Toot Your Own Horn!
I recently enjoyed an informative presentation by Jennifer Way of Way Solutions. The Nashville-based author/consultant reminded a rapt audience of marketing executives that – despite the fact that we’ve all been conditioned otherwise – it’s okay, in fact it’s essential, that you go ahead and tell the world just how good you really are.
I had to admit to myself, there have been times where I’ve been too self deprecating when it came to my business, my brand, and my level of expertise. I think Way is right; somewhere along the way, we’ve been trained to “let the work speak for itself.” The problem is, the work is the work. It doesn’t speak for itself. That’s your job.
Author Peggy Kraus agrees. In her recent bestseller, “Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It,” she recalls being told by her father, “Don’t toot your own horn; if you do a good job people will notice you.” She then proceeds to thoroughly debunk that theory while also advising caution and finesse; nobody loves a loudmouth braggart!
I observe this same kind of holding back in the branding and marketing of many companies struggling to communicate their value proposition. The tendency is to come on slowly, letting the consumer experience the logo, a catchy tagline and a maybe a short intro paragraph before actually learning what makes this particular company different and special. With competition stiffer than ever, there’s no time for that kind of subtlety. Come right out and say it, and say it often.
In today’s eight-second-attention-span world, keeping that value proposition front and center can make all the difference. When someone says, “tell me about your company,” they’re really asking you to tell them what’s special about your business, what differentiates you from the competition. Don’t hold back. Be ready with an answer that succinctly expresses what makes you extraordinary. Go ahead, toot your own horn!