This article was originally published on PR Daily in June 2016.
In July 2015, I set out to engage Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) executives and agency representatives. I wanted to turn my lifelong love of Jeep into a job as the voice pitchperson for Jeep.
Fast-forward a year. My personal branding campaign has gained serious traction. I’ve already heard from Jeep executives and Jeep’s ad agency, and I look forward to seeing where those connections lead. I think my campaign’s takeaway—hyper-targeted, off-the-wall pitches—will change personal branding.
I’d like to share a few tips on pitching yourself to the brand, company or client of your dreams:
Research has always been the first step of any campaign. When I did PR, research was my forte. It continually proves paramount.
If your goal is to make yourself marketable to a brand, client or company, start by learning everything about your target, from its key messages, to its history and its people. When I targeted Jeep, I broke out my Indiana-Jones attitude. Marketing to C-suite executives was just the beginning. I dug deeper, looking into Jeep-affiliated agencies and Jeep’s whole history. Each discovery led to another. Down the rabbit hole I went.
One of the most rewarding parts of research is finding gems, like historic or re-branding campaigns. Don’t just learn the brand, client or company as it is now; learn how it has changed.
In your research, one of two things will happen: either your findings will affirm your passion, or you will realize that you don’t match as perfectly with this brand as you thought––and that’s okay! It’s better to know that early on.
2. Commit to your goal
If your research fortifies your passion for your goal, immerse yourself. Dive into the vast pool of your target’s culture. A deep connection to your target’s rich history is a great start, but it’s not enough.
It was essential for me to eat, breathe and sleep Jeep. Google Alerts are a good way to keep a finger on the pulse of your brand. I start every morning by reading the latest articles on Jeep and its ad agencies. Knowing your target’s news, social presence, websites and blogs not only keeps you up to date on changes, openings or needs it may have, it enables you to time your pitch perfectly.
3. Seize the side effects
It’s always important to stay locked on your goal. Why? Because putting a bulldog grip on that goal may have great side effects that lead to other successes. Yes, I want to be the voice of Jeep. That’s where I invested blood, sweat and tears.
ATTEND FROM YOUR DESK: Produce better quality content that boosts lead gen, brand awareness and reputation.
But don’t ignore other opportunities rising out of the dust of this crazy ride. For example, if your campaign impresses decision makers at other brands, or if your strategy lures others to your website where they engage with you and learn more about your work, you might find yourself considering several other opportunities.
4. Be opportunistic
If you have done your research, immersed yourself in the brand and identified some secondary targets, then you will recognize opportunity when it presents itself. As with anything, you’ll have seasons of success, as well as seasons of limbo. Don’t be discouraged if you find yourself in a lull.
My campaign had one foot in limbo after my initial conversations with top Jeep execs; I continued to work with experts, conducting research and keeping up with Jeep on all platforms, jumping at any chance to stay on Jeep’s radar.
Don’t compromise your progress by overwhelming your target with emails! Stay top of mind by sending handwritten notes. Use social media to comment on articles or congratulate key players on recent awards. During my campaign’s down time, I persevered with these tactics, and when Jeep launched its #MyJeepStory campaign, it presented the perfect opportunity to tell my story by taking #KB4Jeep public.
Everything in life is timing! Just because you’re waiting, don’t be idle.
5. Share the love
I cannot overstate the importance of making connections and building relationships, regardless of your goal. Always say thank you and shine the spotlight on the people, paid or volunteers, who support your campaign, What goes around, comes around. Be thankful and transparent with those who elevate your brand.
A support group of people who share your campaign within their networks helps tremendously. Connect with anyone and everyone. You never know what connections the people around you have, I could not tell #MyJeepStory without volunteers—friends, family and colleagues who spotlighted my campaign with their crucial support, their willingness to promote me on social platforms, their sharing contacts who might advance my campaign.
Be thankful, be genuine and never underestimate the value of your connections.
If you have a dream brand, client or company, take your future into your hands. No goal is too big or too distant if you plan your pitch. My advice comes from my own experience with #KB4Jeep, but I encourage you to experiment and discover what works for you! You are marketable––you just have to discover the right time and the right paths to reach your targets.