The Sofitel hotel near the Beverly Center is one of the go-to spots for many execs and companies I know in the city for its easy lunch, central location and easy access. As I slip into on of the booth's at Simon L.A., one of the hotel's restaurants, it's a familiar experience. I'm meeting with amazing entrepreneur and fellow Power Girl Liz Dennery Sanders, of Shebrand and the prestigious Dennery Marks agency. The get-together is one part business, one part social call. Liz and I are both part of the network of women here in the city that inspired in part the New Power Girls series I write here.
"I'd recommend the salad," Liz says as I settle in. I take her advice and get the salad, with dressing on the side, as we get to talking.
Liz's company SheBrand specializes in branding services for women. As a founder and fellow female entrepreneur, I'm intrigued for both this column and my own work.
"It starts with who you are as a person and what you stand for," she begins. "What words would people use to describe you? How would you describe yourself?"
It's a question that I'm certain most female founders have asked themselves. Liz shares the process she follows with her clients, starting with identifying what their companies stand for, and what they're about, down to target customers and messaging.
"Then, you are ready to create a solid marketing plan," Liz continues.
Rather than suggesting the buzzy marketing tools or favorite strategies and token words, she advises her clients to pick and choose from what's available based on what's best for their company and customers.
"Ask yourself the question, 'Where to my ideal clients hang out?' and then create your marketing plan around your answer. You've got to engage and connect with your target audience so you can get the conversation started."
Liz's centered on being a solution to the customer -- then effectively communicating what they (not you!) are going to get out of working with you or buying your product or service. She advises to focus on the benefits and results someone is going to get from working with you, not the features around your particular type of product or service.
It's a bit different of the personal branding that's been popular to date, which centers on talking about how great you are, connected, cool, experienced, in demand, etc., aka shaking your bling. I can say from experience that putting the customer and what they'll get out of the relationship first is far more effective. I've seen it repeatedly on advisory and client projects as well as in my own work.
As our lunch wrapped up, Liz added to make sure your decisions, moves and efforts always tie back to the original value and benefit you provide.
In other words, know what offer, how you benefit people and make your entire focus on that. Spoken like a true Power Girl!