To the men who explained my veterinary brand to me:
During Vet Tech Week, a crazy thing happened. I decided I wouldn’t make the posts about how great vet techs were. I’d done them for years and for so many brands.
It wasn’t because vet techs aren’t great. Techs are unsung heroes of the veterinary profession. But part of the many reasons that they’re not seen with the esteem they deserve? Their incredibly low wages.
I utilized my fiancé’s fancy Emsi data. (It’s what he uses as an economics consultant.) I found that 48% of vet tech jobs advertised in the US between August 2020-August 2021 paid less than $17.06/hour.
This data primarily pulled from big corporate players. You know the ones owned by the corporation known publicly for making candy… and generating billions in revenue a year.
I felt that was wrong. Not because I don’t know awesome people do great things at those big corporate brands, but because of my story of being paid that wage.
I remembered back to 2013 when I was being paid that as a practice manager. Even with a roommate, I could barely make ends meet.
Flash forward to 2021. We live in a world where rent is through the roof, and people are still earning that? It’s disgusting.
So I shared this fact, and I shared others. I hoped that the awareness would bring attention to an issue. And what better time than a week dedicated to celebrating vet techs?
And over 500k people saw the information and the message that we spread. I got messages from people around the world that are struggling to make ends meet on vet tech pay. I saw people sharing potential solutions and connecting to make them happen.
I confidently admit that I was proud of what I was able to use my skillset to do. I’m great at getting attention on social media, and this was helping an important topic get center stage.
But then came the Negative Nancies, or should I call them Negative Neds?
“Aren’t you a branding group? What do wages have to do with that?” they crowed.
“I tried to explain marketing to her, but she wouldn’t listen!” they exclaimed.
“This is awful for your brand!”
And the ever-so-dramatic, “I’m disappointed in you. This isn’t who you are.”
I don’t actually care what they have to say.
I know what I’m doing, and I’m so proud of my personal brand (@daniellesnout) and the Snout School brand. And – hello? I will never apologize for advocating for a living wage. If that’s controversial to you, you are not for me.
But what bothers me is that they feel entitled to say those things, to tell me who I am, to explain my brand to me.
What bothers me is they could say these words to another person who is trying to share something authentic and transparent. That person could be scared off from showing their truth, and there can be major ramifications to that.
So here’s what I have to say to the men who explained my business to me:
Why does this bother you so much for someone to have an opinion?
Why do you think you know my business strategy?
Why do you feel the need to boss me around when I’ve achieved plenty of definitions of success?
Why does a man who paid me $487.50 (USD) for an online course in 2015 feel entitled to telling me who I am?
And one more – What veterinary social media expertise do you have that usurps my decade of work and the 3,000 shares on the very post you’re commenting on?
This behavior might be well-intentioned, but it isn’t well-received.
It could shake someone’s confidence, or make them question their truth. It’s akin to gaslighting in that way, and that’s why it is inappropriate.
I call this behavior out because it makes people uncomfortable, and yet too many people – especially men – get away with it.
Instead of letting it slide, we need to empower ourselves to say, “Actually, I’m damn good at managing my brand. It just might not be for you. Thanks!”
If you read all this, and you want to build a brand you can stand behind like I stand behind mine – let me help you. You can take your first Veterinary Branding Lab class for free here to find out what it takes.