Company’s brand or… personal brand?
Author: Hoang Thi Tra My
To survive in business competitions, let alone thrive, you must sell personal branding first, and then company’s brand and services.
As you are a rookie with a small network of colleagues, clients and consumers, industry is a fierce battlefield for you. Thus, you need an exclusive weapon to defeat a thousand of enemies. It called personal branding. In the article “The brand called you”, Peter (1997) claims that personal branding describes who you are and make you different from your competitors. It is built by your own powers which are characteristics, intelligence and knowledge. Linking to client management, personal branding is often used as word – of – mouth sell to attract clients and make them remember you at the first meeting, then your company.
So, how do we practice personal branding in a right way? The question is solved in my interview with Ms. Phan, she friendly shares her own experience of building long – term relationships with client by applying personal branding.
Ms. Phan Bich Ngoc is a 16 – years – experienced sale managers in Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK) – a science – led global Healthcare and Medicines Company (GSK 2013). Although it is reputed brand in the world, it appears in Vietnam for only 18 years. GSK needs to enhance the awareness of its brand among Vietnamese people through doctors. Therefore, her mission is to introduce GSK pharmaceuticals to Vietnamese doctors and build a strong relationship with them.
According to Payne et al (1998) (cited in Little & Marandi 2003), building client relationship is a process as we climb a ladder. This includes three major phases which are prospect, developing and establish. In developing phase, client managers will demonstrate the distinctive and needed products and its benefits to client (Little & Marandi 2003). This mostly depends on the quality of goods. In contrast, prospective phase need communication skills and personal branding to catch clients; and establish is to maintain the relationship by offering much higher rewards.
Agreeing with ladder concept, Ms. Phan states that establish is a main mission; but for her, prospect phase is most important to create a satisfied impression to client. “I think the most challenge is client catching. In the first meeting, I must ensure that I create interest and attraction when I sell who I am. This makes doctors intend to talk with me every next times. Therefore, I have chance to introduce pharmaceuticals and its advances” she said.
She continually shares her experiences to build strong relationships with client through personal branding.
You are the face of the company
In very early times, clients do not know about company’s brand or product quality; however, they know client managers who communicate with them firstly. So, managers’ performance represents their companies. If clients are lured by them, they will appreciate the companies. “Clients can like your voices, your characteristics or even your smile; so you have to maintain your image because you are the face of the company” Ms. Phan assumed. This tip is for prospect step.
Remember your clients are human beings
Going to the highest steps, the clients need higher rewards. Ms. Phan claims that the rewards may not necessarily profit; it can be care. She explains that although GSK do not have much incentive for doctors, she concerns little things in their daily lives such as birthday cards and New Year messages. All of small care makes them be happy because they are human beings. As a result, to maintain a close relationship, client managers have to treat their clients as similar as their lovers.
GSK 2013, ‘Vietnam’, posted 6 August, viewed 30th December 2013, <http://www.gsk.com/worldwide/vietnam.html>.
Little .E & Marandi .E 2003, Relationship marketing management, Thomson Learning, London.
Peters .T 1997, ‘The brand called you’, Fast Company, 31 August, viewed 30th December 2013, <http://www.fastcompany.com/28905/brand-called-you>.
Phan, Bich Ngoc 2013, interview, 21st December 2013.