As business owners and leaders we are constantly tasked with many responsibilities and wear many hats in our organizations. Your company’s brand is a big component of your success. What about your personal brand, does it move the consumer to purchase your product or use your services?
Think of what your company brand stands for. Does it move the consumer to purchase your product or use your service? Now imagine this, you answer yes to this question but what about your personal brand, does it move the consumer to purchase your product or use your services?
This question is especially important in small and emerging businesses. What’s one of the first things people will do when considering doing business with you? They look you up, Google you, visit LinkedIn; they want to know more about the leader behind the company.
So does your personal brand move a consumer to purchase your product or use your service?
“People buy your personality and ideas long before they buy your products and services” – Napoleon Hill
Last week I presented to the Association of Corporate Council, Chicago Chapter Diversity Internship program participants and mentors about this very topic. The training entitled Me, Inc. – Personal Branding: What’s your story?, made me think about the importance of personal brand and its impact on a business?
I would like to use this opportunity to discuss personal branding from a slightly different perspective.
This post will define
What is Personal Branding by answering a few questions:
1. What is your personal brand Value Proposition?
2. How does your personal brand differentiate you?
3. How marketable is your personal brand?
What is Personal Brand?
A perception or emotion maintained by somebody other than you describing the total experience of having a relationship with you.
Brand is a relationship; Promise + Experience = Relationship (Jerry Wilson, Chief Customer and Commercial Officer, Coca Cola)
What is Personal Branding?
The process in which individuals differentiate themselves by identifying and articulating their unique value proposition and then leveraging it across platforms with a consistent message and image to achieve a specific goal
Personal branding is a process to achieve a specific goal. Do you want to be considered and industry leader or expert? What personal branding efforts are you utilizing to reach that goal?
Your Brand should be:
What is your personal brand Value Proposition?
A statement that summarizes why a client should buy your services. It should convince potential clients that your particular service will add more value than other similar offerings.
In other words, it is the reasoning for:
What do you stand for?
Why should I work with you?
Why should I use your services?
What is so Special about you?
One recommendation is to perform a professional SWOT. Understand your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Also participate in self assessments like a personality, behavioral or cultural sensitivity assessment to better understand how others perceive you. Finally, seek out individuals, peers, colleagues or clients who will give you honest constructive feedback.
Next, how does your personal brand differentiate you?
After you assess yourself you need to figure out how you can leverage your strengths to the maximum level. What makes you stand out? While your value proposition answers who you are, differentiating synthesizes the information to identify the key elements that make you stand out. It is what makes you unique.
What can you offer that no one else can? What do you do that adds remarkable, measurable, distinguishable, memorable and distinctive value?
Finally, you must FINE TUNE your distinctiveness!
After you find out what makes you distinctive you must fine tune it. So how do you do that? You have to communicate (sell) it to your perspective clients, referral partners, strategic partners and network so this is the only way they think of you.
How marketable is your personal brand?
You must remember that “You’re always on STAGE!”
Everything you do, everything you chose not to do communicates the value and the character of your brand. It is important to clearly communicate your personal brand. Send out the message that you intend and the one that you want your audience to get.
Don’t underestimate the Power of “word of mouth!” Nurture your network and your web visibility. What will someone find if they Google you right now. Is it up to your brand standard? Go ahead, stop reading and Google yourself and look at what pops up on page one. This is how people who search you will see you. In the first .25 seconds, people make their first impression of you. What is your first impression of yourself after you did your Google search? Does it need some fine tuning?
Managing your brand will enable you to build brand loyalty in addition to helping you build and grow your business. You must constantly work to maintain your new brand standard. People will notice, they will trust you more and you will gain credibility.
That’s the power of your personal brand!
Special thanks to Jemma Lee, Consulting Intern of Boone Management Group Inc for the research that went into pulling this all together!