When the Press Focuses on Your Personal Brand Instead of Your Startup
Women entrepreneurs give their two cents on how do to keep press focused on their company instead of their personal brand, although some agree that both help each other.
Marissa Mayer is in the news just as often for her fashion sense (see: Vogue) as for the monumental changes she’s bringing to the Yahoo brand. But that approach doesn’t sit well with everyone. What advice would you give entrepreneurial women who want news about their startup to be focused on their achievements and not their personal brand?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
Shenan Reed, Morpheus Media -Refocus the Conversation
For the near term, we have to accept that we play in a boy’s world and that our best bet is to make them forget we are girls. Until there is a true gender balance in executive leadership, we are always going to be called out as the “female XYZ.” The opportunity we have is to shift the conversation from the fact that we are women to the imperial success we have in our leadership.
Darrah Brustein, Finance Whiz Kids | Equitable Payments -Use Your Achievement to Your Advantage
Achievement and personal brand go hand in hand. The two might just become linked, and there is nothing wrong with that. Use it to your advantage if your personal brand becomes a part of what makes you newsworthy.
Benish Shah, Before the Label -Make It About What You Do
When you talk to media, focus the conversation around what your company has achieved with you at the helm. It’s easy to stray and talk about yourself in anecdotes, but you want the focus on your work — not just you.
Kim Kaupe, ‘ZinePak -Show the Numbers
Nothing can catch someone’s attention like cold, hard numbers. Although having a vision and success story is great, showing your numbers puts you on the same playing field as the men. My business partner Brittany and I start every new business meeting and press interview by stating that consumers spent $15 million on our products in 2012. It’s hard to get around it when it’s our lead statement!
Erin Blaskie, Digital Strategist -Honor Your Brand
It’s tough to separate the personal brand and achievement, regardless of the type and size of company you own. If your personal brand is “larger than life” or in this case, “larger than the biz,” you should honor that and run with it. Publicity for your personal brand means publicity for the business, and so as long as it’s not damaging, it will only be a benefit to your company.
Sarah Schupp, UniversityParent -Be Open About Your Numbers
If you want the media to focus on your achievement, you have to give them data worth writing about. Share yearly growth, profitability increases and market share expansion so that the story reflects your company’s growth and value versus just your own personal story.
Susan Strayer LaMotte, exaqueo -Don’t Pose for Vogue
You’re in charge of directing the conversation, and the choices you make will alter that conversation one way or another. If you’re only concerned about achievement-related press, then be sure your PR strategy is focused in that direction. However, you don’t have to choose between personal brand and achievement. The medium is the message. Choose where your message is conveyed wisely.
Laura Roeder, LKR Social Media -Show the Person Behind the Achievements People love knowing the person behind the company, so don’t be shy about using your personal brand. Vogue is a women’s magazine, and Yahoo is a company that wants to attract female users. Marissa Mayer has already dominated the tech press, so going to new outlets was a smart move.
Erica Bell, Hukkster -Put Your Best Foot Forward
Any time your company has a notable achievement or hits that next milestone, it is your personal brand that is put on display as you present to stakeholders, business partners, clients or the media. It’s critical that you identify this from day one so that you’re constantly putting your best foot forward, whether attention is on you as the entrepreneur or the idea you conceived.
Is it okay to mix your personal brand with your company?