Last week I was sent a complimentary pass to a digital conference and invited to register for the sessions I wanted to attend.
There were dozens and dozens of sessions available and I knew there was simply no way I could make time to attend them all.
How did I decide which ones to choose?
I chose the people and companies I recognized.
A session on why founders should prioritize professional development, featuring the President of Shopify? I'm familiar with Shopify and have tremendous respect for the work they're doing to help businesses of all sizes be successful online... so, done!
A session on hyper-growth featuring the CMO of Canva? I'm familiar with Canva and continue to be impressed with the tools they add on their site to make it easy for small businesses to create marketing materials... I'm there!
A talk by Aaron Levie, founder of cloud storage company Box? Okay!
A session by David Sacks, a venture capitalist I follow on Twitter? Should be interesting!
I have a limited amount of time to give to this digital conference, and I don't want my time wasted. All of the sessions had great titles, but there's no way to know whether all the speakers could deliver great content.
So when asked to choose which sessions to attend, I decided to choose those talks given by people I've heard of before and those working at companies I know. Those speakers and companies already earned my time and attention based on what I already knew about them.
My familiarity with the names I knew served as a useful mental shortcut that helped me make my decisions quickly and feel confident about those choices. Guess what?
And if you're a company (or individual) that thinks building your brand is a waste of time...
... think about what happens in your potential customers' minds every time they're asked to decide whether what you're selling is worth their limited time and attention.