Personal BrandStory - Stand Out from the Crowd

If you’re trying to liven up a website for a law firm, a physicians’ group, a financial management company or any other bunch of professionals, you might start with the “About Us” page.  Let your visitors know something about yourself beyond your typical bio blurbs, which really say nothing at all.

Let’s take the standard law firm bio, which usually reads like this: “Joe Snarkus graduated from XXX Law School, sits on (blank and blank) boards and he and his wife, Gladys, have seven-point-three children.”  Dull?  You betcha!

Instead, try telling visitors to your site who you are, what makes you different and what you stand for. Give them something to think about.  Give them a reason to connect with you.

BrandFlick has done this for, Johnson Investment Counsel and a few physicians groups.  We call them Personal Branding stories, and they work.  Here’s a story we did for one of the partners at Graydon, which we consider the most innovative firm in Cincinnati:

There’s a fearlessness about Megan Day, likely an attribute she learned from her mother.

“My dad passed away of bone cancer when I was two -- I have no memory of him,” she says.  “So my mom was a big influence.  She’s kind of a super woman – single mom, professional woman.  She did well for me and my older brother.   She’s been a CPA with the same firm for 30 years and always put us first.  Never missed a soccer game or a track event or a horse show …"

Megan grew up in Granger, Indiana, a suburb of South Bend, in a house with a backyard that ended where a cornfield began.  On a family trip to Colorado Springs when she was maybe eight, the three of them went trail riding multiple times because Megan liked it so much.  Her mother somehow realized it would be good for a little girl to learn how to boss around a 1,200-pound animal.

Megan with Kip.

Megan with Kip.

“I got my first horse when I was nine and the horse was five.  A bay quarter horse named Kip.  I still have him.  We showed in county and state fairs, mostly in western horsemanship.  Mom bought a five-acre farm when I turned 15.  I ran the farm, and we got a second horse for my mom.  Then we got a third horse, a mustang from out west.  I barrel-raced him.”

Running the farm, keeping it mowed, making sure three horses, three dogs, and four cats were fed taught Megan about responsibility and hard work.  By the time she was old enough to drive, she was hitching up the trailer, hitting the show circuit on her own.

She went to the University of Kentucky because the school had an equestrian team, and still rides as a hobby.  In the fall of 2012, after graduation, she was accepted into Teach for America, an AmeriCorps affiliated program that places teachers in under-performing, impoverished schools.  For a year, Megan taught 7thand 8th grade math in Huntsville, Alabama.  It was rewarding but also a very heart-breaking and frustrating experience.

“I thought I knew what the problems were with public education going in and how to fix them … There is so much bureaucracy in public education.  Also, I discounted how much my students’ personal lives would impact their ability to learn.  Some of my kids didn’t have a place to go home to. Or if they did, no one was there … and the system just kept passing them onto the next grade.”

Having taken the LSAT as an undergrad, she decided to give law school a shot, again at UK.  From day one, she says, it felt right.  She liked the mental challenge of it and the competitiveness.  She was drawn in particular to real estate law.  By her late 20s, she had a small but growing portfolio of investment properties in Cincinnati and Lexington.  She lives in a duplex in Columbia-Tusculum with her Weimaraner and two cats and rents the second floor.

Megan can start a fire with a bow and a spindle.  Over this past Christmas, she went to Israel by herself and plans to do more traveling on her own.  She’s a Dave Ramsey fan and has taught Financial Peace University at a church in Lexington. Megan’s hobby, as well as her vocation, is real estate.  She listens less to music than podcasts about money and real estate.  One day, she hopes to own “a ton” of properties and be an industry leader.

These days, she’s happy to be where she is.

“You don’t see many ex-Graydon attorneys, but you do see lots of ex-other-law-firm attorneys.  Most firms aren’t keeping up with the huge changes the field is facing or being creative in how they treat people.  It’s pretty clearly a different story here.”

The whole point of marketing, be it on a website or anywhere else, is to stand out.  If you’re a professional of any kind, you’re in a crowded field.  The quickest, best way to stand out is to be yourself.  Personal Branding stories are a powerful way to make that happen.