Thursday, April 29, 2010

Graduation's a Great Time to Build Your Baby's Brand

This post is for all the Moms out there. Graduation is approaching quickly and you're going to be sending your babies out into the world of college or the world of work. Either way, your babies are going to be very small fish swimming around in a very big pond.

What's a Mom to do? Your babies need to create their own personal brand. They're well on their way, with all your years of nurturing, but there's even more you can do right at this juncture in their lives:

Give them stationery!

What? Yes, you heard correctly, even in this age of e-mail and cell phones and texting. (Here's a thought to ponder. All texting requires is a tool and two opposable thumbs. My, haven't we come a long way in our development?!)

It wasn't that long ago that those who first had a computer, who used e-mail, who bought a cell phone, a PDA or any other piece of technology were the ones who stood out from the crowd. They were admired and respected. They were out in front of the pack. They were the big fish in a small pond.

But the pendulum is swinging. Not backwards, but ahead toward a more civil, respectful and courteous society. Ask yourself this: who will stand out from the crowd; be admired and respected; be remembered most favorably:

The person who sends you a garbled tweet thanking you for that delicious dinner, or the person who sent you a hand-written thank-you note?

The applicant who follows up the job interview with an e-mail, or the applicant who follows up with a hand-written note acknowledging the generosity of time and consideration for the future.

The friend who catches up with you with a "wassup?" text or the friend who writes a note just because "I was thinking about you today."

The young networker who hands you his number on a wet cocktail napkin or the young networker who hands  you her card?

These are the people who will be remembered for their courtesy, respect and civility.

That can be your baby!

Here's a great start to building an esteemed personal brand. Send your little fish into the big pond with personal cards. They say "I have arrived. Here I am!"


Cam said...

I love this and I totally agree. Tactile and lasting. Great ways to be prepared to make a good first impression on all one may meet through networking, association meetings and everywhere on life's path to success.

Unknown said...

Excellent, spot on advice! I coordinate a research program for undergraduate students at a large, public university who are headed out on the job market and graduate/professional school. I continually hammer the message home that EVERY job interview, gift, etc...deserves to be recognized with a handwritten note precisely because fewer people see the need, and instead reach for their electronic device of choice. A personal calling card is another great piece to one's professional arsenal.

Eliza Ward said...

I think this might be my first comment on your blog, so I feel a bit awkward being so frank, however, I have to say that I agree and disagree. First of all, I am a bit offended that you are directing this post to "Moms." Can't fathers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and friends give stationery? I also don't understand why you are referring to educated adults as "babies." The purpose of having stationery is so that these people will be taken seriously, but you aren't even doing that. Secondly, I completely agree that a handwritten note and a business card has a more lasting and personal impact on the receiver. I agree with all of your examples except for the one about the job interview--it really depends on the field and the sort of position. In some cases it is better to let the interviewer decide to follow up afterwards, as giving a thank-you (by email or paper) can come across as artificial and even irritating to a busy interviewer. Sorry again for being so blunt.

Peter Hopkins said...

Hi Eliza:

No apology necessary for being blunt. I always appreciate well-thought-out comments. Your points are duly noted and respected.

Of course, anyone can give stationery as a gift; this was merely one timely example.

When I sit down to write a blog post, I'm not setting out to write the definitive volume on the most appropriate use of stationery in every one of life's occasions.

I am hoping to promote a point of view which, hopefully, will promote, if only in a very small instance, a civil, respectful and courteous lifestyle. And I hope to entertain - sometimes successful, sometimes not.

I thank you very much for your attention to my writings and for your considered response to this latest post.

With best regards,