When your business product is invisible, it can be difficult to become the go-to expert in your field. We’re talking about business coaches, career counsellors, wellness practitioners, personal trainers, key note speakers, consultants and anyone working in the services industry. This makes creating and maintaining a positive personal brand essential.
So, what is a personal brand, why is it so important and how do you do it? We spoke to Lauren Clemett, an award-winning personal branding specialist, for her expert tips.
What is a Personal Brand?
A personal brand is the process of creating a specific image of yourself in the mind of your ideal client, so they can get to know, like and trust you before they buy from you. Having a clearly defined personal brand makes it easy to explain what you do and why they should choose you. In the same way big brands create instant recognition, your personal brand makes you stand out from a crowd of competitors.
Why is a Personal Brand So Important?
We are living in an increasingly confusing and overcrowded world, where standing out is vital, especially if you sell services such as business coaching, real estate, personal training, finance or wellness services because selling services is like selling thin air. You need to create confidence that you can deliver on your promises to become the go-to trusted expert.
In the 1970’s it was estimated that the brain saw around 500 branded messages a day, today that’s closer to 5,000. The brain is easily overwhelmed by all the brands it sees, which is why having a unique, stand-out brand that engages instantly is so important.
1. Know Yourself First
Before you start any marketing, figure out what you want to be well known, well paid and wanted for. This could be in any space that you have expertise, an interest, education or life experience. When you know yourself and the service you want to offer well, you’re equipped to promote yourself and create a strong and positive personal brand.
2. Get 100% Focused on Your Brand Strategy
If you are an entrepreneur you will have a creative and adventurous brain, which is awesome, but it can also get side-tracked or distracted by “bright-shiny-objectitis.” If you have focus, you will invest your time and money in the right places. I call it finding your true north and you can go through the exercise of considering four aspects:
West – What problem do you solve (not just helping people get fit or balance the books)? What transformation takes place for your clients?
East – Execution. How will you provide a resolution in a unique way?
South – The value of what you deliver. What do your clients really get, beyond what they pay you for?
North – True North. This is your passion, purpose, mission. Why do you do what you do? What is in your DNA that makes you so driven to help others?
3. Consider Your Brand Personality
Your personal brand flows into your business brand, so if you have a clear idea of the brand personality, you can ensure all elements of your business are infused with consistent messaging. If you consider your brand as if it were a person, you can get consistent on how it would behave, speak, react and communicate. The most memorable brands have been totally consistent with their brand personality for years – boring maybe, but everyone knows Nike, Coke and Virgin!
This is where you should be careful not to sell yourself or your skills short. You should remember that not everyone knows how to do what you do! When you create your personal brand, be aware that your ‘service’ is something you do with ease, but that others find difficult, that’s why it’s called expert-ease!
5. You’re Not Right for Everyone
Just as every person is unique, so too is your service offering. Don’t try to be everything to everyone, as this is where you will come undone. Instead, accept that you can’t help “every Mary in the diary!” You will have more impact and influence with the right tribe following you.
6. Finding Your Tribe
Know exactly who you want to attract to your business – not only clients but also affiliates, suppliers, partners, and staff. Your brand is a culture and you need the right people around you. Start by identifying your core message, mission and brand purpose. This way you can ensure there is a natural alignment with those you choose to spend time with. Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said and what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” Branding is all about creating a culture and considering how you want people to feel when they interact with your brand. What’s the number one emotion you want to generate?
7. Create a Target Avatar
Create an actual target avatar, with a name, photo, life-stage and lifestyle as well as their preferred method of communication. When you create this avatar, you will know the right message, the right channel and the right time to contact your potential client. You will also engage and connect on a relevant and relatable level.
Start by considering the demographics: their age, income, do they have children, married, living in a city? All of this will affect their daily lives and give you a better idea of when it’s the right time to propose your solution to them.
Next consider psychographics: how do they feel about the situation they are in? Are there generational values or beliefs that might create barriers or stop them from considering your help?
Lastly, look at their personal communication style and preferred method of communication. There are four types – Owls, Eagles, Peacocks and Doves. Much like the DISC profiling, you can first work out your own dominant style, then learn the others to ensure you are targeting the people that will naturally like working with you.
8. Choose Your Words Carefully
Your personal brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. Be clear on what you want to be called so you’re introduced correctly to potential clients.
Use the right words in your elevator pitch and on your collateral and online marketing and think like a P.R.O – Problem, Resolution, Outcome. Most service providers are good at talking about the problem they solve, and the resolution clients get, but few consider the outcome.
The brain thinks in pictures so use engaging language and images that clearly show clients what life could be like if they use your service. A simple action step is to ask your existing clients “What was it that I did for you?” and consider using their words to describe what you do.
9. Create a Cascade of Influence
You can create influence by approaching the key opinion leaders in your industry, or affiliates who have similar clients. Word of mouth marketing is free: third party endorsements make it easy for others to refer to you. Once you know exactly who your ideal client is, you can look at who they already go to for advice. By going to the community or industry leaders and asking for their help, you let them know you are there and make them aware of what you are trying to achieve with your brand. Never try to sell to an opinion leader but consider it an opportunity to work together.
10. Share Your Brand Story
Your brand story is all about recognition, reputation and respect. To be recognised is all about what others say about you, so include the challenges and struggles as well as the good parts. Reputation is memorable, so make your story easy to repeat and share. Respect is about being authentic; we live in the age of authenticity. Remember, anyone can Google you to find out more, so be the expert, but also be a human (and honest).
Australian Online Courses
An ideal way to boost your personal brand and add to your LinkedIn profile is through professional development. If you want to take your business or career to the next level, study with Australian Online Courses to increase your chance of success. Simply visit us online or contact one of our friendly Learning Consultants today on 1300 762 221.