Personal Branding is all the rage lately in business articles, posts and online courses being offered by marketing experts all over the internet. Something only celebrities and well-known public figures had to worry about in the past, creating a personal brand is imperative for those wishing to succeed in an ever more competitive market. It’s also one of the most effective ways to attract the type of clients and job opportunities you really want.
If you’re an entrepreneur, CEO, direct sales associate, real estate agent, business coach, health coach, life coach, speaker, author, service provider, influencer or public figure you should definitely be paying attention to your personal brand and the messaging you’re putting out into the world. The more well known you are as an expert in your field, the more sought after you will become, the higher price you can charge and the more likely you’ll be attracting your favorite type of client.
So, What Is Personal Branding?
Personal branding is just a fancy word for your reputation and the cool thing is, there are specific things you can do to mold and shape it to your advantage. If your business was a person, your brand would be what that person is wearing, what music they listen to, how they speak, do their hair, what kinds of people they hang out with, where they shop, their beliefs and ideals, how much money they have, their style. And that brand/person would attract other people who like that person.
There’s a tribe for everyone and personal branding is the first step toward attracting yours, along with the ideal clients who really need your talents and services and are willing to pay a premium for them. The great thing about a personal brand is that you are totally unique and therefore nobody can copy you! Determining which qualities you have that are desirable to your target audience and highlighting those is key.
We’re putting so much out into the world about ourselves these days that our reputations can potentially reach far beyond our local social circles. It’s easier than ever before to brand yourself as whatever you want to be, while still being authentic to yourself, in order to advance in your career, build a business or expand your sphere of influence. If you’re not deliberately creating a personal brand that’s leading you toward your goals then you’re missing out on so much opportunity!
With these things in mind, thinking about your target audience, how can you shape your personal brand to attract your ideal customers and get the attention of those you want to influence?
There are several tools you can use to level up your brand image and become more sought after. Here are a few:
It is helpful to come up with an “elevator pitch” so you can easily share with people what you do. Don’t confuse people with trade jargon or long-drawn out statements.
*Need help with creating your “elevator pitch”?
1. Start with a strategy and your message
It’s pointless to have a logo, website, brochures, trade show booth, book or podcast and even social media pages created until you have a solid strategy for the brand creation, promotion and growth and have clearly defined your target audience, message and story. Don’t waste your time and money creating all the visual, outward representations of your brand before you do this!
If you’ve never created a brand yourself, I recommend you get professional help. If the designer or agency creating the visual aspects of your brand (photography, logo, website, social media, etc) skips this step, it’s a red flag.
2. Represent your brand at all times
How you dress, how you speak and write, how you treat people, where you hang out, what you say on social media, your political stance, the topics you present in person or on virtual interviews, these things all affect your personal brand. While you want to be authentic to you, you don’t have to show everything about your life to the public.
If you want to present a refined and tasteful you to your audience of posh CEOs, posting pictures of yourself in your pajamas in your cluttered kitchen might not be a good idea. If your target audience is stressed out moms, a messy bun and minivan full of sticky kids totally works!
3. Create your visual assets
One mistake I often see businesses and personal brands make is doing this step first, when it can be more properly done after you’ve been in business for some time and have clarity about your target audience and how you need to show up for them. Also, having a proof of concept (meaning people are buying what you’re selling) is important before you invest heavily in creating visual assets for your brand.
While this is a step I recommend you later on in the process of creating your personal brand, it is perhaps the most important. This is how you create recognizability. Think about McDonalds, Target, Tiffany’s. We all recognize their brands because we’ve seen them a million times and their look is consistent and clear.
When you’re first starting out, it’s ok to DIY some of these things, especially if you don’t have a proof of concept and capital to spend yet. But when you’re ready to really take your brand to the next level, you should hire a professional to create a brand style, including a style guide, and any or all of the following, based on your brand strategy:
- Photography for your website, social media, ads, presentations
- Social media template
- Business cards (optional in this day and age)
- Speaker sheet
- Online course
Consistency is key when having your visual assets created and using them. The goal is to create recognizability. For personal branding, photographs of you are perhaps the most important aspect you could invest in because they can be the foundation of all these other things. When you are the brand, your face needs to be everywhere. Think about Oprah, Bobby Flay, Kim Kardashian. We recognize them by their face, not their logo.
4. Put yourself out there
Last but not least is the ongoing process of getting yourself and your brand in front of the people. This is considered marketing and there are a million ways to do it. Ideally, the avenue you go with should be decided, or at least initially decided, during the brand strategy stage of your planning so everything you do after that can be a foundation for these next steps. But your marketing plan may change over time. This part can be somewhat experimental. You may consider one or more the following:
- Host a podcast
- Be a guest on a podcast
- Be a guest speaker for audiences of your target market
- Post consistently on social media, including in groups
- Build an email list with webinar and send weekly emails
- Write a book and use it as a lead generator and to get speaking engagements
- Write a column for an online magazine
- Seak out guest appearances on tv,radio
- Get featured in newspapers, magazines and online publications
If you’re ready to take your brand to that next level of professionalism, my team might be the right fit for you. We help coaches, consultants and service based businesses go from struggling to six figures and beyond with a brand that looks like a million bucks! We start with our unique “BrandStorm” process to get your strategy and messaging in place, then create the visual assets that make your unique brand shine. We do this all within a 1 to 3 day intensive process, so you can get out there and start promoting yourself right away. For more information visit www.workstorycreative.com