“Your personal brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room – remember that. And more importantly, let’s discover why!”
(Founder & CEO at Youpreneur® and Virtual Staff Finder)
If you're already in the market or preparing to start your venture, having a thorough understanding of personal branding is always recommended. Even if you're aware of its significance but need to figure out how to establish a successful personal brand, it's worth reconsidering your personal branding strategies. Essentially, creating your own identity and communicating it through your business is important before the market defines you. In short, take control of your personal brand marketing to make a lasting impression.
How do you go about doing that? Is it a complex, rocket science-level procedure? No, it's neither complicated nor uncharted territory. However, discovering your true self requires some hard, intensive work.
Let's delve into some tips that will assist you in leaving your unique mark on each of your market deliverables.
What is Personal Branding?
You've probably got a good idea of what personal branding is. However, it might be easier to understand if we look at Tom Peter's definition.
"All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You."
So, what exactly are the tips for becoming the CEO of your own company? We can divide these into two types:
Intangible tips involve practicing self-discovery and ensuring the longevity of your personal brand.
Tangible tips - these are actionable steps you can take.
Let's begin with the intangible practices you should implement immediately to establish a thriving personal brand.
Stand Out from the Crowd
Before attempting to establish a strong presence in the market, it is important to understand the qualities in your personality that make people appreciate you. This involves exploring your attitude, worldview, and demeanor. While some people may find this task irrelevant or difficult, it is a crucial aspect of personal branding that needs to be noticed.
It is important to note that personal branding is a task that takes time and effort, and it requires persistence, attention to detail, and the ability to reflect on oneself. Ultimately, your personal brand will reflect who you are as a person and how you conduct yourself in business.
Therefore, there is no single answer to how to stand out from the crowd, as each person's journey toward developing a strong personal brand will be unique.
However, there are steps you can take to make the task easier.
- Start by taking a piece of paper and creating two columns.
- In the first column, write down your existing life skills, such as your communication or listening abilities or how you treat people you admire.
- In the second column, write down the life skills you would like to develop, such as improving your attention to detail or your PR abilities.
- Begin working on both columns.
- Focus on becoming an expert in your skills and work towards acquiring the skills you'd like to have.
Although this exercise may not be directly related to your earning, it will help you develop a clear idea of what you want your personal brand to be. And remember, if you can stand out from the crowd, your business will benefit.
Identify Your Audience and Connect to Them
If you want to succeed in a competitive market, you need to understand who your target customers are and the duration of the existing demand. To do this, you must connect with your audience. Many entrepreneurs fail to expand their businesses because they lack a strong understanding of their target customers and their needs. This is often due to a lack of connection with their audience.
When it comes to personal branding, you need to focus on "you" before your product or service. In other words, you need to capture your customers' attention with your personality and brand before selling your product. By doing this, you can establish a strong emotional connection with your audience, which is crucial in understanding their needs and how you can help them.
Now that you understand what to do, you may be wondering how to do it. Let me give you an example to make it easier to understand.
Suppose you want to launch an online vet consultation service with additional facilities for pet parents. After reading this article, you already know your target customers and their needs, and let us assume that you also have a strong base of happy customers.
Now, one of them was looking for a pet transportation service but never came to you asking for any leads. If you regularly share your personal story about your pets on social media or blogging about your compassion towards animals, she could think of you whom she could reach in her hour of need. What will be on your card?
Option A - If you could help, a happy customer would be a 'happier' customer and refer your name as the representative of your brand to some of her friends.
Option B - You may get an idea of adding a "pet transportation service" to your online venture based on your customer's needs.
As Oscar Wilde famously stated, "Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken," authenticity is crucial to being accepted. However, it can be challenging to reveal your true self. Nonetheless, it's the hidden secret if you want to build a successful personal brand. No wonder it is a matter of practice.
But why is it so challenging to be authentic? Often, we don't take the time to delve into ourselves, so we rarely recognize our true selves. If we could do that, it might be a big blow to our ego.
Now, you might be wondering how authenticity relates to personal branding. Well, as we all know, trust is the foundation of any successful business. Being true to yourself helps establish that trust between you and your customers, making you more relatable to your audience.
Let's discuss how to maintain authenticity while building your personal brand.
The key is to use effective storytelling with an authentic approach. When starting your venture, you already have a backstory. In a storytelling format, you can share what brought you to this point, what you are pursuing, and how you began your journey.
However, be cautious not to overshare, as it may make your audience feel uncomfortable and vulnerable. You'll need to discover your true purpose by delving deep into your experience, personality traits, and the motive behind your decision to embark on a specific path to understand the fine line between under and over-sharing.
Now, let's focus on tangible practices that can help you maintain authenticity while building your brand.
Make your website
First and foremost, it is essential to associate any communication media with your identity to showcase yourself as a personal brand. And what could be better than having a vibrant website? By consistently posting updates, quality content, upcoming events, and your thoughts on your website, you can gain credibility among your target audience.
The reason for this is simple- people admire the consistent effort.
Once you establish yourself as a credible source, expanding your personal brand marketing becomes much easier.
However, remember that millions of websites are created daily, all to become a successful entrepreneur. But only a handful of them succeed, and it takes time. Therefore, before building a website, knowing the key factors behind a successful one is crucial.
First and foremost, your website name should be relevant, catchy, and concise. Additionally, securing a premium domain is equally important. As .com domains have been the most popular, other businesses have already taken the most desirable names. But there's good news- the .inc domain is gaining popularity and is just as effective.
You can use a free tool to generate a business name and secure a .inc domain.
Establish a Strong Online Presence
In today's world of digitalization, having a strong online presence is essential if you want to leave a lasting impression as a personal brand.
The truth is, we're meeting fewer people in person these days and expressing ourselves more on social platforms. So, if you're trying to establish yourself as a personal brand, it's crucial to connect with people online. Be genuine, authentic, and social. Social media is a powerful platform where you can promote your visual branding. A clean, relevant social media page or personal profile with interesting facts, stories, or pictures can attract people from your niche.
But don't go for direct marketing; instead, focus on informing and educating people about things related to your genre. Once you start talking about things that people take an interest in, you'll start building a strong base of potential customers. Make sure to be available on all social media platforms and respond to messages promptly. Consider having a business email ID to list yourself in various online directories.
To sum it up, personal brand marketing is an opportunity to explore and introspect. You can invent, discover, and rebuild your personality to create a brand image for your business. However, it's not a one-size-fits-all approach; it varies from person to person. But one thing to remember is the ultimate goal of creating a personal brand, which is gaining the trust of the people you will serve with your product or service.
In the words of Zig Ziglar, "If people like you, they will listen to you, but if they trust you, they'll do business with you."
In summary, personal brand marketing is a field that allows for self-discovery and exploration. You can reinvent yourself and create a brand image that aligns with your business goals. However, remember that personal branding is not a one-size-fits-all approach and varies depending on your unique circumstances. Regardless, the primary objective is to gain people's trust and create a loyal customer base.
In the words of Zig Ziglar, "If people like you, they'll listen to you. But if they trust you, they'll do business with you."