How to Own Your Personal Brand
KARL R. LAPAN, PRESIDENT & CEO, THE NIIC
Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash
It seems odd for me to blog about personal brand when we have the #1 expert on our staff – Leslee Hill. In listening to Leslee over time and with various presentations she has made, she reminds me often of the personal power you bring to your brand.
When starting or scaling a business, your personal brand is one avenue through which prospects can come to understand your beliefs and how they inform your approach to business.
The concept of a personal brand can feel elusive or nebulous at times, but it’s critical to get a handle on yours to execute on your venture’s vision. Following are practical ways to develop yours:
Find your niche and speak to your audience.
Let’s say you’re a real estate agent. There are millions of real estate professionals on the internet; it can be a chore to garner attention without finding an area of specialization. Your personal brand should be as unique as you are, so it’s essential to highlight your specific competencies and ways in which you shine or are different (Think Blue Ocean strategy and the uncontested blue water space!). Apple tightened its relationship with its customer through the power of their “think different” campaign, and it worked.
Perfect your online presence.
Your website is the digital representation of your brand and your business itself, so it must communicate the right message. Regardless of your industry or nature of the company, it needs to have a logo, accurate listing of products or services, contact information, physical location (when applicable), and links to your active social channels at a minimum. Similarly, investigate sites like Google, Yelp, and other directories for reputation management purposes to learn what your customers are saying about it. How consistent and aligned with your brand is it?
Keep consistency in mind.
For your brand to be recognizable, you need to keep consistency in mind. Your social media handles, URLs, and display names should all be consistent. The same goes for contact information, logos, and headshots. Develop and employ a coherent voice or tone for any copy and brand presence. Our marketing guru, Tammy Allen, has hammered in my head that the consistency, messaging, and authenticity required to be successful must be purposeful, relatable, and experienced by your customers.
Align yourself with complementary brands, people, and services.
Benefit from the power of your industry connections by liking, reposting, and engaging with similar content. This can be a tool through which to gain legitimacy and visibility with a more extensive network of prospects. You might consider a content partnership or exchange with a similar site to cross-promote your brands while expanding your reach at the same time. How can you leverage your thought leadership? How can you extend your brand promise in the hearts and minds of your customers?
You would never see a premium brand diminish its brand equity by partnering with an inferior brand. While I question Apple’s new authorized service dealer partnership with Best Buy (the brand experience for me at Best Buy is horrific), they were really trying to put a service center in a 20-mile convenient reach of every customer.
Put in the time.
Personal branding is a journey, not a destination. Therefore, you need to keep your website’s content up to date to optimize audience engagement and keep up with Google’s ever-changing algorithm. The goal is to push out content that adds value to generate more visits with shares, reposts, and retweets. In the process, you can create loyal, raving fans.
Hungry for more tips? Check out this video from our own Leslee Hill. Leslee spoke recently on the topic of personal branding at the First Fridays Women’s Conference at the Parkview Mirro Center. She is by far the most knowledgeable person I know how to make your brand work for you. Reach out and schedule a WEOC meeting today and learn firsthand how to find and leverage the power of your personal brand in a noisy world.