet they do. It’s not how much money you spend on the gifts that you’re giving. Rather, it’s the thought you put into each gift.
Some years ago, (ok. maybe it’s more than “some” years, but whatever) I worked for someone who spent A LOT of money on gifts for her staff. Were the gifts lovely? Yes, yes, they were. However, there’s a hitch: the gifts were impersonal – expensive and impersonal. She would purchase things for people with no thought about them personally. One would think that she might have a bit more insight into the tastes of the people who she worked with day after day. Alas, no. The gifts were received pleasantly enough, but you know about office gossip. I won’t say any more about that except that the boss didn’t have the best personal brand. This was just one of the reasons. Most people don't want lots of money spent on them; they just want you to think about them.
Customizing gifts is a wonderful way to express to someone that you care about them. It makes them feel special and demonstrates thoughtfulness. As we’ve firmly established, people remember what makes them feel good. This is a great way to build your brand in a meaningful way while also bringing joy to someone else. Here’s some help to get you started: The Art of Gift Giving, by Shereen Elise Noon.
I cannot say enough about volunteering. There are so many things that come from volunteering. Not only do you get to meet new people, build relationships, and demonstrate your professionalism and tenacity, BUT you also get the incredible added benefit of helping others! What is better than that? Volunteering improves your skills, exposes you to new people and situations, and helps strengthen your worldview. When you volunteer, you can build your network while helping others. As you get involved, people will get to know you and think of you for projects and opportunities where you can contribute.
Each year during the holiday season, my temple runs a Thanksgiving meal with a church in the area. Hundreds of people come to this, many of whom are from underserved communities. Since moving to South Florida, I have volunteered at this event, and I cannot tell you how much joy it brings me. Of course, COVID changed this for the time being. Many people came together to plan the event, serve food, and execute activities for children. It was an amazing way to connect with the community, meet new people, and build relationships, all in the spirit of giving back.
The trusted relationships that you can cultivate will serve as the cornerstone of each business and personal interaction you have. You’re growing your brand with each interaction! If you’re looking to get involved but don’t know where to begin: Make a Difference: America's Guide to Volunteering and Community Service by Arthur Blaustein. Or just check out Abby’s latest article here on The Daily Drip for great local organizations to get involved in this holiday season!
There are so many ways to create a meaningful and memorable brand and positively position you in the minds of others. Your brand will evolve over time and serve you well. Consistency and authenticity are the keys to success!