Does Your Personal Brand Reflect Who You Are and What You Do?

Attributes that go into your personal brand

Evaluating your personal brand

Branding is important for you and your company. With the explosive growth of social media, it’s more important than ever to project a brand consistently across all the social media channels where you are active. What is a brand, anyway? A brand is what an individual or organization wishes to be known for. It is an inside-out process.

You can’t have a viable brand without understanding your positioning. Positioning is how an individual or organization and the services provided are perceived in the minds of your target audiences. It is looking from the outside in.

Aligning Your Brand and Positioning

Another way of understanding positioning is that it’s the words you would want others – such as clients, employees, and the media — to use in describing you. The challenge is to have your brand and positioning in alignment – what you want to be known for and how your clients and potential clients actually view you and your products/services.

Your brand is what sets you apart from your competition. FedEx is the company that you can rely on to deliver your package by 10:30 tomorrow morning. Absolutely, positively. LinkedIn is regarded as the leading social media business community. Google is — well, Google will soon own the world!

Your brand must be in alignment with your positioning

Justin Bieber floppy hair

Individuals, like companies, have brands, too. What is your impression of the singer Justin Bieber? He built his brand as a teen heart throb and has more than 13 million Twitter followers. Just slightly tinkering with your brand can rattle your market.

The singer upset a lot of his fans when he changed the floppy hair style that almost covered his eyes.

Most people will already have a positioning in their minds concerning you and your company. Individuals are often identified with pre-fixes:  i.e.: Harvard MBA, Nobel Prize winner, Playmate-of-the-month, 350-hitter, salesman of the year, etc. If your particular target has no preconceived ideas, then you have the opportunity to develop your brand as you would want it.

Brand credentials

As you define your brand, think of the attributes that set you apart from the competition.  These can include:

  • Technical expertise
  • Products or services
  • Industry specialty
  • Academic credentials
  • Awards and recognition
  • Reputations of your clients
  • Geographic reach
  • The halo effect of the company you work for

A Successful Brand

Some pointers about your brand:

  • Your brand must be simple and easily understood by your targets
  • Two or three key attributes about company, products and services must be distinctive from the competition
  • Your targets must be able to grasp the brand quickly and translate it into “What’s in it for me?”

After you have analyzed your key capabilities, you will need to put them into words that communicate the essence of your brand. Be particularly aware of presenting your services with an eye toward what’s in it for the listener. Your brand statement is your “grabber,” the statement that will get your listener to want to hear more.

Example of a grabber:

” I help my clients to retire in comfort for the rest of their lives. For a young professional like yourself, saving just a few dollars a month can build a handsome nest egg.”

Communicating your Brand

Now that you’ve defined your brand, you need to communicate it to those who can contribute to the success of your business. You can —

  • Become active in social media
  • Contact reporters and offer to become a source for quotes and articles
  • Conduct seminars for clients and prospects
  • Write articles
  • Give speeches
  • Become active in professional organizations
  • Network to meet new people and obtain referrals

Before you get started in marketing yourself to those who count, be sure you can answer the question —

What is My Brand?

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Comments

  1. Great article Jeannette especially the about what is it it for the customer. One thing I would add is when you have the attributes see if you can narrow it down to one as your key point of difference. It allows you to tap into the true emotional benefits that customers are seeking. The others can support that one. This allows you to communicate one message consistently and can separate you from competitors.

    • Thanks, Susan. You’re quite right. I think most of us try to get everything we can do into our brand statement so that it begins to sound like a menu. Ironically, the more we narrow our focus the broader our opportunities because our targets truly understand who we are.

  2. Jeannette, like Susan I really like your article.

    Pity far too many people make mistakes when building up their brand on social media.

    One Swede wrote that he is an expert on the English language – pity he spelt it english, isn’t it:-)

    All your suggestions on how to communicate your brand are spot on!!
    Catarina recently posted..Are entrepreneurs artists?My Profile

    • Catarina — Thank you. I always cringe when I hear someone call himself/herself an “expert.” There is always something new to learn. There are too many social media “experts” running around these days, too.

    • Susan — thanks. I’m glad the post will be helpful as you revise your brand. It’s not easy and something we need to continually work on. Good luck!

    • Dolores — I’m glad I gave you a boost to think about your branding. I couldn’t agree more. Simple is better. I think we try to offer a menu of possibilities in hopes of spreading a wide net. Instead we confuse people. whereas we broaden our opportunities by narrowing our focus. Seems counter-intuitive but that’s how I see it.

  3. Hi Jeannette: I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the past 3 years establishing my brand as a chocolate loving travel writer, chocolate expert, and author of the best book about artisanal chocolate that’s ever been written. Unfortunately, that takes a lot of time away from my writing. So in turn, it delays completion of the book. I guess there are always trade-offs in everything we do.
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted..The Chocolate Festival at Jade MountainMy Profile

    • Doreen — You certainly have established your brand as a chocolate expert extraordinaire. As a chocolate lover, can’t wait for your book!

  4. Thanks, as always, for giving me something to think about. I’m gradually getting an idea of how to best present myself as an author and an editor, but it’s been difficult at times without being able to provide more samples. Thankfully, I am taking steps to help everything fall into place. I’m just so impatient!
    Jeri recently posted..Author Interview: Candy KormanMy Profile

    • Jeri — it takes time to build a brand. I think you’re doing a splendid job with your author interviews. Over time you will have a bulging portfolio of samples of your work.

  5. Great examples of branding and positioning Jeannette. Every time I read an article about personal branding, I think of how often I see people slowly tarnishing their brand on social media sites.

    I’m referring to those individuals who present themselves unfavorably on the pages and accounts that they use for personal reasons. I follow a couple of bloggers who I totally respect but I am sometimes slightly offended by the language that they use when they’re chatting with friends and not on their business page. While it’s not enough to make me not follow them, I’m sure that there are people who will look at their behavior as unprofessional. That’s just my opinion but I’m certain that I’m not alone thinking that way.
    Sherryl Perry recently posted..Time to Tweak Your Twitter StrategyMy Profile

    • Sherryl — you make a very good point. I follow several of the most prominent blogging gurus. I’ve learned so much from their content. Yet when I see their inane tweets about going to bed and what they had to eat, I’m shocked, really. I don’t understand why they are so professional blogging and so silly when tweeting. Is a mystery.

    • Mike — you make a good point that if you’re running a business, your first priority is to make money to keep the business going. But if you let your brand slip, so will business. So it’s a juggling act.

  6. Darren — thanks for your thoughtful and lengthy reply. Design is the graphic representation of a brand — it is not the brand essence. As you rightly point out, you can’t be all things to all people. You’ve got to focus on what distinguishes you from everyone else. A brand is not a menu.