Things you should know before starting your personal brand

April 28, 2020
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April 28, 2020 Stanley Ship

“If you are not a brand, you are a commodity.” – Phil Kotler

I suppose the above quote by Phil Kotler says everything about why having a brand is extremely important.

Especially if you are an entrepreneur or a business owner.

Think about Nike and how they become who they are today. 

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When you think about Nike, you probably will think of sportswear and all the athletes that associate with Nike. 

They have built a brand so big that today, people buy Nike not because they just want to get “another pair of sports shoes.” People buy Nike because of what Nike stands for and all the experience of using a Nike branded product.

In the year 2020 and moving forward, the marketplace is already crowded with countless numbers of brands. Famous brands took years and decades of hard work and patience to become well-known today.

If you don’t start to build a brand now, you won’t even get anywhere near these brands in the next 10 years. In fact, you don’t need to take decades to build a strong brand.

We’re going to talk about the faster way to build a brand and it will make sense to you why it is faster. What we are going to look at is building your personal brand.

Take a look at what Pia Silva says concerning personal brand:

“…building your personal brand seems to be the fastest and easiest way to build trust and authority. It takes much less time to connect and relate to another human’s face and story than it does to a company voice. simple as that.”

Pia silva

Why is personal branding important?

The first thing I have to say is that there are 7.57 Billion people in the world right now. Needless to say that there are many people in your industry, doing the same thing.

The question that people will ask or subconsciously have is, “Why should I choose you?”

Keenan, CEO from A Sales Guy did a study of how 72% of salespeople who use social media (indicating there’s some form of personal branding in play) outperformed their peers and exceeded quota 23% more often.

This is what the corporates build their brand for. To be distinct and to own a specific position in the marketplace, so that they connect to their customers on a deeper level and maintain long-term growth.

At this point, you may want to get clear on what actually is a brand.

There are many blogs and articles written on the definition of a brand. I personally find Jacob Cass’ and Pia Silva’s explanation easy to understand and covers the essence of it.

To put it simply, a brand is what people say, think, feel, see, and hear about your business. It’s not what you say, think, feel, see and hear about your business. That doesn’t matter to your consumers. 

However, it doesn’t mean you don’t have control over what people perceive about your business.

Applying the same meaning to a personal brand. It is what people perceive about you.

If you’re not intentionally building your personal brand, then you are leaving your brand into the hands of your customers and clients.

That means they are the ones dictating how your brand feels like.

So, having a brand will:

    1. Help you stand out in a crowded and noisy marketplace
    2. Help people to know why they should choose you
    3. Help you to have a better say in your worth and pricing
    4. Help you to establish your authority and expertises in the industry

What if you don’t have a personal brand?

Now think about this, prior to the events of Covid-19, everything is fine and as usual. Local businesses and retailers are doing okay. But when Coronavirus had an outbreak, many countries’ governments issued movement restriction orders.

This is the time many people will think: “what should I do with my business? How do I still get my customers to buy from me?”

Some businesses suffer less because they have a personal brand online.

Of course we have to consider the factor of logistics and everything else that affects the business at this kind of time.

But if you get what I mean, those businesses or entrepreneurs who have a personal brand online, can leverage on their brand and still keep their businesses sustainable.

They can do lots of stuff like holding online meetings, live webinars, hosting an online event and use these means to acquire customers.

In the end, even if you make a shift from selling F&B stuff, to sell hand sanitizers because of the current situation, you’re better off if you have a personal brand already.

If you don’t have a personal brand:

    1. Your reach will be very limited
    2. You will be indifferent from your competitors
    3. Price will be a huge factor when it comes to customer’s purchase decision
    4. Hardly anyone knows about you

If you’re convinced, let’s get started!

If you’ve read my previous blogs, you probably know I hate to sound smart and write a difficult article. 

So, let’s be very basic and get back to the most necessary things you need to have in place before starting with your personal branding.

I’ve eliminated many details in the full guide of personal branding so that it won’t be too heavy for you and you can get started very easily. 

Treat this as Level 1, Level 2 consists of questions that are deeper and designed to help you gain more clarity, but we don’t want to be overwhelmed first.

These are the two objectives that we are going to accomplish today:

#1 Defining your goals

#2 Gain Internal Clarity (Questions and research)

(click any of the above to go to that section)

Step #1 Know why do you want to do personal branding

By default, everyone has a personal brand. The only difference is whether they are in control of it and how known they are. 

If you do want to build your personal brand, you need to have goals.

At this point, your goal can be as general as “I want more people to know about me” or as clear as “I’m building my brand because I want to be the go-to person in Facebook marketing for women business coaches in their mid 30s.”

The clearer you are with your goals, the clearer you are with your direction.

Without clear goals, you may end up doing personal branding without knowing what is for and what benefit it has brought to your life and business.

As a start, use this formula in order for you to construct your personal branding goals.

I’m doing personal branding because (R1), so that (R2).

There’s 2 parts where you can fill it up. 

R1 is about the reason you are doing personal branding. 

Here are some examples for R1:

    • …because I want to establish my authority in the industry
    • …because I want to build trust with my audience
    • …because I want to be known about cooking
    • …because I want to be Number 1 in…

R2 is about the results that you want to see eventually, ensure it makes sense and is connected to R1.

