Monday, October 7, 2013

How Are You Seen? Presentation Is Everything

Whether we are representing ourselves or our companies, how we appear to others—that is, how we brand ourselves—is crucial to sending the message we want to send, particularly to those with whom we want to do business. Reviewing our brands should be a regular occurrence. At its September 17 meeting, the Oakland Chamber’s Non-Profit Roundtable tackled a number of aspects of corporate and personal brands, including how we as individuals represent our organizations and companies to the world.

Equally important is how we discuss our brands internally. Are all staff members on the same page, using similar language or materials? Do all of our organization’s materials reflect the same brand? Further, how does leadership role model the brand to staff? And how do all staff model the brand to the community?

Both at the beginning and the end of the meeting, attendees shared simple ways that they were roles models of their organization’s or company’s brands. Examples included carrying a mobile phone with a periodic table on its case for a science education organization; consistently being friendly, positive and accessible; carrying branded safety whistles to share for an emergency preparedness organization; and actively using or wearing a company’s product (such as logo apparel).

Several speakers also shared their expertise with the attendees. These included Veronique Anxolabehere of Nest Marketing (, Natalie Alvanez of Visit Oakland (, Kristin Long of MIGHTYminnow Web Studio & School ( and Juanita Walker of JM Walker & Associates.

Each speaker presented a different perspective on branding and shared such important notes as:

·         Others will judge you and your organization/business whether you like it or not

·         When you’re presenting your business, you are your business

·         Clarity and consistency of internal and external communication are extremely important, particularly as you are competing for attention and revenue

·         It is important to be true to who you are

·         Branding is an experience – know what comes to mind when folks hear about you or think about your company/organization

·         Share why someone should choose your organization or company.

·         Your information needs to be everywhere; not being available when and where it’s needed, diminishes the brand

·         Design a brand that is accessible in every presentation and media platform—from brochures to web site to social networking sites to phones

·         Draw others to you, as well as going after them


At the conclusion of the meeting, we each shared one simple thing we learned that we can personally put in practice or take back to our respective organizations/companies. Suggestions included:

·         Always greet colleagues with a friendly but firm handshake

·         Always carry some brand-representative collateral to give away

·         Make sure your website displays properly on tablets and smartphones

·         Put your nametag on your right side, just below your collarbone

·         Provide training to staff and volunteers on proper business etiquette

Special thanks to Iryna Oreshkova of Iryna Accountancy ( for bringing cookies, and Dale Marie Golden MacDonald of Torrey Pines Bank ( and Kristin Long of MIGHTYMinnow ( for bringing great door prizes.


* * * * * * * * *

The next Oakland Chamber Non-Profit Roundtable meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 15, 2013, from 2:30-4:30pm in the Chamber Boardroom. Please join us in a conversation on ways of taking care of ourselves and helping our colleagues take care of themselves.

Co-Chair Âna-Marie Jones, Executive Director of CARD (
Co-Chair Jerry Metzker, Development & Marketing Manager of Biotech Partners (

Chamber Liaison Nikki Mendez, Membership Director (


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