My career in this industry started out like many others interested in promotional modeling… excited, nervous, and for me, life changing. I can hardly believe it’s been over 12 years since my first promotion and almost 10 since I’ve been managing them full-time. As the years go by, I’ve spent alot of time thinking about what would make a “promo perfect”! For the most part, it’s really alot of common sense… but here are my top tips for “promotional modeling perfection”
APPEARANCE: this may sound like a no-brainer but you’d be surprised about how many people who go to work without putting their best face forward. Promotional modeling is NOT like working a regular job so you really do need to make an effort in this area. You are contracted to represent a client’s brand so think of yourself as a walking/talking commercial who will be directly interacting with their customers. Promotional modeling does not always require red-carpet hair and makeup but you should always look fresh, professional and ready to conquer the world! In addition to representing a client’s brand, you are also representing your own brand. Ya – you! You never know who you’re going to meet while you’re working so this could be a great opportunity to network and grow your connections in the industry. If you look like you rolled out of bed….. chances are you’re not doing yourself or the promotion justice.
PERSONALITY: although appearance is my first point, don’t think that looks are everything – because they are not! I have seen many promotional models in my time who are downright gorgeous; but also completely useless. That being said, promotional modeling isn’t for everyone. Not everyone has an uncanny ability to break the ice and make small talk with complete strangers all day and that is what makes the difference between modeling and promotional modeling. Don’t be afraid to use humour (tastefully of course) when approaching people and don’t take it personally when you get a “no”. You’ll always get people who say no – it’s your job to work it, and get them to say yes!
PRODUCTIVITY: some promotional models will be given clear guidelines on how to approach people, what to say etc., but no matter what you’re doing, you should always be doing something! When in doubt, just do SOMETHING!!! Some of the worst things you could ever do during a promotion are: standing around, talking to other co-workers vs. potential customers, being on your cell phone. You’re on your client’s time; not your own! If it’s a slow day, you can ask a client if they need help with anything or take a breather until the next rush. Nobody said promotional modeling was easy but it is what you make of it; and if you keep busy and do what you’re supposed to, chances are your day will fly by.
PUNCTUALITY: back in the height of my promo days, I worked with a girl who was constantly late. I’m talking an hour late, two hours late – and she had no idea why this was a problem. I actually picked her up once and sat in my car for over an hour before she came outside. She was gorgeous and had a great personality but punctuality was a concept she just couldn’t grasp. Do you know what happened to her? She got fired! Punctuality and promotional modeling goes hand in hand. Promotional models only have one chance to get something right and if you’re late, you are costing the client and the company you work for money – and ultimately yourself because you’ll start to lose work over it. Promotional models do NOT get to act like divas or celebrities.
RELIABILITY: after 10 years, I think I’ve heard every excuse in the book from promotional models to events staff. These days, it’s hard to take any excuse seriously but I will say that I’ll take someone alot more seriously if they call me vs. sending a text or email. If they’re afraid to talk to you personally, chances are: they’re lying. For the most part, promotions rely on temporary staff. They are at the mercy of each person’s availability and commitment. The bigger the promotion, the more intricate the schedules will get – especially when there is equipment involved. You really need to be respectful of the company you work for before you consider cancelling on a shift or worse, not showing up – because it is really difficult to find last minute coverage particularly early in the morning or on a Saturday night. This is common sense and respect. If you value the work and want to continue receiving it, you will make an honest effort to go to work when you’ve agreed to.
COMMON SENSE: ah the old adage… common sense. If everyone had common sense, I probably wouldn’t be writing this. No matter how much instruction is provided before a promotion, it depends on the promotional models or other staff reading and understanding it. We don’t write and distribute protocols for ourselves – we write them for you, so you know what you’re doing at the promotion! When you step onsite, you should know exactly what you’re doing, where you’re going and know your product knowledge inside and out. Don’t do anything you wouldn’t do if the client or your manager was standing directly in front of you. You’d be surprised at how many clients will secret shop you while you’re working and the last thing you want if you think it’s ok to sneak a bite of an apple or send a text when you’re not on your break. When you’re working as a branded representative or promotional modeling, you truly never know who’s watching and any wrong move, could cost your company an important client.
When I think of some of the very best promotional models I’ve ever worked with, they had all of the qualities listed above and a good head on their shoulders. They recognized that promotional modeling provides them with unparalleled opportunity to make amazing money on a flexible schedule – and have alot of fun doing it. If you’re versatile and open-minded, the opportunities with promotional models and event staffing are limitless and they could take you down a path you never even thought of before…