Consider what makes Google's Brand so powerful.
Why the marketing universe revolves around brands?
Do you think of yourself as a brand? Sounds demeaning, in a way doesn't it? A brand makes you sound like a thing. Like you're a Walmart, McDonald’s, or Google.
But these corporate giants make the real money, and they do it by building a brand story made of words and images that have a powerful impact on consumers.
However, if you are self-employed, a pro blogger, author, or freelancer, you must also consider your identity as a brand to market your products and services effectively. The only way to effectively market a brand is telling your story. In case you’re wondering, most individuals and small business are not very effective in this area.
So, creating a strong personal brand sets you apart in the market and plants you in the minds of others. Not only is the image ingrained in minds, if effective, the image or brand becomes a meme (Richard Dawkins' definition) with the potential to go viral.
Personal branding arises from a series of first impressions that build to a recognizable image: personal, negative, positive, or somewhere in between. In essence, the brand becomes like a person. Once consumers feel like they know and trust your brand and why it exists, then you can sell to them.
A consistent, personal, and powerful brand is key to any business success.
You can rise to a higher level of authority and influence as you elevate your brand story, by being social, strategic, and authentic, in your written and visual communication with the public. The first steps seem obvious in their simplicity: "be likable," "be consistent," be memorable." You obviously need to make these moves, but arriving at that the end point is the supreme challenge of marketing. What is your first strategic step?
General guides for establishing a brand are useful.
The graphic has a lot of valuable information. The steps in the image build upon one another, each step making the next easier to accomplish. If you love what you do, for example, setting yourself apart from the competition by doing what you are passionate about can be relatively easy.
Branding is also an evolutionary process, where you learn and grow from success and failure, improving each step along the path of your brand story. How will you know what to adapt?
If you communicate well with employees and audience, ideas should become apparent. These are the people you strive to impress, and if you speak with them regularly, you will know their wants and needs.
If your strategy is correct, you can sell to them big time. Look at what Amazon has done. Most online businesses are highly scalable to create the vision you dream of.
But most self-employed people who operate an individual or small business don’t pay attention to branding or they just get it wrong. For an entrepreneur, so many tasks need attention, and small businesses put off the the big picture - longevity in business requires a consistent and powerful brand.
Creating a powerful brand is hard work, and you are right to be fearful. But, you are intelligent, passionate, and you can do it.
Specific values and missions are the core of personal branding.
Each step in the personal branding model above includes what needs to occur, but the infographic fails to capture how you might go about evolving an image strategy. Nor does it include the foundation of a personal brand. It provides you with few tools to accomplish what is required.
To develop a unique image and identity, you need a strong understanding of personal branding, and Dan Schawbel in "The Real Definition of Personal Branding:"
describes the process by which individuals and entrepreneurs differentiate themselves and stand out from a crowd by identifying and articulating their unique value proposition, whether professional or personal, and then leveraging it across platforms with a consistent message and image to achieve a specific goal.
The "why" refers to the values which are the core of your branding. You must start here for success. If you don't know why you do it, then whatever you might accomplish serves no real purpose.
Building upon value statements, individuals can enhance their recognition as experts in their field, establish reputation and credibility, advance their careers, and build self-confidence.
The value proposition Schawbel describes is a statement of your core mission and purpose. It answers the question why. Why did you choose your work? If your answer is to get rich or even just make money, you are headed in a negative direction. Have you created a mission statement or manifesto? Take a look at the vision that drivesZipMinis.
That anchor drives all that we do and provides meaning for our activities.
Your value proposition that you center your self branding on resides in the core of your being, where your passion, empathy, and innovative vision reside. The drive you find there is the motivation that causes you to act.
Once you recognize your whole motivation or mission, you are in a position where you can begin conveying your image consistently across social platforms. You project your values through the image you create, and you show how you are powerfully unique.
A hint: your value proposition should be directed at helping others somehow. How can I help this group of people? How can I better my community?
The resulting self branding is what makes you a successful interviewer, and once you have a client's trust, your products and services are marketable.
Schawbel reveals that Tom Peters of Fast Company coined the idea in August 1997, but influencers in marketing are just starting to discuss the matter in the media, with a lot of publications just in the last week.
Why now? Because the internet is hyper social, and if people do not recognize your brand positively in the social media, you are screwed.
Lack of social presence creates invisibility. You don't exist.
You will create your powerful presence through social means: blogs, websites, emails, and social media. People will know you (or not) through the brand you create through images and writing.
What are actionable areas I can use to work toward a powerful value and brand?
Put yourself in consistent control of your innovative thinking, writing, and imagery, and people will flock to you as a leader. Convey your brand with a positive and powerful social message, and you will rule your market segment.
In coming posts, I will dig deeper into to actionable ways to accomplish this. I will look at visual and written language branding and how to enhance your image.
Your job between now and then is to focus on your value proposition, the "why" for what you do. With this focus, together, we'll sore to unexpected heights.
I hope these ideas got you thinking about your own brand, and I would love to hear other thoughts and ideas you have. Please include them below in the comment section and I will be sure to get back to you. Give me a version of your value proposition, and I will provide you with feedback.
Check out these articles:
Sharing Tools for You: