ETIP #66

5 Ways to build yourself as a brand

5 Ways to build yourself as a brand

What does personal brand mean? For many, it means being an expert within a category; for others, a platform by which one can convey their services and products. And some see their brand as the extension of energy and credibility that people should come to expect from you in what you do and say. A personal brand is all of these things and much more.

But what is a “brand”? A brand is the essence, or perceived emotions that come from owning or being associated with a particular product, services or collective groups. A quick list of brand examples could be Volvo = Safety, Prada = Luxury/Celebrity, John Deere = Long-lasting and American Made. It’s not the logo, it’s not even the physical object. It’s the emotional association that one has with the brand.

So when we talk about personal branding, we’re talking about making sure you have an emotional extension. A critical seed that you need to identify first — what is the brand impression that you want to bring to people and have them take away? While you, ‘the brand,’ don’t [have] to be who you are in the real world, it certainly helps, because the bigger your personal brand becomes, the more people will anticipate authenticity that you convey to be real and factual. Defrauding this perception is counter-productive and will often lead to facing ‘brand protection’ issues — much like Tiger Woods, Bill Gates and others letting their personal life/actions overtake their public-facing brand. The more that you are true to what you intend to preach, the easier it will be to manage your self-branding.

So here are Starmark’s five steps to starting your personal brand:

  • Identify what you want your customer’s emotional reaction to be. Are you a hardcore subject matter expert? Are you a witty, educated debater? Are you a sensitive, objective person of the people? Introvert – extrovert? You be the judge — but DON’T fake something you’re not or you will lose all credibility, should you be caught in a lie.
  • Dress and play your part. If you intend to be part of the business fabric then a sharp suit, firm handshake and outgoing personality might be well-suited for you. Your voice and verbal communication style will also play a part in your brand.
  • Develop, nurture and build a network around people that you can make an impact on. Seek groups and businesses that need your brand and you can effectively bring your messaging too.
  • Choose the right social extensions to build your brand awareness. For some this will be writing, or co-authoring books. For others, taking your brand to multiple social media streams; and for others still, speaking engagements and social events might be your best course.
  • Be consistent, authentic and transparent. Never take on something that your brand is not well-suited for, doing more harm than good.