The ChallengePositioning is tough. If you say you’re a coach, you’re easily stereotyped even though you’re unique (at least until cloning). If you pick a clever title (e.g., “Angle Coach”) and tagline (e.g., “Changing By Degree”), what you do may not be clear. If you’re given the opportunity to explain, you’re stereotyped again.
What you do may have evolved since you positioned yourself last time.
ExampleI've been calling myself a Marketing Actuary for years. That’s reasonable because I own marketingactuary.com (this website) and have helped entrepreneurs market better. My last official title in the corporate world was Director of Advanced Marketing.
While I have a personal website, promodsharma.com, some people have trouble remembering or correctly spelling my name. In contrast, Marketing Actuary is easier to remember and leads directly to me.
The only drawback is confusion.
My real work involves life and health insurance (education, reviews, sales). I’m really an “insurance actuary” but don’t show up in a web search with those keywords.
TitleI started calling myself an Insurance Actuary last week.
TaglineI changed my tagline from “actuary to the wealthy” to “actuary | advocate | blogger” earlier this year. My new title gave me a better idea: “promoting insurance literacy”.
My name is spelled “Promod”, which is usually pronounced “pro-MOD”. The correct way is “pro-MODE” (which rhymes with “commode”). “Promote” has a similar sound and positive connotations.
Financial literacy is a big problem but the battle focuses on investing. Who’s talking about the more specialized world of insurance? I can align myself with “promoting insurance literacy”. It’s even true, since I started a financial wiki in 2006 (Riscario) and blog in 2007 (Riscario Insider).
Your TurnYour positioning may still make sense to you. What I've done might suboptimal. That’s okay. There’s value in making changes even when they’re less than perfect. You get closer to the ideal.
You don’t need fresh business cards while you experiment. Instead,
- Make the changes on your LinkedIn profile.
- Modify your “elevator speech” or commercial.
- Gauge the reactions and make adjustments.
Getting IdeasYou may have trouble figuring out better ways to position yourself. As a start, ask the people you know how they’d describe you. Take notes. You may not get a flash insight but you’re gathering data. Think about what you’re being told without over-analyzing. My process took several weeks.
If you’re stuck, ask for help. Look for someone who specifically does positioning.
One Small Step ...My changes are minor but I'm already getting good responses to Insurance Actuary | Promoting Insurance Literacy. I've also got an untapped niche, a “blue ocean”.
When you reposition yourself, you get fresh perspectives. You see yourself differently and others do too. You may think your new position isn't far from your old one. It is.
- The step before your marketing
- Insights from 291 business cards
- Creating your 10 second commercial
- Four easy ways to become an expert in your field (Forbes, Oct 2012)
- Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout: summary (Bookstove, Apr 2011)
- 1984: smash conformity with your free hammer
- image courtesy of Sergio Roberto Bichara (Brazil)