In the age when almost everything is branded and people feel connection to branded objects it is a good opportunity to use the power of personal branding to ramp up your engagement and potentially sales. Becoming a personal brand is quite complex and takes a lot of self-discovery and reflection but if you master this you can create followership which in turn leads to more opportunities.
Here are some notes on how to begin this journey…
What is Personal Branding?
For me, personal branding is leveraging your values and personality to increase engagement and promote yourself so you become more memorable and more meaningful to others.
From Trump to Mike Winnet, Alison Edgar and Oprah all these people have values and value we attach to them. Regardless of if you like them or not, you are advantaged because you feel like you “know” them which is what makes personal branding such a powerful tool. They have also been able to leverage themselves into positions of power or significance because they have stayed true to their brand identity. Trump is an excellent example of this. Entrepreneur come US President he leveraged his business acumen and used it to gain followership, selling himself as the person to make America a business and Great Again. Regardless of what you think of him personally (because let’s face it, you feel like you know him through all those tweets), he only gained that position by leveraging on his brand.
Why develop a Personal Brand?
- Recognition – instant recognition is a powerful thing. Walking into a room and people know who you are, or have seen you online. It does the leg work for you.
- Perceived Value – Starbucks, Rolex and Apple have values and perceived value. Just as Jessica Alba, Trump and Steve Jobs have values and value attached to them. We add that value based on our judgement, it is emotion driven. Emotional reinforcement is a significant driver.
- Trust – A recent study showed a 3rd of people will trust a brand, but 90% will trust somebody they FEEL they personally know. Trust is incredibly powerful, it is huge buying motivator.
- Incoming traffic – If you are recognisable, have a value to people and people feel they can trust you, it leads to incoming traffic. People will come to you.
How do you develop a Personal Brand?
Now a personal brand is actually not for everyone, you have to be able to be quite exposed and very consistent. But if you feel you have the stuff you can become…
- Meaningful – value driven, and that value resonating with others. This will make people pay attention to you.
- Memorable – Walk into a room, people are going to know who you are and what your values are.
- Visible – through communication and putting yourself in front of your audience.
It starts with you….
The first step in personal branding is figuring out who YOU are and what YOU stand for. This can’t be an edited version of the real you. It needs to be your core. Because if you start off as a super optimistic, empowering, business champ but actually you are a bit cynical, sarcastic and see through a lot of the nonsense that happens in the business world, it won’t be long before these messages trickle into your communications, and people will get really confused, really quickly and also just think you are a phoney. Personal Brand fail!
You need to…
- Define your values – personal branding is value driven and if you are clear about your values, you will attract others with similar values. What makes you, you? Make a list.
- Acknowledge your voice – what is your tone? If you are sarcastic be sarcastic, funny, be funny? Informal be informal. You are a voice for other people and there are all sorts of other people who need your voice. Don’t hold back and just be you.
- Pick your stage – think about which channels suit you, your voice and your audience. Personal, maybe Facebook, Business maybe Twitter, maybe it is a combination. Be consistent with your tone and messages.
- Consider colour association – there are natural and universal associations evoked by shapes and colours that are common to all of us. It is engaging on a psychological level. Dress yourself, your channels, your website. Tie it all up and make it consistent.
- Realise you can diversify – businesses evolve and so do people. If you understand what your values are, you can nurture and grow them over time. For example if you change careers but are still super optimistic, empowering, business champ, people will follow YOU not what you do. They will want to work with you regardless. Just don’t change the values willy nilly.
Engage other people
Now we’ve got you out of the way the only way to gain engagement is by captivating others. You might think you are the greatest thing ever but guess what? If you don’t give anything to others why will they follow you? In short, they won’t!
- Consider how you benefit others – what benefit are you delivering to others?
- Don’t self-promote – no humble bragging. Lead by example.
- Be self-aware – be conscious to how you come across. Ask others for “critical friend” feedback.
- Tell a story – Gossip is wired into the human brain, we learn to cooperate by telling stories. Storytelling makes you relatable and memorable.
- Plan it. Once you have done all these things, make a plan of what you will communicate and how.
- Define your values – if you struggle with this self reflection, ask others what they think your values are (how do you come across?)
- Think about how your values translate into activities that are of benefit to others (giveaways, downloads, video tips, articles)
- Make all your communication focus on these values/activities
- Make your communications engaging (images, video, personal tone)
- Make your communications as real as you can (use real images)
- Story tell in your communications
- If people engage, then connect with them in a real way. Like and comment.
- Check engagement and review. Repeat what works, bin what doesn’t. But stay consistent.
If you are you are employed or self-employed, looking for work or in education, you can start developing your personal brand today. Understanding yourself, delivering value to others and being consistent helps you to gain trust and be seen as a more credible, reliable source. It can help with promotions, opening new opportunities and winning hearts and minds. Having a strong brand is proven to increase your income by 10-25% so why not give it a bash?
If you have any questions about this or want to book me for a chat then drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.