Be Your Own Ambassador
Brand Ambassadors—those who promote a particular company or product—are everywhere these days. In fact, Dimensions of Dental Hygiene has Brand Ambassadors, and we are truly grateful for all they do to promote the publication.
Brand Ambassadors—those who promote a particular company or product—are everywhere these days. In fact, Dimensions of Dental Hygiene has Brand Ambassadors, and we are truly grateful for all they do to promote the publication. Similar programs exist for many oral healthcare products and ambassadors enjoy the interaction with colleagues and recognition of their efforts. One trait I’ve noticed is that ambassadors, no matter what company they represent, are also strong advocates for their own brand. They are enthusiastic, dedicated, skilled, and talented dental hygienists, and they love their profession!
In order to be an effective spokesperson, you must first be an effective “self-spokesperson.” You need to be your own Brand Ambassador. How does that happen? An internet search of “how to build your personal brand,” will bring up lots of websites, books, articles, and PowerPoint slides. Invariably, they deal with developing a brand in order to advance in the corporate world—there is nothing specific to those in the oral healthcare field who work as clinicians, educators, researchers, and in public health. But wait … oral healthcare is a business, and while it’s not the same as climbing the corporate ladder, how people perceive you is important. Your brand is how the public views you as a professional—your knowledge, your demeanor, your skills, your personality. The people you interact with are more likely to believe your recommendations if your own brand is top-notch.
ONE TRAIT I’VE NOTICED IS THAT AMBASSADORS, NO MATTER WHAT COMPANY THEY REPRESENT, ARE ALSO STRONG ADVOCATES FOR THEIR OWN BRAND.
So here are a few branding recommendations for dental hygienists. As I look back on my own career and the careers of successful colleagues, these are the most prominent, consistent traits I’ve observed:
- Be genuine. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses because people really can discern if you’re sincere. Demonstrate competence but be humble.
- Be professional. Membership in the American Dental Hygienists’ Association tells patients that you value your profession enough to join its organization. Share knowledge you’ve gained from a continuing education course, or advocate for the latest health-related information. This is especially important during the uncertainties we all face related to COVID-19.
- Challenge yourself. The only way to grow is to step out of your comfort zone. Do something that scares you—perhaps take a public speaking course and then present to a local audience.
- Do a gut check. Ask friends to honestly describe you in three to four words. Does their description jibe with how you want to be thought of or seen? Does it match up with your “brand?” Re-focus if necessary.
Building your brand and being your own ambassador is a life-long pursuit. How you are perceived today and what you want to be noted for in the future shouldn’t vary much. That’s authenticity and it’s what keeps your brand consistent and relevant. What does change is the power of your brand as your career advances. Will it grow stronger or weaken? It’s all up to you.
Jill Rethman, RDH, BA
Editor in Chief
From Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. May 2021;19(5):6.