The following is a guest post from Lana M. Joseph. Lana is a 3rd year doctoral student at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. Lana has a Master’s degree in Business Management and is also a social media marketing expert who provides consulting services to a variety of professionals in the hearing industry. Lana is also an avid blogger at www.theaudiologisttobe.com. For more information, you may email Lana at email@example.com, or follow her on Twitter @theaud2beblog.
For hearing professionals who are just entering the field, it may be challenging to stand out among the thousands of professionals who are already well-established in the industry. No one knows who you are, where you are from or what you do. Just like a tiny fish in a large ocean, you’re only a very small piece of a huge and exciting puzzle. So what could you do to make your grand entrance and inform the world about your serious commitment to the hearing profession? Establish your brand. Tell everyone who you are and what you stand for.
Establishing a good brand is essential for hearing professionals, particularly when developing business relationships. Your brand should show people who you are, who you want to be and who individuals perceive you to be. Good branding will lead to occupational success, sometimes far beyond what you may have ever imagined possible. More importantly, the sooner that you get started building a good reputation and brand, the more opportunities you will earn early in your career.
So how does branding work in the hearing industry?
1. Establish yourself as a serious hearing professional by connecting with a variety of other hearing professionals
This includes audiologists, physicians, hearing aid practitioners and manufacturer representatives. Never limit your contacts by only socializing with professionals with titles similar to yours. Social media has proven to be a great way to make these connections. Social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn have brought networking right to your fingertips.
2. Attend professional conferences and be VERY social
Professional conferences are an ideal place to gain connections to a variety of professionals. These events are not the time to remain quiet and reserved, but rather a time to get out and socialize whether during an educational seminar or over cocktails during one of the many spectacular parties. Make meeting new professionals your top priority. Introduce yourself. Share your experiences and interests. Distribute your business cards to anyone and everyone you meet. Greet lots of people, ask questions and share information about yourself. Do this and watch as opportunities and connections unfold.
3. Join professional organizations regardless of the title
Let’s face it. Sometimes our field can be a political war zone causing many hearing professionals to only request membership in some organizations, but not others. Truthfully, there are so many organizations out there that can provide hearing professionals with good, rich information. Research organizations besides the ones you hear about every day. Search for organizations with missions that may interest you and join based on your interests. Become a leader or active member and connect with other leaders. The more connections you make, the greater your chances of gaining the resources that you may need.
4. Update your business cards at least once a year
Often we forget that our business cards are also a huge reflection of our brand. While someone may not remember your name off the top of their head, they will remember you from your business card. Don’t be afraid to invest in your business cards. Try to stray away from the boring, plain white card. Add color, graphics, or nice designs. Include your photograph so that your connections remember you. If money is an issue, consider a DIY (do it yourself) project.
Make sure everything you do is a good reflection of who you are and what you stand for. Good luck establishing your brand in the hearing industry!