TERP HARD TRUTH 2: YOU ALREADY HAVE A BRAND
In JUMP! A Very Practical Guide to Choosing Your Own (Interpreting) Adventure, I talk about how interpreters should manage our brands differently depending on whether we work mainly with agencies and consultant interpreters, with our own direct clients or with both.
This means that, even if the bulk of your work is for agencies and consultant interpreters, you still have a brand.
Your brand is there, growing and evolving regardless of whether you nurture it or not. It precedes you before you even get asked for your availability and it lingers on once the job is done and you go home (or turn off your computer).
What is your brand?
It is what people say about you when you are not in the room and what colleagues write in their emails when they recommend you. It is how people describe you when they pass along your details and the impression you cause in your interactions.
One of the pillars of approaching your work in a more entrepreneurial way is to have a strong profile/brand as it helps potential clients to, first, identify with you and, second, remember you when they need services like yours.
Features of a strong brand
As Pia Silva puts it, for your brand to work its magic and reap the benefits you seek, it brand must be noticeable, memorable, and shareable. And, since, like it or not, you already have a brand, the best thing you can do to help your interpreting business thrive is to take control of it and its development.
For your brand to be noticeable, it must stand out. And, for it to stand out, it must be unique. Not randomly unique but unique to you. That is, it should be authentic – a true reflection of who you are as a professional and as a person. We, interpreters, do not always have it easy when it comes to implementing common business strategies, but we do have the advantage of getting away with building our brands around our person.
If you keep your brand authentic, then it will be memorable. Perhaps not to everybody but, fortunately, to those who resonate with it and, incidentally, also happen to be the portion of the market more likely to hire your services. Yes, even agencies, as they tend to focus on certain types of clients or favour certain interpreter profiles.
Components of a good brand
As you can see, your brand is way more than a logo. Actually, just like looks without brains make for a bland individual, a logo without an authentic brand behind it is just pretty colours on paper. By the way, you may not even need a logo!
Sometimes, a good profile photo is enough, especially since your brand is the combination of many seemingly insignificant details. The colours and fonts you choose for your CV, the way you sign your name, the style and register of the language you use in your emails, the way you name your files, the things you choose to share on social media, the jokes you make are all part of your brand. They are all part of you.
The good news is that you can strategically decide how your professional self shows up in the world, just like you choose what to wear to a party, a work meeting, or a night out with your friends, and that the more care you put in bringing your brand to life, the more professional you will look.
And, the more professional you look, the prouder people will be to talk about you and be seen as somehow related to it.
You already have a brand – make it work to your advantage!
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