Some see personal branding as a form of self-promotion and that is correct but that is only a small part of it. Through the process of developing a personal branding strategy you need to discover what is truly important to you and your company and what you can provide better than any other company to the market. The key is to determine what you do best first, then how that skill can serve your customers and potential customers better than anyone else. Once determined, you can use this brand to build your image, visibility in the market and create interest in you and your company.
Since we can all be instantly connected now through social network sites and smart phones personal branding has become a required marketing element for everyone in business. It is highly probable that the first contact a customer will make with you is through your website or via an email. First impressions are just as important online as they are in face to face meetings and a well thought out brand image and strategy can be the difference between landing a new client and not.
Here are 4 key elements that an effective personal brand should include:
1. Your personality
2. Your Appearance
3. Your Competencies
4. What makes you different
The message you want your clients to receive about you must be included in these elements. You should consider these elements the “must have foundation” that your entire branding strategy is built on.
It answers the question: What is it about you that make people want to do business with you and your company? Start by recording 6-8 things about yourself that you feel people like. Don’t worry about bragging – it is necessary at this point in the exercise. If you have weaknesses try to turn those into strengths. For example if you are not outgoing spin this weakness into being a good listener.
Take a close look at your overall appearance. Not just your personal style but also your website, facebook and/or LinkedIn page, business cards and brochures. Look at your office too. Is it well organized, efficient and welcoming for clients?
All of your marketing materials should tell a story about your company competencies in way that inspires excitement. Too many brochures simply list product and features without even trying to get the client excited about the amazing things the product or you will do for them.
Try not to shy away from being really critical about the mistakes you have made in personal branding. It’s never too late to get started with a personal branding strategy. In fact it should be constantly tweaked to keep up with new marketing channels and new developments in your market. Strive to be the trendsetter in your market. Always be the first to improve the quality of your offerings and be laser focused on your customer’s needs.