When we think of brands, there’s usually a single name or image which is synonymous with much more than just a product or service. For instance take one of the biggest brands in the world – Coca Cola. This brand automatically conjures up the Coke logo, along with consumer loyalty, a quality product and a sense of familiarity with the brand, all just by the mention of a name.
We are undoubtedly exposed to a huge number of huge brands every single day, it’s still important to create a personal brand, as this can be a hugely effective marketing tool both for your career and for your own reputation.
Personal brands are carefully planned and assembled, with goals and achievements outlined from the beginning. The reasoning behind a personal brand is that this gives you and your product or service the ability to stand out amongst a potential sea of competitors all trying to sell the same product. If you can market yourself as something different from the rest, you are more likely to see quality results. By carving out a personal brand you also eliminate the need to compete for business based on price, as you are offering something different and better than just a cheaper version of what everybody else is offering.
One of the best examples of a great personal brand comes in the form of the current President of the United States, Barack Obama. His Presidential campaign strategy before he was first elected was a raging success both in terms of getting him elected and also building a lasting personal brand that many people can still recognise and identify with long after the event. The campaign itself consisted of a mix of in-person networking, marketing collateral like badges, pins and cards, online social networking and a personality voiced blog. This personification not only of the man as a potential leader of a country, but also as a relatable, personable figure we can familiarise ourselves with on a regular basis, proved a winning strategy which helped build the whole Obama brand.
Of course, we can’t all have the same resources as Obama at our disposal, but we can take tips from his campaign and adapt them to our own industries and identities to drive our brands forward. For instance his campaign had a particular end, by focusing on the person, Barack Obama. In doing this, the brand became incredibly accessible, as the aim was to have Obama appear personable on every level, whether that was to grandmas at the supermarket or the young adults highly active on social media. Obama’s audience may have been significantly more diverse than the average business or person’s target, however it’s important to know how to relate your brand messages to your target market.
Unlike Obama or Coca Cola, an individual can never create the same clout with logos or trademark phrases when carving a personal brand, but with carefully targeted personal brand strategies which focus on the things you do have the means to excel at, individuals can create ripples within their industry and become familiar to a degree even without these elements.
When starting out trying to create a brand, it’s important to plan out a few things to execute:
• Figure out what your main goal is, and how a personal brand can help motivate and achieve this.
• Know your limits – for example if you don’t already create blogging content or post on social media platforms, don’t assume you’ll be able to do this frequently whilst still accomplishing the same daily workload.
• Research your audience – some brands have an easy target demographic figured out whilst others are more widely focused. You want to understand what platforms your audience use and both how and when you can reach them through this.
• Adapt your brand – this may sound strange but as your personal brand begins to grow, you might find that some techniques prove more popular with your audience than others. Adapt to fit this and look for new opportunities which can keep your brand engaging with your audience effectively.
• Reach out for feedback – personal branding can sometimes feel like a one way street, creating and outputting content on multiple platforms without gaining a response, which is why it’s important to ask your audience for feedback occasionally to help guide you on the right road to perfecting your brand.
Personal branding is all about growing your brand in tandem with your own skills and confidence. This creates a more genuine representation to the world and also ensures that you still appear current and personable, rather than stale and robotic. Why not take on board some of these tips with your own brand to try and generate some new opportunities?