Defining your personal brand is a must in today's day and age.
It will help you communicate your unique value proposition in a way that is builds trust and credibility. It will help differentiate you from others. And, it will help anchor all of the personal and professional decisions you make.
Given it's importance, you want to make sure you define your brand correctly.
So, here are some of my quick tips:
Get to know yourself. You are your brand. Come to terms with your past, understand your present and think about where you'd like to be in the future. It is the combination of all three of these things that will help you discover who you are and what you have to offer.
Discover your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Discover your USP, the unique value only you can provide to others. What makes, what you have to offer, different than what is already out there? Where's the value in that difference? Knowing and owning this will help you manage your brand and its efforts.
Practice mindfulness and intentionality
Be present and fully conscious of the decisions you are making day-to-day. They will impact you and your personal brand. Also, ensure that these choices are made with intent and purpose. Think about how they will affect your long-term branding objectives? How will your actions and words reflect on your brand? Will it alter your brand reputation? Think before you act.
Practice your pitch!
So, if you're your brand, then why do you have practice being you? You don't. However, you should practice how you communicate who you are. There's a difference. Define your elevator pitch. Practice it. Practice using different channels where your audience might be, or different mediums that might help make your message more impactful.
This is possibly my biggest, most important, tip. Once you've found your brand voice, purpose, message, visuals, etc. use them systematically. Post consistently and always maintain your level of quality. This will help others remember who you are, what you do, what you stand for and what they can expect from you. It will help you build trust and trust, in turn, builds brand loyalty.
Define your voice!
Your brand voice is made up of your brand tone, personality, language and non-verbal communication. All of these components put together can help your brand to be more relatable, accessible and memorable.
Know your purpose!
Understanding your why is so important. What is the reason your brand exists? Also, what does your brand stand for? The answers to these questions will help your brand have a clear vision and sense of direction. It will also serve to connect your audience and your brand to a shared objective. This, helps you create deeper rooted connections with your target.
This should be an overarching theme in everything you do. Just be you. Accept who you are and let that seep into how you communicate and interact with others. Super simple.
Do your research!
I am intentionally putting this point next. Always know your audience and let that guide how you brand comports itself. That is not to say you should alter your brand to fit your target. However, you should take into consideration who you are trying to reach and what their unique needs are in that moment. It can help you and your message resonate better with the person you are trying to connect with.
You have to hustle. Defining your personal brand can take a lot of work and dedication. You have to commit to that process. You also, then, have to work to build thought leadership and brand recognition once that is done. It requires time, effort and patience to build your network and grow your reach.
Know how to market yourself!
Along with being proactive, you have to understand the art, and science, of marketing. Defining and designing your brand isn't enough, you have to know how to share your value in a way that generates interest!
Comparing yourself to others can be quite unhealthy. You have to remember that everyone's brand journey is different and you simply might be at different stages of the process. However, it's good to keep an eye on others your industry or field. This will help you gauge your brand performance.
Diversify your platforms!
Diversify the platforms you're on. Get creative. You can have a blog, a website, different social media profiles, etc. It will help you widen your reach. The only thing to remember is that you have to be where your audience is and you have to be there consistently.
Create brand content!
By producing your own content you're not only building your thought leadership in the space, but you're also increasing your visibility and brand recognition. Through the content you create, you have the power to share your USP. Doing so, through quality content that is unique and of value will help your brand stand out and will help it secure an audience.
Curating content is great. By sharing the works of others, you are forging relationships across your industry. These individuals value the recognition you are giving them and in turn, you benefit from sharing content that can help spark new and insightful conversations within your audience. Curating content can also lead to wonderful opportunities for collaboration.
Do a S.W.O.T analysis!
Carrying out a S.W.O.T analysis can be quite useful. In fact, don't just do it once, do it often. It assesses your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats as a brand. It can help you gauge where your brand is currently at and where it has room to grow and improve.
