In the traditional sense of branding, companies create a logo, a mission and a core set of values to promote their product. Over time these ideas become ensconced in the very products they sell. Consumers begin to recognize their products for the ideas that are invoked, often times at independent of the actual benefit/features of the product. We know major brands like Nike, Apple and Facebook. These companies practically sell themselves. But, how do you create a personal brand?
Personal brands are important, specifically if you are a new entrepreneur, contractor, public speaker or other professional hoping to carve a niche for yourself. What are the best ways to do that; to draw a unique following and truly become a brand? Here are three steps to help you get started.
Have a Conversation With Yourself
Lot’s of people think that creating a personal brand means appropriating popular ideas. If you share this misconception, you are mistaken. Creating a personal brand begins with having an honest conversation about yourself; who you are; and what you do best. This is where you can excel and really run with your personal brand. Your brand is more than just what you do well or your occupation or service offering. It is the personal characteristics that define you as well. Find two or three of your most positive traits that are the most prominent and let those become the foundation of your brand.
Be True to Who You Are
Creating a unique personal brand means being true to yourself. Don’t take on work, marketing, or other company initiatives that go against those three core principals you have identified. People need for a personal brand to make sense. That means if clean healthy organic food is your dish, don’t be caught hawking chintzy fast food no matter how much you’re offered by a supplier. Betraying the brand confuses and turns off your clientele. If advocacy is your thing, don’t hide from an issue that effects your brand. Let’s say you’re a green for good consultant and a new piece of legislation passes that will permit fracking in Yellowstone Park. Being silent on this front is only going to make your brand irrelevant. Sometimes you have to get into the fray. Carefully, but don’t shy away from your niche. Be true to your brand—because that’s who you are.
Stay on Track
It’s quite all right to seek new ventures! But keep your eyes on the opportunities that further your product offering, service or vocation. Evaluate whether an opportunity takes you toward your goal or away from it. Don’t over commit, even if it is a good opportunity. Find a way to manage your time or defer it. Think about the end before you begin. Ask yourself whether an opportunity or partnership furthers your brand. If it does, take it on! If it doesn’t turn it down. The more you get your brand and your service/product into the right arenas, the better your name recognition will be. Also, remember, even if an opportunity looks small or menial, if it reinforces your brand, do it! There are no small jobs in life, only small thinking. Every action you take in the right direction gets you closer to your goal.