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How to build your ADR brand by finding out how you're perceived

by Tammy Lenski

From the Mediator Tech blog of Tammy Lenski.

Tammy Lenski

robert-burns"O wad some Power the giftie gie us, To see oursels as ithers see us!"

My Scottish mother was fond of quoting Robert Burns and I still recall her describing the circumstances that led to those famous lines in his poem To a Louse.

The ability to see yourself as others see you is a powerful concept in mediation marketing, because it helps ensure that the brand (the emotional message and image) you're building is consistent with the brand people think they're buying and want to buy.

When was the last time you took the time to find out what your clients, colleagues, friends and others see as your most pronounced characteristics and your greatest gifts? If it's been more than a year, then I have two techniques you can use to gather that information in less than 15 minutes of your time.

The Mediation Marketer's Approach to Brand Self-Awareness

  1. Choose a simple tool to make it easy for people to give you this feedback. I offer two below.
  2. Create a list of at least 20 people to contact. Where possible, focus on satisfied clients, readers of your blog or newsletter, hot prospects, work colleagues, as well as a few friends and family.
  3. Draft a brief email to make your request (one sample is below). Give them enough of a timeline they don't feel pressed into acting instantly, but not so long that they lose track of your request as it sinks lower and lower in their inbox.
  4. Sit back and wait. Send gracious notes of thanks when they respond. Bask a bit in the glow of what you're learning.
  5. Gather all the replies in a single document, then sort the list of characteristics and strengths so that similar items are grouped. You will see trends, I promise.
  6. Identify the characteristics and strengths that are most commonly named. These are part of the natural brand you project just by being who you are.
  7. Now pull out your marketing materials (website, blog, brochure, logo, advertisements, articles you've written, newsletter, etc.). Are those characteristics and strengths standing out in your materials? Can anyone who views your mediation marketing materials see the "natural brand you"?
  8. If you think yes, check with a couple of the folks who responded and ask if they think your brand is standing out. If you think no, then you've now identified some key mediation marketing work you can start right away.

Trust me when I tell you that this is a compelling, gratifying experience to pursue. I just finished doing it for the first time in about 5 years as part of my quarterly business retreat and the trends were clear as can be. My mum would be proud to see me follow Robbie Burns' advice.

Two Brand Awareness Tools for Mediators

Tool 1 is a simple email. Here's the one I just used and you should feel free to steal it for your own if it works for you:

My friend,

I am writing to request a favor. I'm working to fine-tune some elements of my private practice and am doing an exercise in identifying what's unique about me…about who I am and how I am. I'm hoping you can shed some light on how others—you—see me.

Would you take a few minutes, sometime in the next 3-5 days, to list 5 attributes / characteristics / qualities you see as my greatest strengths, based on your particular experiences with me as your trainer, teacher, coach, mediator, colleague? Feel free to explain the ones you chose if you think it may not be apparent to me!

Please be completely honest, telling me what you think, not what you think I want to hear and see.

Thanks in advance…I'm deeply grateful for your help.


Tool 2 is a bit more technologically fun for your recipients, provided they have easy access to the web, but a bit less open-ended than the email approach. It's an interactive Johari window, a graphic model used to understand the intersections and gaps between self perception and others' perception of you. The free interactive window is fairly self explanatory on the page you'll see when you click the above link.

My friends, please take the time to do this. I know you'll love the results and I'm betting there'll be some wonderful aha moments. And I'd love to hear how it went and what you concluded!
Copyright © 2008 by Tammy Lenski. All rights reserved.


Dr. Tammy Lenski helps people resolve conflict in ongoing business and personal relationships and bring their "A" game to difficult conversations. Since founding her NH-based conflict resolution firm Myriaccord LLC in 1997, Tammy has worked with individuals and organizations worldwide as a master mediator, executive coach, speaker, and educator. Author of the award-winning book, Making Mediation Your Day Job, she recently received the Association for Conflict Resolution’s prestigious Mary Parker Follett award for innovative and pioneering work in her field. Her second book, The Conflict Pivot, was released in 2014.


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