Here are some examples for R2:

    • …so that I can get more sales for my business
    • …so that I am able to become a speaker
    • …so that I have a big audience to monetize
    • …so that I have a community of…

This formula is to help you own the reason for personal branding so that it is yours. All in all, you will find these goals of yours belong to one or more of the categories of branding goals. 

Why am I saying this? Because if your goals fall out of place, you might as well think of a different approach or strategy to reach those goals. 

Do these:

    1. Spend 15-30 minutes
    2. Think about why you want to do personal branding and how it is important to you
    3. Google “examples for branding goals/objectives” to get some reference
    4. Use the formula above and start writing down your goals.
    5. From number 4, you may find yourself writing more than 1 goal, which is fine, because after that you will have to pick one to prioritize for 1 year.

Step #2 Personal Brand Questions you need to ask yourself

Next we will have to go through important questions of personal branding.

These questions will help you to reach your objectives faster and keep you from straying away and making mistakes.

To give you an overview, there are 3 important elements when it comes to your personal brand.

    1. Your Position (what do you do differently)
    2. Your Identity (who are you)
    3. Your Market (who you serve)

The questions that you will ask yourself is so that you have these important elements in your personal brand.

Clarity on your position

Your personal brand position is all about making you stand out and be different in the marketplace. Check here for a more thorough explanation.

Suppose that there are 200 health coaches in the industry. Out of the 200, maybe only a quarter have a considerably strong personal brand and is quite well-known in the industry. 

If you are starting out and you want to be well-known fast, you need to take a position different from the 200 health coaches.

Although you are in the same industry, different personal brands will have different skill sets, personality, knowledge, specialization, purpose, vision, mission and more.

Now, keep calm. You don’t have to have the answers for all those things.

Answering these questions will give you a clearer picture on what is your position in the marketplace.

Before answering the questions:

    1. Do a quick research and observation on your competitors
    2. Look at how they talk about themselves
    3. Look at what they talk about
    4. Note all those things down
    5. The key here is to see what they are doing (and you don’t copy it) and what they are missing out (so that you do it).

With those in mind, Question yourself:

    1. What am I passionate about?
    2. What am I really good at? What are my skills?
    3. What is the problem I am looking to solve?
    4. What is the result I would like to create for people?

Clarity on your Identity

This part is to create or list down how you want to be perceived and remembered by people.

This is important because it will tie in together with Step 3 which is making your brand tangible.

A thorough brand identity creation includes: logo, font styles, colors, personality, tone & language, imagery & visuals. Every corporate brand will go through this step to identify all of these.

Fortunately, you are a personal brand, that means you are already unique. You just need to bring your uniqueness out more, and be consistent about it. Corporate brand needs that because they have to add “human-touch” to it.

This part is very simple.

Do these:

For a personal brand, you only need to figure out

    1. What color do you want to use to represent your brand (choose only one, this article talks about what color means)?
    2. What Font Style do you like (watch this video to choose which typography)? 
    3. Optional: What shape do you like.
    4. How would you like people to describe you when they see you (online or offline, this can be the way you wear and show up). 
    5. What is your background story? Check here for a step-by-step guide on how to write your background story.

Clarity on your Market

This is also a very important part in personal brand.

This is the part where you need to know who. When I say “who,” it’s not just about the men or women of what age and occupation.

You would have to make sure that this group of people that you are serving will benefit from the skills and knowledge that you are providing.

Do these:

There’s two ways around this,

    1. You find out your target market by finding out about your own demography.
    2. You find out your target market by thinking who would need what you have.

For the first approach, just identify your own profile. For example:

I’m a 23-year-old male who does marketing and graduated with a degree. Worked for 3 years and then started my own business. I like to read books and learn more about marketing and growing businesses. 

It’s like writing about yourself or creating your own resume. With a personal profile like that, immediately you know that you need to target an audience of the same profile.

That’s because it will be easier to empathize and relate with them. People of the same kind attract each other and are more likely to like each other.

For the second approach, think about your skills and strengths, with a clear position in mind, figure out:

What kind of people need those strengths and skills?

For example, if you are passionate about health, you know that there are people who are also into fitness but not experts. They want to get in shape and live a healthy lifestyle. These can be your target market.

What’s next?

Now that you have these important questions answered. You will have to make your brand real. 

What you will be expecting in the next blog continuing from this one are the next steps in personal branding, which is determining your theme for content and determining your channels.

Content creation is the best way to grow your brand and give value to your target market.

The more value you give, the more your brand will grow.

Conclusion

Many people start personal branding themselves without clear goals and a good reason. They also don’t have their position, identity and target market properly figured out.

They may end up finding themselves in a trap doing so many things for their personal brand, but achieving very little.

Clarity is very important in anything that you do. More so for personal branding. Hopefully this guide will help you to be clear on the whys and whats, so that when you go through the second guide it will be more efficient for you.

Stay tuned for the next article. I will be covering how to make your brand real and tangible. That is the part where we get people to start recognizing and paying attention to you.

Let me know in the comments what is your goal for personal branding!

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Stanley Ship

I'm a Marketing Strategist and the founder of Renesis Group, which is a marketing agency. I help business owners grow brand presence and continuously get new customers by executing clear marketing strategies. If you're looking for possibilities and opportunities in growing your business, you definitely need a marketing strategy (and a good one).

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