“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room” Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder, Amazon
Imagine your friends, family, colleagues and clients in a room together, and the main topic of conversation is you. How would they describe you to each other? Would they be able to describe what you do? Or what you stand for?
Simply put, branding has traditionally been the process involved in creating a unique name and image or perception for a product in the consumer’s mind. The Mac ‘apple’ immediately evokes a perception of style, creativity and efficiency. ‘Kellogg’s’ says breakfast. ‘Nike’ says fashionable fitness. Brands promote an emotional response and when successful they increase customer loyalty, awareness and perceived value.
As Kevin Roberts – Global Executive Chairman of Saatchi and Saatchi says, ‘brand loyalty is where the money is, it’s why your customers use you and choose you more often, you or your products are a part of their life, their own story. Apple isn’t irreplaceable, but it is irresistible, so that we become loyal to the brand even beyond reason.’
Stand out and get noticed
Branding on a personal level does much the same thing; why should a potential client select you and your business over someone else’s where the service offering is the same? Often it all comes down to perception and presence. It goes beyond reason. You might be a wonderfully talented person, but unless you project your personality, expertise and general awesomeness to the world (or at least the people who matter in your world), you might lose out because people don’t quite ‘get’ you.
Personal Brand = Personal Purpose
What do you want to be known for? What impact do you want to make on the world? Is this immediately apparent to others either when they meet you in person, or, more likely when they look you up before meeting you? Over 1 billion names are searched on Google every single day, and the information they find for you will in some way affect whether they decide to do business with you, promote you or simply get in touch with you. It will affect their perceived value of you and what you do, and more frequently our first impressions are formed at this virtual stage before we even meet people. So it’s crucial to cover all aspects of our personal branding and make sure they are aligned, both online and in person.
7 great reasons for creating and maintaining your personal brand:
1. Establish Your Credibility
When you take the time to really get to the heart of who you are and what you do, you begin to build a personal brand that others will trust because what you are promising is what you will deliver. When you provide value to others on a steady basis, you soon begin to establish your credibility and build that trust factor, which is one of your greatest promotional assets. Word of mouth travels fast, and often won’t cost you a penny.
We live in an intensively competitive world and it’s only through personal branding that you can really identify what makes you different and use that to stand out amongst the crowd. Each one of us is a unique combination of skills, values and passions, so that we each have something unique to offer. Perhaps you have the advantage of a personal story that will really connect with your customers/audience, or you have identified a key problem you can offer a solution for that no one else in your field has addressed.
Focus on the Work that Matters
As you go through the personal branding process, your self awareness will increase, deepening your understanding of yourself and what makes you unique, powerful and valuable. This in turn will lead you to focusing more on work that utilises your unique qualities (and is therefore of more value to others) rather than trying to be all things to all people.
Increase Your Visibility
When you narrow your focus on your strengths and identify your target audience you will become much more visible to the people who really matter; your potential customers/clients, and also the people in your field who are considered the influencers, who will help to bring you more customers etc. Because you have taken the care to really think about your personal brand and what it is that you can offer, you will be appear as someone trustworthy and a go-to expert.
5. Build Your Network
Growing your network is crucial for business and career success; it opens doors to opportunities you would have never thought of. Your personal brand is similar to a magnet; it attracts likeminded people who can be very useful to your career or business.
6. Magnetize Opportunities
As a result of your growing network, not only are people more willing to help you, but they will actually provide you with more opportunities, which could be a new business idea, a joint venture, co-writing books or even customer referral. When you have a strong, authentic and memorable brand that always delivers, people will always be willing to recommend you to others and want to work with you in the future.
Build Your Value
It all comes down to what you can do for people who need what you can do. Once you begin to get a bigger view of who you are, your values and what you have to offer others, you begin to build your value. Other people will only start seeing you as valuable once you do.
Personal Branding leads to Business Success
Whether your business is big or small, thinking about your personal brand is a must if you want to stand out and get notices in our ever increasingly competitive business world.
ACTION: Personal branding is a passion of mine. I’d love to hear your thoughts on people in your world who have strong brands. How about sharing in the comments below who those people are and why they have made an impression on you?