Branding is such a big topic that every week I’m spoilt for choice. This time, though, I’d like to talk about opportunities and how branding yourself has to do with them.
In the latest issue of Inc Magazine (April 14) I was intrigued by an article on The 8 best industries for starting a business. And surprise surprise… one is translation.
The bottom line, as the piece says is that by 2018, the industry will grow by $39 billion (Forbes in Spanish also mentioned interpreters and translators as one of the businesses of the future – yay!)
With 6,700 languages on the planet and an increasing demand for tourism and medical services in other languages… well it’s all about opportunities.
So, how does this link to branding?
As we are master of words (both written and spoken) we should focus on the opportunities they give us to express ourselves better. And this can be done by creating a tangible experience for your potential customers.
As Kelly O’Keefe, professor of brand management and innovation at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Brandcenter advertising school, says:
[…] in the ’90s advertising was a tool to build brands, working with connecting them to short messages or images. But it stopped working. If Consumers feel like they’ve been lied to, they discount the message and look for deeper signals.
A brand voice is important but nowadays it’s also about the brand behavior and the touch – the engagement to the client base. When brands engage the public – think of the pop-up shop that Chanel envisaged in 2012 for the boutique in the Covent Garden Piazza that ended up being so successful that was turned into a permanent shop (to my delight!) – the client can walk away with an experience, that can then be shared in person by telling others or via social media, email, phone. This makes them our new and most powerful advertising tool!
How can you leverage on this opportunity as a freelancer?
Of course we need to think on a much smaller scale and focusing on the type of target clients we have but they resources are many:
- tell a story ––> in every email you send to prospect clients, try to engage them in a success story related to their need and what you could help them achieve. Examples are great and people can relate on a personal level.
- offer something that not every one is getting —> it does not have to be a discount but a special feature your client can use like access to a link or an article you’ve written, something you’ve published – maybe a booklet you’ve translated and that can be relevant to their business – or a book you’re writing so they will feel unique and cared for. This can be done via QR codes on your email for instance that lead your reader to exclusive content or, why not, even discounts if that rocks your boat (or theirs).
- the ‘usual’ cards + extras (I have cards and cups for example) —> esp. with existing clients that already appreciate your work. Make yourself remembered and visible in their eyes. Little details and some kindness do work well when they are paired with the good quality of your work.
- use social media to make your audience part of your business —> It’s true that as I said in many other occasions, not every customer will buy from you based on your use or profile on social media. Yet, nowadays being “special” is unexpected and can be very well perceived. I was recently at an event on maritime shipping and all it was discussed was the lack of visibility of this industry. I’m sure that cargo ships are not hired solely relying on a company’s posts on a FB page (!) but these are all elements that show you EXIST and care for what goes on in your industry. So create an hashtag or an initiative (like the lovely LYT, http://loveyourtranslator.com) to raise awareness on the fact that good translators are out there and can boost clients’ business.
- make videos —> this classifies under the social media category perhaps but it’s something that I’ve been thinking about for some time now and I believe very much in the power of videos. Maybe you won’t go viral strictly speaking at least but videos can be an engaging way to communicate with your clients. People buy from people and especially for interpreters or speakers or even designers, video clips and screencasts showing how you do your job are a great way to market yourself.
As you may have noticed, this week I’m all about opportunities because branding after all is a mirror of what you are and of the opportunities you are faced with every day.
Don’t let them slip away!