After nearly two decades of marketing and branding businesses, I needed to shift and use my experience to brand individuals for a new career path. I quickly came to realize it is much more challenging branding a person than a company. I now have much admiration for influencers and other individuals who have excelled in doing just that.
For starters, companies spend big money on branding. They hire outside agencies, have decent budgets and many have spent years building a strong go-to-market identity.
I’m hoping my blogs and Minute of Marketing YouTube series offers value in helping you lose all inhibitions to create your own personal brand and campaign. The process is entirely egocentric and at times uncomfortable, but you’ve got to flaunt what you’ve got. Let’s get started!
DEFINE YOURSELF BY BRANDING
Who are you and what value do you bring to your profession or lifestyle? Don’t dig too deep on this one but seriously, what are you good at? If you’re a real estate agent, are you a location expert because you’ve grown up in an area? If you’re a lawyer, what area of law do you specialize in? Are you a consultant or specialist, what is your niche – where do you excel? What makes you, you? Pretty much, what are you good at and why does that deliver value? Most importantly, what is your unique selling proposition?
Keep in mind that your competition may deliver the same service as you do. Don’t think of it as WHAT you do but HOW you do it. It’s your client’s experience they have with you that sets you apart, keeps them coming back for more and referring you to others. You should be able to provide the answer to what results you deliver and how that sets you apart. How do your clients feel after working with you?
When I was in the consulting world – not only did I deliver marketing strategies which are the same as my competitors, but I guaranteed results and offered measurability. What made me unique is that I focused on ROI and didn’t require a long-term agreement. This way if I didn’t deliver or they didn’t think I did – they weren’t stuck with me and could cancel in 30-days at any time.
ESTABLISH THE IDEAL CONSUMER
This is more difficult to answer. “I want to target women who make more than $100K per year”, is not enough. You need to clearly define what your audience looks like. Is your target customer an entrepreneur? Do they have a family with kids? Do they work for a small or large business? Are they younger or are they older? Where can you reach them? Are they online, are their noses buried behind magazine covers? Where do they work? Are they in stores, on social media? Most importantly, are they empowered to make decisions?
What are they looking for? What do they need? Are they looking for a real estate agent, lawyer, mortgage, a logo, campaign, a new hairstyle? Write a narrative about what they look like and look for so you can target them.
Also, who is your target consumer going to now for the service they desire and why would they use you? What makes you special (from your defining exercise above) and why would they switch? What conversation would you have with them if you were sitting across from them?
For me, I was looking for small business owners with a business offering I could relate to. I knew from years of helping dentists or accountants, that was not the direction I wanted to go. I wanted a relatable field – fitness, fashion, entertainment, food or retail. Because I pride myself on becoming the expert in whatever I market, I want to understand all sides of my task and it must be something I enjoy.
I also focused on business size – I wanted a large enough business to have a decent budget to work with but not a huge entity that I couldn’t manage on my own without hiring a crew.
LET YOUR PERSONALITY SHINE THROUGH YOUR BRANDING
Your brand should be authentically you. Be relatable! Remember your customers are real people and they want to identify with you as a person.
Show off how compelling and interesting you can be and why you are the expert in what you do. Be multi-dimensional and do not edit your personality out of your writing or videos. Your personality is a big part of what will make you a brand.
Combine your value with who you are targeting and wrap it up with your unique personality as part of the brand building process. Mix in your recreational hobbies, sports, strengths, weaknesses – anything that defines you and creates a bond. Make your story personal and authentic.
For me, I used that I’m “small but mighty” and not a “slippery salesman in a shiny suit.” I noted that I like boating and the energy of the water, the smell of ink fresh off the press and how my son is a wrestler. So, I understand the fear of stepping on a mat knowing you might not win but have the strength to go out anyway. I added that I’ve had many personal fails, so know what it takes to get back up after falling.
LET’S GET STARTED BUILDING YOUR BRAND
Now that you’ve defined yourself and your value, identified your target market and thought about how to let your personality shine – write your branding statement.
This is not unlike writing a positioning statement for a business. This is unique to you and will clearly describe what you do and who you serve. This statement will be on your website, your social media platforms and woven through all of your messaging.
On my next blog, I will expand more into using your brand to develop visual elements and setting up your own domain, website layout, blogs, social presence, videos and more.