Unique has become the new normal. It is how you get into the college of your choice. It is how you make friends. If you are not unique in the world today, you propel yourself into extinction. While it is tempting to be general, you are more likely to leave your mark if your brand represents one unique quality.
How do I build my brand?
Take a step back. You will need to first understand your own value.
Your value isn’t based on who you work for or your position at a job. It’s based on what you’re able to bring to the table. What do you do extremely well and who does it best serve? In business, we invest in finding a target audience and a niche market for our products and services. It helps you narrow down the list of potential customers (or employers) who you can best help and who you are passionate about engaging with. Create a value proposition that speaks to what you do and who you help most.
In order to effectively position your personal and unique brand in the workplace and in your community, you have to know what issues your environment is facing and how you could be a part of the solution. What does a organization stand to lose without you? That is where your value lies.
Now, branding. A brand is a collection of things – a symbol, design, name, sound, reputation, emotion, employees, tone and much more – that separates one thing from another. In the case of McDonald’s, the golden arches separate the product from that of all other fast food restaurants.
Branding on a business level is common, but today branding is becoming just as important on a personal level. After all, you might work for a business that works with other businesses, but it’s also people working with people and that’s what makes business relationships valuable.
Take these steps: create a personal brand vision, define your audience and create online and office assets. This very closely resembles how businesses build their brands.
1) Create a personal brand vision.
Businesses create vision and mission statements. Creating a personal brand begins much the same way. Only you can determine how you want your life to unfold. You can’t control every aspect of your life, but you can create a long-term vision and develop steps to achieve that vision.
Linking your brand to emotions will strengthen the way it is received. Humans have a desire to be understood. Shared emotions will often trump differences. For example, friendships can be built on common likes as well as dislikes. If your brand forms naturally, out of strong emotions, let it happen. This genuine form of brand-building is rare and valuable. If you are not ready to feel vulnerable, you will not build a strong brand vision for yourself.
2) Define your audience.
Once you have your vision, it is time to determine who your target audience is. In the business world, most people are selling products, services or something else they offer. For your personal brand, you will be selling your unique characteristics and the value you add, to your target audience. In most cases, it will be your employers, your peers and, potentially, prospective mentors.
3) Create online and offline assets.
Your asset strategy should be simple, with the aim to address the questions and solve the problems that your target audience has. In personal branding, assets are the things you own that will communicate your brand message to your target audience. Assets are things like your own website and blog, but they can also be things like your Twitter handle and your LinkedIn profile. Offline assets are things like business cards and or traditional newsletters that you send out.
- Social media – You could start with Facebook, which is an affirmation that you exist. Next, move on to Twitter and Instagram.
- Professional media – Start with LinkedIn, the biggest social network aimed at professionals. Your LinkedIn account is affirmation that you exist in the professional world, are employed now, and have been employed in the past. It is not only a helpful place to look for opportunities beyond your current job, but it also shapes the way your colleagues in your current job see you. The extent to which you keep your profile up to date, the descriptions you have crafted for yourself and the content that you share paint a picture of how engaged you are in your career development and growth.
- Personal website – Your personal website is the most important element of your brand strategy. This is because you own the content on your site and you control the platform. It is also because not everyone invests time in maintaining a website, unlike a Facebook or LinkedIn account. This will help you to stand out in a crowd of future leaders. (Obtain an exact match domain for your brand name, because people generally trust a website URL that matches your name as close as possible.)
- Personal Blog – A blog gives you an opportunity to present fresh, relevant content to your target audience. You could launch promotions, as well as link it to your social media, professional media and personal website. Once you are comfortable with managing a blog, expand this strategy by responding to your target audience in online forums, and linking your answers to your personal media and blog. This is a very similar strategy to that of product marketing teams, which create content for their audience in order to build trust and expertise, before suggesting they purchase their product.
- Hosting or attending events – Imagine if you became the connection point in an industry or marketplace for your target audience. Focus on bringing your online and offline supporters together to put a face, voice and body to your name using the skills mentioned in Chapter 7 of Built to be CEO (available on Amazon). Hosting an event will also give you the opportunity to interview industry influencers which, in turn, will strengthen your brand’s credibility.
What happens after I build my brand? Read more at www.builttobeCEO.com