Build Your Own Personal Brand
Many professionals don’t think that investing in their own personal brand is important. Providing a high-quality product service should be all the matters. However, people want to work with those that they know, like, and trust. It is important to align your image with the values that are important to you and your target customer and then communicate them through branding.
Define your brand. Don’t just think about what you offer professionally, but the distinct identity that makes you unique. Is your brand hip and casual? Traditional and trustworthy? Your branding is going to affect every element of your marketing strategy from your website to your wardrobe. Make it count by thoroughly thinking through how you want to be positioned in the marketplace. And most importantly, make sure you brand is authentic. Don’t fake an image that does not come naturally. You cannot be all things to all people, so pick your niche and position yourself accordingly.
Share Your Knowledge. Being a resource of advice, information, and help to those around is a surefire way of becoming a trusted advisor within your network. Once you serve as a resource for others, either within your industry or outside of it, people will recommend your abilities to others. Help others when they reach out to you for advice or connections. If no one is coming to you just yet, volunteer your skills to a non-profit or community organization. Community involvement is a great way to gain influence and build trust while growing your network.
Be Human. The biggest rookie branding mistake is to present yourself as not only an expert in the industry, but as a flawless fount of wisdom. People work with you based not only on your skill level but also how much they connect with you as an individual. Sharing the more human aspects of yourself will help build your brand with a heart and a personality. Though they think they might, customers don’t want to work with someone who is perfect – they want to work with someone they can relate to.
Monitor Your Reputation. Keep your eye on several online forums for testimonials and reviews. Set up Google Alerts for your name and company, watch your Yelp (and other relevant review sites) page, and monitor social media by searching for associated hash tags. Malicious reviews will stay visible unless you do something to get them removed. But you can’t take steps to remove malicious reviews or solve a customer service issue unless you know they are out there! Set reminders to check your online reputation regularly to prevent negative comments from hurting your brand.
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About Michelle Stansbury
Michelle Stansbury is the founder and CEO of Little Penguin PR, a boutique Public Relations Company in San Diego, California. Her background is in public relations and business development. After graduating from Duke University, she gained branding and marketing experience starting up a new division of Abercrombie & Fitch (“Gilly Hicks”) at their corporate headquarters.…