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Whether you work for yourself or you’re part of a larger corporation, it’s a competitive market anywhere you turn.
The key to standing out, getting noticed, and generating the kind of income you deserve? It all starts with branding.
From McDonald’s to Nike, every great business endeavor is recognizable due to its strategic branding. Why shouldn’t your name join the likes of these power players?
Below are the 10 best tips on how to build a personal brand that speaks for itself. Ready to learn more? Let’s dive in!
1. Perform a Reality Check
Before you can build your personal brand, you need to know the answer to one pertinent question:
How do other people perceive you?
Notice that the question didn’t ask how you perceive yourself. In a world of filters and presets, it’s easy to over-embellish our attitudes and abilities.
To get an accurate reply to the question, you’ll need to do two steps:
- Conduct a self-assessment
- Request feedback from others
To make this process as simple as possible, there are many online self-assessments that can help you determine your strengths, emotional intelligence, motivations, values, and personality traits, among other factors.
After you’ve completed the assessment, ask others inside and outside your professional circle how they perceive you, and see how well the answers align. This will help you find areas you want to accentuate, along with those you want to curtail.
2. Find Your Four Pillars
Also known as the Four VPs, the pillars that comprise the foundation of your personal brand include your:
Your vision is what you see your brand accomplishing for the world, and your purpose is how you’ll turn that into a reality.
Meanwhile, your values are the ideals that determine how you conduct your daily activities, while your passion is what drives you to continue onward, even through tough days.
3. Find Your Target Audience
You can’t pitch your personal brand to every demographic and expect to succeed at each turn.
Rather, it’s smart to narrow your focus only to those in the position to receive and accept your message and offering. In other words, find the people who need the style of leadership you provide and communicate your brand to them alone.
After all, they’re the ones who will invest in your brand and propel it forward. Once you find them, nurture them.
4. Craft Your Story
Creating a personal brand means putting meaning behind your presence.
Your unique story is what makes your brand authentic, so find your value differentiators and capitalize on them. Your tale might not be full of dramatic twists and turns, but it’s singular because it’s yours.
Knowing and telling your story gives credibility to your claims, so own it and share it.
5. Write a Brand Statement
If you were starting a new company, you’d write out a mission statement at the onset. You’d describe why you exist, what your goals include, what you provide, and who you’re targeting.
It’s equally important to write a brand statement when you’re building your personal brand.
Use the following formula to make this process easier:
“I want to be known for (X), so I can provide (Y) to (Z).”
Don’t confuse this statement with your job title. Rather, this sentence will describe what you want to be known for and how you’ll use that identity to add value to your clients’ lives.
6. Create a Brand Action Plan
With the logistics behind you, it’s time to put your brand into action! Even if you’ve only been daydreaming until this point, this next step will move your brand forward and into the spotlight.
Your brand action plan details how you’ll spread your message to the world. What platforms are the most appropriate, and which content types?
In most cases, it’s best to begin by creating a logo and registering a website. From there, you can expand your brand by speaking at events, maintaining a blog, creating an electronic resource, posting on social media, and more.
Not sure where to begin? Looka takes the guesswork out of brand design, using an AI-powered platform to help you bring your ideas to life.
7. Perform Routine Self-Checks
Have you ever heard something described as being “on-brand” or “off-brand”? It’s time to start applying that same metric to yourself.
If you’re faced with a critical business decision, for instance, ask yourself what the on-brand response would be. Before you release a new online article or Facebook post, conduct the same inquiry.
Over time, you’ll identify which actions best represent your mission and which take away from it.
8. Be Clear, Consistent and Constant
In the branding world, there’s a standard known as the “3 Cs” that describes how to stay afloat. These refer to:
First, prioritize clarity. Make sure you’re not muddling your message by watering it down. Be clear about what your brand represents and what it doesn’t.
Then, make sure your brand image is consistent across platforms. Does your Twitter feed have the same look and feel as your Instagram profile? Do your business cards and website complement each other?
Everything doesn’t have to have the exact same content, but it should still work together in a congruent way.
Finally, remain a constant presence in your audience’s lives. Don’t let weeks go by between blog posts or ignore social media comments. Stay invested and interested, and you’ll reap the rewards.
9. Stay Flexible
Especially when your brand is so personal, it can be tempting to get stuck in your ways. Yet, this is the surest way to obsolescence.
To keep pace with competitors and remain relevant, you’ll likely need to evolve at least some form of your brand as time goes by. You may even need to reinvent it in some cases!
The most successful ones are those that can remain agile and flexible throughout the ebb and flow.
10. Start Again from the Top
Once you reach Step 9, you’re done, right? Not quite.
At the beginning of every year or every annual business cycle, take the time to go through these 10 steps again. Revisit the meaning behind your personal brand, the audience you want to reach, your design components, and more.
Make sure everything still feels fresh, and if it doesn’t, don’t hesitate to make the necessary changes.
How to Build a Personal Brand That Works
You don’t have to have decades of experience or a mile-long skills list to make the most of your personal marketing endeavor. Now that you know how to build a personal brand, you can move forward in the right direction.
Take the time to learn yourself, set the right goals, and partner with the right resources. Then, you’ll be one step ahead of the competition, lapping your peers all on your own.
Want more advice on how to succeed in the startup business space? Keep reading our blog for practical tips you can use!