When it comes to branding, oftentimes business owners make the mistake of focusing solely on their company's brand. While having a strong company brand is an important factor, when just starting out, and even beyond, people want to do business with other people, not with brands.
This means that creating a personal brand can give you the competitive edge over your competition, and assist you when it comes to generating sales, finding investors, and more.
But how do you generate a credible and trustworthy brand for yourself? Learn how to brand yourself with these 6 key steps:
Step 1: Clearly Define Your Core Values
This is the starting point of any brand, personal or otherwise. You must define what is important to you and what you want to project to those around you, whether those people are potential clients, partners, or investors. Start applying these core values to how you interact with others and present yourself publicly.
Examples of personal brand core values include:
Obviously there are many more, so choose a few that best represent you and your company!
Step 2: Build and Demonstrate Your Expertise
This won’t happen overnight, but it is essential to your personal brand. You must learn to demonstrate your expertise in a variety of different ways.
A few ways to do this include:
- Writing articles and blog posts
- Giving talks and lectures at the local college or small business group
- Host workshops
- Proving your value through clients (ask for testimonials and reviews)
- Host a podcast or video blog
Be sure to highlight your core values in most of the work that you do. The values you choose should be at the core of just about everything you do, so make sure it is evident in each piece that you write or talk you give.
Step 3: Focus on Personality
Even if you have all the expertise in the world, if people don’t like you, odds are they won’t buy from you. Now, while you can’t necessarily change your personality, you can be aware that there may be certain traits (or some might call them personality defects) you have that might not jive well with everyone.
The best way to handle this is to identify and evaluate any areas of your personality that might prove to be an issue. Self evaluation and awareness can help you tone down certain aspects of your personality when in business situations.
Step 4: Create a Look
I hate to say it, but looks are important when it comes to creating a brand. How you present yourself to others will influence what they think of you. But also, if you dress a certain way all the time, it can be very jarring when you walk in with a totally different look.
The best way to keep the focus where you want it is to create a look that you stick with consistently. This will allow you to focus other's attention on your values and expertise, and not the way you look.
Another way to enforce this is to have professional photographs taken ever so often so that you can include them on your online profiles, and present a consistent look even on the internet.
Step 5: Be Consistent Online
In the digital age, a quick Google search can be highly revealing. Your digital footprint is a key component to your personal brand, so be sure to take the time to build a consistent brand across a variety of online platforms.
This means including information such as:
- A brief bio highlighting who you are.
- Links to your social media sites, website, and/or blog.
- Education and background.
- A professional looking photo.
- Information about your business: products, services, website, clients.
- And maybe even a few favorite hobbies or activities you enjoy.
This information can go on a multitude of platforms. You can use it on your company’s website, your personal website, and on social media platforms.
Besides creating a personal website or using your company’s website, you should also create a LinkedIn Profile that you review and update periodically. LinkedIn is an important tool to use in the online business networking world, and can prove invaluable if used correctly.
Step 6: Monitor And Realign Your Brand
Turn on Google Alerts, so that you are aware whenever someone mentions you online. And request feedback from clients or peers who you feel comfortable with and who you know will provide honest information.
Just like you realign a business, be willing to realign your brand when necessary. If something isn't working, make the necessary adjustments and try something else.
Never underestimate the power of branding yourself. It can prove to be a very useful tool when it comes to building your business or moving up in your career goals.
About the Author - Jeff Reinstein is the Chief Executive Office of Premier Business Centers. He has been, and continues to be, instrumental in the growth of the company which has added 60 plus locations since Mr. Reinstein first joined in October of 2002.