Standout Branding Advice for Professionals
A moose, a beaver, an accountant and a lawyer walk into a bar…
It sounds like a bad joke, but what do a moose, a beaver, an accountant and a lawyer have in common? The answer can help your professional and personal brand.
Stereotypes R Us
Negative stereotypes aren’t just in Breaking Bad. When people think of Canada, certain symbols and stereotypes come to mind, like Mounties, hockey, moose and beavers. During the Vancouver Olympics’ brilliant closing ceremonies, organizers acknowledged Canadian stereotypes by trotting out giant moose, beavers and Mounties.
Then they countered the stereotypes with a diverse assortment of Canadian musicians and celebrities that took the world viewers beyond those stereotypes. Professionals should take a tip from that.
The elephant in the room
What stereotypes do you have to overcome in your work? Almost every industry and profession has certain stereotypes in the eyes of their customers and the public. Some are positive and some are negative.
We all know the negative ones exist but often we are afraid to talk about them. But like the elephant in the room, ignoring them doesn’t make them go away.
Know thy self
As corporate image consultants in our business etiquette, dress and networking seminars we are often in-house or at conference giving advice to specific professions such as lawyers, accountants or engineers, helping them with their soft skills and image. We ask them to examine and discuss the positive AND negative stereotypes people have with their profession.
Our lawyer clients come up with stereotypes resembling Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad (in photo above). Let’s look at our accounting clients, who also have no trouble coming up with their own negative typecasts; boring, nerdy, without style and only interested in numbers. Are all accountants like this? Are some? Are some of these traits necessary for the job?
Accounting for stereotypes
When it comes to doing a good job for you, you want an accountant who is business focused and good with numbers. But on top of that, our own accountant is funny, stylish, outgoing and has wide ranging interests including racing his vintage sports car.
Our best tip to overcome your profession’s negative stereotypes is to recognize them yourself and act counter to them in all your business/social dealings. In your points of contact with clients or when networking, try to ensure you’re not displaying or reinforcing those adverse traits.
Eliminate the negative
Like the song says, you’ve got to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. You really have a lot of control over your brand and how others perceive you. Click here to see Bette Midler and Bing Crosby sing the oldie but goodie – Ac-cent-chu-ate the Positive.