Your personal brand is the impression others have of you from their first interaction; whether it be online, via email or in person, to the business transaction and beyond. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs don’t put enough emphasis on the importance of developing a personal brand until they’ve wasted precious time and resources building a brand that has everything to do with their products and services and nothing to do with them!
Take a look at these 3 personal brand strategies that will reflect your most valuable business asset… you:
Being who you are at your best is crucial to making a personal connection with your clients/audiences. It’s common that clients come to me thinking that they need to ‘be’ a certain person. Possibly someone their parents, colleague or spouse suggested they be.
When you’re not freely and courageously expressing yourself you’re selling your potential short.
I was a free-spirited and expressive child who was quite the tomboy. I attended a strict private school for some of my formative years and it was at that time I adopted the message that I should always be a proper lady. My inner voice always telling me, “It’s just not appropriate to … (fill in the blank).”
Let people know who you are.
Not long ago, my personal branding coach (yep, I have one too) told me that I was coming across as ‘too buttoned up.’ She reflected that I was much more casual in my personality than my branding was expressing. I invest in experts and I trust them, so I immediately took action and, as a start, re-wrote my bio. Yes, my bio lists my training and accomplishments, but more importantly, it tells a story of who I am. Here’s an excerpt:
“I’m never able to pass a dog without stopping to pet it and although it may be surprising I’m not really a girly girl. I love camping and hiking and I’m not afraid to scuff up my boots or get dirt under my nails. My introverted side loves to put on my comfy pj’s, snuggle on the couch, and read or watch my favorite drama or psychological thriller. I bake a mean white nectarine rhubarb lattice-work pie, love country music, friendly people, Mexican food, and Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey.”
Instant Action: Inventory your branding and see how you score in expressing who you are! This is one of my favorite personal brand strategies.
Be the Face of Your Brand
“One way to get your brand out there, once it’s been established, is to become the face of it. Positioning yourself as an influencer or an expert in your field will allow you to become an extension of your brand, something which has proven to be a cost-effective way of attracting potential customers.” Angela Lussier, virgin.com.
As a solopreneur, there’s no better way to connect with your customers than face-to-face interaction.
You wouldn’t attend a live networking event with a bag over your head, would you? The same is true, when, as an individual, you are not visible in your digital brand presence.
Hiding behind your brand when you should be the face of it is leaving money on the table every day.
Let’s begin by identifying what ‘being the face of your brand’ means. It means people identify you personally with your organization. That you are magnetizing the clients and opportunities. Richard Branson’s face has become synonymous with Virgin and Barbara Corcoran is the first face you think of when you hear The Corcoran Group.
After Carmela became the face of her brand, she immediately had three members join her team, she was invited to two new networking platforms, and reported that two prospects who had turned her down in the past had reached out to work with her. She felt confident to become the face of her brand because she was crystal clear on her ‘why’ and was able to define it in her online presence and in live conversations with prospects.
Instant Action: Become the face of your brand and schedule a photo shoot with a highly-skilled photographer. Ask a trusted colleague(s) to help you choose the image that captures your essence. Then, update all of your profile pictures with the same image which will create brand consistency.
Customers want to work with brands they know, like, and trust. Representing a consistent brand voice is impactful in letting consumers get to know you and your organization. When they know you, they will identify with your brand culture and be more likely to purchase from you. If you look at any of the 3 personal brand strategies I recommend, you will see that they all tie together.
Whether it’s a print ad or a television commercial, the stark white (or light gray) background paired with bold colorful outfits and pops of red throughout, become easily identifiable as Target. While the Target logo is present in some, many times the brand is evident sans the popular logo.
Your customers trust brands they recognize.
Brand recognition isn’t just about getting your name out there. It’s about helping consumers get to know you and your brand on a more personal level.
The decision to make a purchase is an emotional one, more than a practical one.
Think of a time when you made a decision based on emotion. Was it when you bought the mini-van because you could envision your kids in the back seat with their Goldfish and juice. Or possibly it was a luxury sedan and you knew your high-end clients would appreciate the fine-tuned features as you drove them to a business lunch.
Auto manufacturers spend an average of $4.5 billion annually creating a consistent brand aesthetic so it engages the right emotions for consumers. Consumers feel like they know the brand and trust it. Consider this, giving customers a dependable brand presence reflects dependable service and a dependable product.
Is your brand presence conveying what you want?
Let’s take that a step further and think of your personal brand presence, the one you take with you when you attend a business function or networking event. Consider dressing in the style and color palette of your branding. It makes you instantly recognizable and again, will deepen the trust, dependability and credibility factor.
Once we had created Lori’s digital brand, she began to dress the part. She attended a business conference and someone who had yet to meet her in person, but had visited her website and perused her social media outlets, told her, “You are exactly like I thought you’d be!” Bingo…. just what we were working towards.
Investing in your personal brand is crucial to attracting the clients you desire.
The principals are simple yet essential in representing the culture of your brand. Have confidence in your strengths and uniqueness and others will, too. Being the face of your brand will help others get to know you and shorten the sales cycle. Maintaining consistency in the look and feel of your brand will build trust and credibility. Your mix of confidence, a familiar face, and consistency are a winning combination that will have others clamoring to do business with you.
As I mentioned earlier, Richard Branson and Barbara Corcoran are prime examples of successful personal brands. Take a deeper dive into their online presence and you will see even more personal brand strategies in play.
Who would you add to the list of impactful personal brands?
I’d love to hear your comments about the 3 personal brand strategies listed. Please comment below!