Mark Pilgrim On Authenticity In Business

Mark Pilgrim On Authenticity In Business


The quiet, nerdy one

I’ve never been loud and boisterous, but I’ve found that quiet confidence works for me. Because I know who I am and what I stand for, I don’t need to make a noise.

Trust is built on consistency, and this is another important side of having confidence in yourself and in what you’re trying to achieve. I treat my diary like my bible.

I’m careful about how much I squeeze into each day and week, because I never want to let a client down whom I’ve made a commitment to. I’d rather say no than be unreliable.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: Successful SA Entreps Share Their Most Valuable Business Advice Ever Received

It means everyone always knows what they’re going to get with me, and I carry this through to everything I do.

I won’t support a charity or initiative I don’t believe in, and I won’t become a brand ambassador for a product I don’t use.

If I am a brand ambassador, I won’t agree to a set number of tweets or mentions per week either – it needs to come naturally.

I’m a very active social media user, and I like talking about the products I use and giving credit where it’s due – but I believe in authenticity, or it’s of no value to my followers.

In this day and age, if you’re not authentic, people will soon see through you. You can make mistakes, just be true to who you are.

Reliability breeds repeat business

I’ve often seen MCs and entertainers cancel a job because a better paying opportunity has come up. It’s a short-sighted way of doing business.

The client who you cancelled on might have grown to become a long-term client that would ultimately give you consistent work.

I also believe it’s important to honour agreements – word travels fast across industries, and if you’re unreliable, no matter how good you are, you won’t be anyone’s first choice when their product, brand or event is on the line. Reliability gets you booked twice.

It’s not enough to be an entertainer; you need to treat your brand like a business. I’ve got a lot of different interests. I’m a radio DJ on Hot FM, an MC, I do television work, voice-overs, I’m a motivational speaker and I’ve invested in a number of businesses.

I’m also a brand ambassador and I’m involved in pro bono work for the charities I support. Each of these facets is built on the same brand though: Me.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: 10 SA Entrepreneurs Who Built Their Businesses From Nothing

What’s important is that clients, listeners and the general public know exactly what they’re getting with me, because of brand consistency across all of these platforms.

I studied industrial psychology and was a market researcher for ten years before I decided to follow my passion for radio.

This has given me a good foundation in business acumen and marketing though, and so today, with everything I’m involved in, I understand the objectives of the various clients and brands I work with.

The age of ’emotainment’

We’re living in the age of ‘emotainment’. This was something we coined during Big Brother.

People are most entertained, and will respond to the information you’re sharing with them, if it evokes an emotion.

I’ve built my motivational talks around my own experiences of having lived through a heart attack and cancer because that’s what’s real to me.

If you can take your audience and customers on an emotional journey, you’ll touch them. My talks started out as informal invites, speaking about my experiences.

Today it’s a lot more formal than that, and my book, Beyond the Baldness is being released in November, but the principles remain the same.

Know your value

Whatever you’re selling, whether it’s your time, IP or an actual product, make sure you know exactly what value you’re bringing to the table before you approach clients.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: Surprising Things 5 Entrepreneurs Do in Their Lunch Breaks

I follow this guideline with everything I do. No matter how good you are at something, there is someone else that can do it just as well, if not even better, so always give your clients your very best and prove your worth to them.

Nadine Todd
Nadine Todd is the Managing Editor of Entrepreneur Magazine, the How-To guide for growing businesses. Find her on Google+.