In any business, it is crucial to find something about your brand that makes it stand out. What differentiates you from the competition? Why should clients choose your business as opposed to the dozens of other options out there? What is your competitive advantage? A personal brand helps shape your company’s identity and is one of the main things that people will associate with your product. If you currently work for an organization, determining your personal brand can be the difference between getting promoted or getting passed over.
What Makes a Personal Brand?
Is creating a personal brand about finding a strong niche in a particular market, or is it about having a snappy logo? Is it about creating an image that people can understand and relate to? Is it about executive presence? The answer is all of the above and then some.
Say you’re at the grocery store, feeling a little hungry and looking at candy bars. Snickers has established their bars as being high in protein and a good snack to eat to curb hunger for an hour or two. “Gonna be awhile? Grab a Snickers,” their commercials say. Knowing that you can eat one and stave off hunger for a while, you may be more keen to buy Snickers so that you can shop without a grumbling stomach. For me, it’s Slim Jim’s. There are other brands, but that is the one that is “for me”.
This is an example of brand. It has attraction and personality to it beyond just the product itself. You need to learn how to develop that for your own products and services–that personality that your customers will latch onto. It is what makes customers say that your product is “for them”.
When you’re at work, what do people say about you before you enter the room? What do they say after? You want to make sure that you leave a positive, lasting impression. Your personal brand should enter the room well before you arrive.
Developing a personal style that connects with others is very important, especially when marketing a person. For example, (and I’m probably dating myself with this example) Jennifer Lopez has created a personal brand. She is a multitalented and creative artist who still manages to be “Jenny from the block,” just a regular girl. Whether she is singing, acting or selling her perfume line, she has created an identity that resonates with people and makes them more likely to buy her products.
In order to develop a successful personal brand, it is vital to understand your target audience. You have to know not only what you are offering, but also who may be interested in your services. Knowing who to market to is a good way to zero in on potential clients and focus your efforts. What about this product is useful to people? Who is going to enjoy it? What will they use it for? These are all critical questions to ask. For those in corporate America, you need to think about your audience. Is it your leader? Your peers? Your direct reports? The truth of the matter is that they are all your audience.
In today’s world, internet presence is also crucial. Facebook and Instagram posts give customers a sense of what your brand wants to bring to the world and increases dialogue about your product. Reviews are also important for defining a brand; word of mouth can be a defining factor in product development. For example, websites like Yelp allow customers to review business establishments. Many people will search for a business on Google, and if it is listed on Yelp, they read the reviews. Positive reviews make them more likely to use your services. The same goes for individuals looking to enhance their careers. LinkedIn is the go-to place for people checking out applicants. Do you have positive recommendations and a winning profile?
How to Build Your Brand
Building a brand is a three-step process. The first step is deciding what the brand is. What makes your product unique? Why do you like it? Why do you think people should buy it? The second step involves getting feedback on your brand; get second opinions from marketing experts and customers who will tell you if they are getting the impression you are hoping they get. This is helpful because sometimes we are not the best judges of how our work is coming across to others. Lastly, learn how to promote your brand effectively and market it so that you will get the desired response.
If you are working, do a 360 evaluation. Get feedback from all of your “audience” so that you have a starting point as to what your brand is. Then work towards building the personal brand that you want.
Ultimately, building a personal brand is a very individual process. However, virtually everyone needs to decide what separates them for their competitors. Experiment with different ideas: new products, advertising, and logos. Over time, you will start to get a clearer sense of where your business fits into the world and where to go with it. Keep working and learning and, most of all, enjoy the journey.
Building your personal brand? Get success coaching from some of the best experts in the industry. Sears Coaching will help you accomplish your goals and stay on track. Contact us today to get started.