Recommendations rule. Research shows that more than 90 percent of consumers say that a word-of-mouth recommendation is the top reason they make a purchase decision (Nielsen 2012). In his new book Highly Recommended, Zócalo Group President and CEO Paul M. Rand outlines a detailed roadmap for how brands and businesses can harness this power and become the most recommended in their categories.
But the idea for Highly Recommended was actually based on a speech Rand gave to marketing masters’ graduates last year. In it, he talked about applying the principles of becoming a recommendable brand to your own life. These tips are helpful to consider both in establishing your personal brand, and for public relations, marketing and advertising professionals working on behalf of a brand.
Here are 3 tips to becoming highly recommended in your career:
- Decide how you want to be talked about. Ask yourself how you want your professors, employers, classmates and coworkers to talk about you. Most likely, you want them to sing your praises, but what qualities and skills specifically would you like to come to mind when people recommend you?
- Live your brand. Now, work every day keeping the way you want to be recommended in mind. When it’s time to make a choice, think about what will move you along on that roadmap.
- Stay engaging and interesting. Being engaging means to listen intently and connect authentically on areas of common interest. A good rule of thumb is to spend 90 percent of the time listening and engaging, and 10 percent of the time talking about yourself.
As you move up in your career, it will be challenging to make time to keep your hobbies and cultivate new interests. But doing so will keep you interesting, give you something to talk about, and could even add to your career in ways you never imagine. Got a foodie blog? It could help land you a job with a PR agency that works with food brands. Spend a semester in Europe? Your love of art history might inform how you help a company tell its story in a compelling way.
What do you think of this approach? How do you want people to recommend you?
Alexandra Baird is an assistant account executive at Zócalo Group, a social, digital and word of mouth marketing agency focused on making its clients the most recommended brands in their categories. Before joining Zócalo, Alexandra served as an AmeriCorps VISTA at the Chicago Mayor’s Office. She previously reported on public safety, education and local issues for the Daily Pilot, a division of the Los Angeles Times. Alexandra graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and a minor in economics from California State University Long Beach. Find her on Twitter at @alexandra_baird.