The Brand Of You: Why Your Personal Brand Is Your Greatest Asset
Every where you look there are brands. Businesses with products to sell and services to provide. Big companies understand the importance of branding and in today's market with social media and the online world dominating our physical, mental and emotional space, you too MUST be your own brand. The face of YOU, Inc.
Its A BRANDED World Out There
That super cute yoga outfit you are wearing, that Starbucks mug you are walking around with, the stylish Tori Burch handbag you are carrying, the Under Armour cross trainers you are sporting, the Miss Me jeans you wear when you meet the girls for wine, your Michael Kors watch you unwrapped Christmas morning......
You are flashing a BRAND.
Think branding is just for the big Fortune 500 companies? Think again! Regardless of age, education, seasoned networker, corporate America professional, coach or fresh out of college we all need to sit up and take notice of how crucial our personal brands are if we want to be a wavemaker and succeed in the world of doing business or building a thriving career.
To prosper in life and business today your most important job is to be the head marketer and CEO in the brand of Y.O.U. Sounds easy and complicated all at the same time doesn't it? The good news is that everyone has the opportunity to stand out, to be unique. EVERYONE.
We live in a world where anyone can hop over to GoDaddy and in 5 minutes register a domain name for less than $10 bucks and start a website. And because any body can, every body DOES! So the trick is how to be the one that stands out. The one that gets clicked on. The one that people come back to over and over. The one that gets bookmarked.
The answer: BRANDING. Where you can give exceptional value and build #TrustFactor with a targeted audience.
Individuality Wins The Race
As of right now, even if you aren't fully understanding why YOU personally need a brand, make a promise to yourself that you are going to start shifting your mindset. As of this moment forward you are going to think of yourself differently. You are unique and in order to build a long term sustainable business the world needs to see the value in doing business with YOU.
Starting TODAY you are #TheBrandOfYou.
You are every bit as much of a brand as Martha Stewart, Skinny Girl, Oprah, Apple and Levi's. Now you have to start asking yourself the same questions the big brands ask:
What are the qualities that make me unique?
What makes my gifts and talents stand out?
How can the value that I provide help solve the urgent problems of the world?
Give this some serious thought and take the time to write down your answers. Dig deep. This is where journaling has always helped me bring clarity around my direction.
Once you spend some time answering the above questions, do your answer grab you? Will they light up the eyes of a prospective customer? Would it win a vote of confidence from a satisfied past client? If you can't answer yes to these questions, it's time to invest your focus and efforts into better defining and developing your personal brand.
A good place to start is to define the qualities that set you apart from your competition and colleagues. What have you done in the past 30 days to make yourself stand out? What would those closest to you say is your greatest strength? Your most noteworthy personal characteristic?
Use a big brand as a go by. Compare YOU, Inc. and brand XYZ using the standard approach to determine if what they are offering has value for their customers and clients. Let's use the Martha Stewart brand as an example. She has built her company on the value of excellence. Striving to deliver an excellent experience for those that connect with her company, brand, service and products.
What is YOUR value? Do you offer FREE resources and tools to build trust? Do you under promise and over deliver? Are you reliable? Do you spend that extra time with your customers? Personal touch of a hand written thank you card? Follow-up call after a purchase to ensure good customer service? Offer a special incentive? A good source of referrals for your network?
The Gift Of YOU
The next step is to break out of that box you have been living in with job titles, company descriptions, those 30-second rehearsed commercials they teach you on company training calls that make me want to cringe and instead ask yourself: What do I personally do that adds remarkable, measurable, distinguished, distinctive value? What have I accomplished that I can gracefully brag about?
If you're going to be the brand of YOU, you will have to let go of the fear to live transparently, embrace your authentic voice, and become relentlessly focused on what you do that adds value, that you are proud of, and most important, that you can shamelessly take credit for.
Go all in! Don't hold back and once you have done that ask yourself one more important question to define your brand: What do I want to be famous for? That's right, I said FAMOUS for!
What's In It For Them
One of the most misdirected, misguided areas in building a business is the "what's in it for me" mindset. If you are in business solely for the money, fame, fortune, glamour, recognition or any other self serving reason it won't matter how good you are or how pretty your branding logo and images are. Your success will hinge upon how many people you HELP. Giving to receive is what will bless your life and business.
Martha Stewart's net worth is over a billion dollars but you don't see her marketing that. Is she running ads in magazines with a picture of a villa on a private island that says "I only need $5 Million Dollars in sales this month to buy my dream villa on the beautiful island of FiJi".
Of course not! Her focus is on the value she can provide her target audience, Susie Homemaker. The woman that loves to cook, entertain, craft and decorate. I can download a template from her website for free which leads me to nearest craft store to buy her crafting supplies to finish my project. She GIVES value for FREE, earns the trust of the consumer who opens her wallet to make a purchase. Branding and marketing at its finest and what ALL good brands and business owners master.
A consumer will open their hearts and wallets to you WHEN they TRUST you.
Focus less on "what's in it for me" and a lot more focus on "what's in it for THEM". When you have a brand and lead with value you don't need to hard sell and annoy your network. Be an exceptional expert at something that has real value, solve the urgent problems of the people that your expertise can help and your story can inspire, collaborate with colleagues, give referrals expecting nothing in return, be a supportive team mate. This path will lead to an unforgettable brand that everyone wants and the limitless success you desire.
You may not have this all figured out just yet and that is okay. Your brand will be a journey, evolving as you define your passions and the people you want to help. The important thing is to start TODAY to build your business a different way that will create long term positive results. Keep being open to learning + growing. Branding is the key to a successful YOU, Inc.
Was this article helpful? Are you currently building your brand? Be sure to leave a comment would love to hear from you. Know someone who could benefit from the info shared? I would be honored for you to pass it along.
Are you ready to go all in to build the brand of YOU? Have you been stuck trying to figure all this out? Join us inside The Creative Gristmill where creative women are coming together to tackle the tough branding, blogging and marketing questions. We would be honored to help you move your creative business and brand forward xo
April Williams is a Creative Momista and Soulpreneur of 2 boys + whimsical wavemaker + creative expressive + Texas country girl + branding junkie who loves green mint tea + horses + fuzzy socks + surrounding herself with high achieving amazing women + peppermint anything + the color red + cozy coffee shops. She is a branding strategist for creative women entrepreneurs and founder of Creative Brandista™ .