How Do I Create a Personal Brand?

Your personal brand influences how people associate to you, the impression you make, and essentially how people feel about you. While it remains important that you maintain your personal physical appearance by appearing neat and professional, it is equally important to realize that in this digital age, you also have to create and maintain your online personal brand. Happily, there are lots of things you can do to create the positive personal brand you desire, and then nurture it to give yourself the very best chance of success.

Deciding on Your Personal Brand

You can get an idea of the personal brand you want to create for yourself by thinking about people you admire. Identify a couple of people in business who you would like to emulate and have a look at how they market themselves. How do you feel when you see a Tweet from that person? What do you admire about them? What draws you to read their blogs? Think about how they reach their audience; that will help you to decide how to reach yours.

Creating a Digital Presence

Everything you do contributes to your personal brand, from meeting people face to face, to updating your status or posting a Tweet. To be recognisable digitally and give yourself the best chance of appearing on Search Engines, you need a professionally developed website. It will need to include a bio, your resume, and links to your social platforms. You will also need a great photograph and a headshot – professional shots are advisable to really capture you at your best. The world is moving on, but still, first impressions count! A picture of you looking good at what you do, and smiling or looking into the camera, is really going to help your personal brand.

Consider obtaining your own domain name. To do this, you need to check domain name availability using an online tool such as Go Daddy, Check Domain or Instant Domain Search. Remember, you can use your initial or middle name to stand out from other similar or identical names. The advantage of having your own domain name is that you own the content on your own site and have complete control of it, unlike with social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. People are more likely to trust a website URL that matches a name rather than a random URL. For those who are looking to start off with a simpler way, there’s always LinkedIn for you to start working on that profile presentation.

Reaching Your Audience

Think about who your audience is and what kind of content will attract them. Getting published and appearing as an expert in your field is an ideal way to promote yourself, and so is adding value to your brand by creating or curating content that is inline with your image. Consider writing a guest post for a company who is an expert in the field that you want to reach. Also, consider webinars to connect with people and offer to do free talks and seminars in person.

Cultivating Your Personal Brand

In the interest of consistency, make sure that the action you take online is in line with the brand you want to create and develop. This includes the tone of voice as well as the content of what you post and share. Remember not to engage with negativity as this can have a detrimental effect on the image you want to portray. Think about the emails you send and how they come across to recipients. Set up an email signature that includes your photo as well as your details. Your sign-off needs to look professional and load quickly on any email inbox server.

Personal Presentation

Think about your appearance; freshly laundered and ironed clothes and a neat professional appearance are always going to put you ahead of someone with chipped nail varnish and scuffed shoes. Be on time, be courteous and thoughtful. Have unique, creative, original business cards printed to ensure you stand out from the crowd as well. Leaving people with a great impression of you can only help your brand flourish and solidify!

How you want other people to see you depends on your future plans, your career aspirations and how you want your reputation to be perceived. Creating and developing a positive personal brand is vital to determining how other people see you. It will lead to more contacts, industry recognitions, and better opportunities. Spend some time creating and cultivating the personal brand you want to give yourself for the best chance of success in your chosen field.

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Corporate Branding: How to Do It Right

No matter how big or small your business is, your brand is an integral part of your company. While some business owners and entrepreneurs don’t believe in the importance of branding, many marketing experts will argue that it is one of the elements that make up a successful business venture. But what exactly is branding and why is it important?

In an article on Entrepreneur.com, John Williams defined brand as “your promise to your customers.” According to him, it tells your customers “what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be, and who people perceive you to be.”

In other words, your brand is much more than your company’s logo, which is just a visual representation of your business. It encompasses a lot of things. To put it simply, your brand is very important because it gives your business an identity.

Define your brand

The first step towards establishing your brand is to identify the core value of your business. According to Williams, when defining your brand, you should be able to answer these questions:

  • What is your company’s mission?
  • What are the benefits and features of your products and services?
  • What do your customers and prospects already think of your company?
  • What qualities do you want them to associate with your company?

To answer these questions, a great deal of research should be carried out. Also, a series of discussions among the leaders of your organisation – not just your marketing team – about what your company stands for is also required. While Williams acknowledges the fact that defining your brand takes a lot of time and effort, it can make significant contributions to how you present your business to the world and how you want people to perceive it.

Get the word out

Once you have defined your brand, there are many ways for you to spread the word about it. For starters, you can come up with a unique logo that you should place in all instances of your brand communication, not just on your products. Williams also suggested developing a memorable tagline that “captures the essence” of your brand, as well as creating branding guidelines for the company and its marketing materials, which are an important way to ensure your team follow a certain approach to communicating externally.

Integrate your brand

As mentioned earlier, your brand is more than just a visual representation of your business. Therefore, you should integrate your brand in all aspects of your organisation. From the way you answer customer enquiries, your staff’s uniform, your email’s signature, to how you deal with people, your brand should reflect everything your business stands for and what you promise your customers.

Consistency is key

As with everything in life, consistency is vital in developing and maintaining a solid corporate brand. Natalie McCatty of Search Engine Journal wrote that businesses that cannot make up their mind about their identity usually find it hard to establish a strong brand that consumers can easily recognise.

Citing McDonald’s as an example, McCatty said the fast food giant has a strong and highly recognisable brand because everything they do is branded. McDonald’s is consistent with everything, from their social media strategies to their offline marketing tactics. For the last 50 years, McDonald’s has been using the golden arches logo to represent itself and everything it stands for. As a result, it is fairly easy for everyone to associate the golden arches with inexpensive food and quick meals, among other things.

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