Embrace creativity and innovate!
Always be open to innovation and thinking outside of the box. Your target's needs and wants are constantly changing, so in order to remain relevant, and of value, you must anticipate these changes and provide unique solutions.
Going along with number 16, be flexible. Your brand has to evolve alongside your audience for it to stay alive. It has to be willing to change and adapt, in order, to best serve the ever-changing needs, wants, behaviors and interests of your community.
Have brand ambassadors!
Think of all your friends, co-workers, partners, clients, etc. that can vouch for what you do and what you stand for. They are your brand advocates. They are your supporters. So, encourage them to share your efforts with others.
Personalize your interactions!
Take a genuine interest in the relationships you build online and offline. Your network, the community you build, are your biggest advocates. They are your brand tribe. Take the time to personalize your interactions with them. Get to know them, find common interests and check in with them periodically. This will help you build deeper connections with these individuals, something they will appreciate and remember come to time to recommend you.
You should be engaging with others as often as you can. It can be as simple as asking someone a question or checking in with someone you've recently met. Small interactions, over time, build trust.
Create a positive brand experience!
Yes, this is important for personal brands too. You want those you interact with to walk away feeling positively about the time and/or conversation they had with you. Ask yourself: what emotions do I want the people I am engaging with to feel after they've interacted with me?What do I want the takeaway to be? Are they getting an accurate sense of who I am?
Make sure your brand is approachable. Be accessible and offer support to those around you.
Be open to feedback!
Let it motivate you to keep moving forward and inspire you to make changes when needed!
Invest in good design!
Invest in good brand design. Your visual brand identity will help you build a cohesive image across online and offline. A good design will communicate your value, tell your brand story, appeal to your audience and increase your brand recognition.
Use the power of narrative to connect with your audience. There's an emotional component to storytelling that will allow your audience to see your brand from a different perspective. It allows you to share your purpose and your message, in a way that is memorable and that resonates with your audience.
Practice active listening!
Listen. Listen to your audience. Listen to your competitors. Listen industry leaders in your space. Listen attentively. The more you are informed, the easier it'll be for you to adapt, grow, innovate and adjust as needed. The more insight you have, the better prepared you are to serve.
Track your analytics!
Having a measurement system in place to track how a brand is doing is always a good idea. Offline you can always ask for feedback. Online, you can use analytics. There are many platforms out there that offer these types of services. That being said, many sites have built-in analytics tools you can use for free too. Analytics will help you gauge your brand performance.
Conduct A/B testing!
Sometimes, subtle changes in your branding can have a significant impact. You can always use A/B testing to try out different visuals, calls to action, typographies, colors, text, etc. Obviously, be reasonable with the amount changes you make. You always want make sure your brand remains cohesive.
Learn to say no!
Learn to say no. Sometimes, although it can be quite difficult to do, it it is in your brand's best interest to pass on an offer. Always make sure that what you are agreeing to aligns with your personal brand objectives and values. It's okay to wait until the right proposal comes along.
When you find opportunities to collaborate with someone that has similar brand values and goals, do it! You can learn a lot from one another. You combine resources. You can share insight and data. It can help you expand your network and grow your thought leadership.
Get offline too!
Don't forget, that your personal brand exists offline too. Make sure that your digital presence is consistent with you are and how you conduct yourself offline. The easiest way to do that is by being authentic! (Also, take full advantage of offline opportunities to build a network and/or promote your brand!)
Mentors can help guide you as you navigate the different stages of your personal and professional journey. These are individual who have often been in similar positions in the past and whom can shed some light on what worked for them versus what didn't. They are a great source of support.
Commit to lifelong learning!
Embrace life-long learning and stay curious! Experience different things, seek out new information, delve into new topics, partner and/or learn from other industries, etc. The more you are exposed to, the more you grow. And, this, will help your brand become dynamic, creative and resilient!
Remember to enjoy the process. You are simply working towards a better you!