Everywhere you look these days, people are talking about the importance of building your brand. In the past, branding was something that was reserved for politicians and athletes. But these days, everyone, regardless of their industry, should be concerned about building their brand. In this modern era when everyone has updated information at their fingertips at all times, you want to position yourself to be able to take control of your image, even in the event that you are getting negative press.
Here are a couple of ways to get a jump start on your branding efforts.
1- Determine Your Approach
What exactly is it that you want to be known for? This is the most important step for branding success. You have to know yourangle before you start throwing things out there. It's much easier to take your time and develop your message than it is to throw things out there, then have to backtrack and clean things up later.
2- Study The Experts
There are certain people who dominate their industries, and make it look incredibly easy. But trust and believe, it probably looks a lot easier on the outside than it is on the inside. Most people who are considered heavy hitters in their respective fields have spent years working on their approach. Luckily for us on the outside we have a front row seat, and for all intents and purposes, a shortcut to learning how to build our own personal brands. If there are people who you admire, and they've done an excellent job at building their brand, you have the perfect opportunity to learn from them. Now, that doesn't mean make your brand mirror theirs. It is never a good idea to create an EXACT duplicate of someone else's brand. Instead, look to them for guidance and inspiration. Reach out to them and ask questions about what they did when they were in your position, or what tips they may have for you as you continue to build. Take those tips and figure out how similar or different they are to the way you've been building so far. You have to pull out the things that make your brand unique.
3- Pick Your Platform
Your approach to how and why you want to build your brand will determine your platform of choice. There is a ton of debate in the digital atmosphere about establishing yourself on social media platforms effectively. Unless you have a team in place that is able to carry out a consistent voice, it is often extremely difficult to dominate on ALL platforms. But the good news is that you actually don't need to dominate on every single platform. Your target market may not be on all of those platforms. Perhaps you market to an older generation; Your ideal client (or next employer) is probably not on Snapchat. They are most likely to be found on LinkedIn or Facebook. Maybe your brand represents visual arts. In that case, something like Instagram or Pinterest is probably the best avenue. And maybe, after looking at the demographics for social media platforms, you realize that your audience is not even found on social media. Maybe they are sticklers about print media or in person networking. Pay attention to where your audience hangs out, and make your presence known.
4- Be Yourself
It's not enough to get out there and start rubbing elbows with every Tom, Dick, and Harry who might be interested in your brand. You've got to make sure that you are developing authentic relationships at all times. The tone of voice that your competitor uses may work well for them, but may sound awful for you. People will figure out very quickly whether or not you are truly genuine, and they will absolutely judge you for what they see. People appreciate authenticity. And they will much rather do business with someone they think they can trust. It does you no good to create this false persona online, only to have people discover a totally different person in real life. It gives them the impression that you don't value them, or that you aren't selling what you promise. Whatever you do, don't be that guy!
If you want to build your brand, you have to be willing to be patient throughout the process. The internet and social media have drastically changed the way we do business. We have to learn to roll with the punches, and be adaptable. We also have to remember to stay true to ourselves and what we originally set out to establish with our brand.
For more information on how to develop your own personal brand, download our FREE eBook on Branding when you subscribe to our list!