The development of social media and online sharing platforms was supposed to make marketing easier, but it’s just increased the number of potential competitors for a share of your customer’s mind.
And it’s shifted the focus from the company to the individual
We all now need to become influencers and having a clear, relevant and effective personal brand is an essential tool in capturing the hearts and minds of today’s consumer even in a B2B Marketplace.
Media was the first industry to pick up this trend, positioning the actors, musicians and increasingly journalists as the “product” and the film, show or newspaper as the channel. Showrunners are now the draw to watch a new TV show and papers are marketing themselves as the exclusive source of a celebrity columnists insights and knowledge.
But how do you go about creating a strong, relevant personal brand?
Know what you stand for
We are naturally social animals and tend to avoid rejection at all costs. This can lead us to avoid alienating people meaning we try to be all things to all people. But this will muddy your brand.
Your aim is to be seen as an authority and advocate for a clearly identified message. So what do you want to be known for? A good rule of thumb is to have three clear messages that you want to portray in your content, that reinforce your brand consistently. This is your brand fingerprint that lets people recognise your work and what you stand for.
Think of these as the triggers that will lead others to refer you to people interested in that specific subject area. You’ll build on this to establish your reputation over time
Look to the experts for tips and tricks.
As you build your personal brand, be on the lookout for new approaches
It’s worth following some of the more established through leaders and influencers, whether on Instagram and youtube or more professional influencers on LinkedIn.
Seek out those influencers in your industry and the wider media environment and follow them
See if you can identify their core brand messages, are they clear and consistent? What tools do they use and what style is their content written in. What have they done wrong?
Consistency is key
Brand building is about repetition. There’s a good reason that Coke repeats it’s Christmas ad each year, and it’s not to keep production costs down! Coke wants to be associated with the Joy that children feel at Christmas, knowing that this will act as a buying trigger throughout their life.
Similarly, you need to consistently repeat your messages. This doesn’t mean sending the same article out over and over but making sure that each post reinforces your message in the mind of the readers, and that you provide a regular stream of relevant content to reinforce your position.
Honesty and integrity must be at the core.
Building a brand is a relationship.
You need to be diligent about putting content out there, but unless your audience stays with you over the long term, your message just won’t get through. To commit to your brand they need to be interested, but, most importantly, they need to trust you.
In sales and Politics, people buy from people they trust, so avoid making claims you can’t stand over, be objective and use evidence to support your arguments.
Be open to the other side of the argument and acknowledge it has value, as you may find you learn something which strengthens your own position
You’ll be surprised how compelling your arguments will become if you are open to acknowledging contradictory positions or weaknesses.
Be an advocate for your position
Whilst we enjoy a bit of schadenfreude from time to time, we tend to gravitate towards people who reinforce our own perceptions and beliefs rather than those that denigrate them.
You are an advocate for your chosen message, so it’s your duty to be uplifting in your approach, highlighting the positive aspects as much as possible.
Sell your ideas and give your followers positive messages they can use to help sell your idea and brand on to others.
Corporate communications are often dry and lifeless. It’s clear, concise, informative and bland. It doesn’t have a personality.
Your content needs to be different. People aren’t buying into your posts and videos, they are buying into you as a person, so you need to let your personality come through and make your message human.
Your content should be educational and persuasive, but mostly it needs to be enjoyable! This isn’t a lecture, its two people sharing a conversation, so let your own personality come out in your content.