‘A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.’
Everyone knows great brands. They advertise on TV, you wear them on your body, you buy them at the supermarket, you tell your friends about them and you might even queue up overnight to get their latest products! Apple, Nike, Coca Cola, Virgin and Google are great examples. We know them and we love them, but these brands do not come about organically – they are manufactured by marketing teams, branding experts and various media. In short, they are created, not born.
For many years, companies have created brands for products and services with specific attributes – a certain look and feel – and then imbued them with a three dimensional personality through marketing. You can follow the same process to create a Personal Brand for you, by following my five key steps:
1) Powerful Photography
2) Descriptive Tag Line
3) Personal Biography
4) Relevant Social Media
5) Specific Websites
But what is a Personal Brand? Tom Peters first coined the term Personal Branding in his classic 1997 Fast Company article The Brand Called You, in which he describes it as an individual who markets their personal strengths, attributes, and qualities.
Another description by Blaise James, Gallup global brand strategist and former strategic planning director at Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, is, “Your personal brand isn’t a couple of adjectives, and it shouldn’t be a résumé either. It should demonstrate your authentic talents and strengths. Your self brand is integral to your career and your life – and it influences your long-term career strategy and development.”
I love this description as it captures the essence of the difference between your résumé and your brand. I stress the importance that a Personal Brand needs to have integrity and authenticity in order to really touch the hearts of your target consumers. A Personal Brand is one that allows the audience to immediately resonate with the culture, values and attributes of the brand.
In my book 'Creating a Powerful Brand' I discuss the five steps in great detail and I share this content by writing a detailed blog post on each topic separately, but here is a summary.
Powerful photography is vital for your personal brand as it is the first thing people look at online. Humans have 40,000 years of facial recognition technology built into their subconscious brains. They can't help it, they will judge and react to your photo instantly so have a great one!
A Descriptive Tag Line positions you in the consumers mind. It is used next to your photo in LinkedIn and other social media, on the top of your biography and is how you answer the question 'So what do you do?' It is vital to nail this answer so they can refer you to others and perpetuate your brand. How do you want them to remember you? What skills would you like them to be able to pass onto others who might require your service? A tag line is also the basis for a personal pitch, but more on that later.
A Personal Biography is the in depth description from your tag line. It is the fleshed out pitch you will learn to use to attract more business. The biography is used on your social media, websites, applying for jobs and speaking at conferences. It is no longer a nice-to-have, but a necessary business tool.
Social Media can absorb huge amounts of time and attention. Before pursuing a social media marketing strategy it is vital to know what site will serve you best and where to best spend time and money. My belief is less is more. I advise clients to have a strategy for LinkedIn, Facebook and Google +, and the rest is optional depending on your specific situation.
There has been significant changes in the way Google treats content, creating a need for moreSpecific Websites. I advise clients to have a personal website, a business website and even landing page websites for their products! I will explore this area in more depth in future posts as there is a great deal to learn before embarking on a web project.
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I welcome your comments and questions. The next post will focus exclusively on Powerful Photography.
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