Selling YOU: Six Tips for Defining your Personal Brand
Whether you’re in a corporate job or you’re a successful entrepreneur, maintaining a strong personal brand is key to survival in modern society. The workplace and commercial landscape are changing rapidly and it’s imperative that you and your brand stand out. Uniqueness and consistency are key so that your customers trust you and your offerings.
Here are six tips to define and maintain your personal brand.
Have Brand Clarity
It’s important to know what your skills and offerings are. If you are an entrepreneur, defining your offerings clearly and communicating those to your target audience provides your customers with clarity on what you’re all about. Even if you are in a corporate job, get in touch with your strengths and talents, so that you are clear on what you bring to your organisation. This allows you to distinguish yourself from others and to be open to opportunities that align with your skills.
Have a Compelling Reason Why
Simon Sinek’s golden circle shows us how important it is for any organisation or person to have a compelling reason for what they do. A pretty logo and website are not useful if your ‘Why’ is unclear. Define the underlying beliefs you have around your offerings and get clear on why you do what you do. Whatever business you’re in, figure out why you started there and let that Why drive everything. As a writer and a speaker, I guide people towards their best life possible. This sits underneath all my offerings and it’s what I come back to when I have a bad day or experience self-doubt.
Have Good Brand Fit
You and your brand must work together well. Do you trust a skinny chef or an overweight dietician? Make sure that what you offer feels good, is credible and real. If something doesn’t quite fit, your customers will pick up on it and it’s only a matter of time before you lose their trust. I had a burnout a few years ago and this was the driver for what I do now. My logo is a very feminine phoenix because I rose from the suffering to offer valuable insights to my customers, who are working women. I chose a calming blue and gentle violet for my colours because they are soothing and they match my target audience. A black and orange phoenix logo with blocks and hard edges would not be a good fit for my gentle encouragement to move people towards a life of joy.
Maintain Brand Consistency
It’s important to maintain consistency with your brand. That means make use of the same colours and message in all communications, website, emails, proposals and social media posts. That doesn’t mean things have to be boring, but it’s important that your customers get to know you through the many mediums in a consistent way. It’s important to maintain a regular routine of social media posts, the same kind of messaging with a similar tone and content, as well as taking great care with colours, fonts and your logo.
Packaging is also an opportunity to embed your brand in the eyes of your customer. I get a special warm feeling when opening a delivery that has little surprises inside, or that looks beautiful. Personalised, hand-written thank you notes are also wonderful and make your customer feel valued. Those little touches go far to make your customer feel good and to motivate them to buy from you again.
Be Unashamedly Authentic
We are all caught up in conformity in one way or another. We want to come across as professional and this can often stand in the way of being true to ourselves. The most interesting and successful brands are those that are completely authentic. Gary Vaynerchuk rose to fame through his unusual videos promoting wine. Instead of offering the typical refined education for wine lovers, he brought his authentic energy and fun to online videos, growing his family business exponentially. People love authentic content from people who think differently and are unusual. Be unashamedly you.
Protect your Brand
Establishing your brand takes time and it can be easily destroyed. I’m a big fan of collaborating with others for events, video interviews and joint projects. However, I’m very cautious that the people I’m working with are aligned to my values and have appropriate respect for my customers. I take a lot of care in evaluating the fit between another brand and mine, to ensure that all the hard work I’ve put into my branding, is not undone by someone else.
Branding is far broader than putting together a logo and choosing your colours and fonts. Spending time defining why you are offering what you do, and connecting with what makes you unique, is invaluable. Looking after your brand takes effort, in making sure that your customers get a consistent experience and receive the message you intended through your communications, products and services. But this effort pays off in the long run and helps you to be noticed and remembered by your valued customers.
Kathy Mann is a writer and speaker, based in Johannesburg South Africa. She’s passionate about building a happy life, on purpose using the tools of positive psychology. Kathy guides people towards living their best life possible through what she has learned in becoming very sick from stress. Women often feel so stretched, trying to be everything to everyone. Kathy’s here to remind you that being true to yourself, connecting with your strengths and talents, is the best way to serve the world.