Each of us sports around our very own, unique personal brand. The many things that separate and identify us as individuals serve to become known as our personal brand. All of the principle components of our personal brand; to include first impressions, demeanor, accomplishments, and the value we place on interaction with others determine the level of success we experience in both our personal and professional lives.
As we establish our business and working relationships, we must incorporate those same principles in the strategy we use to develop our personal business brand. As an entrepreneur myself, I would like to share with you four basic steps I took to establish the foundation for personal branding in my business.
Service and Reputation – The first step toward developing a personal business brand is to determine the type of service or product you intend to provide your clients or customers. You have to decide what your mission is and always deliver the service or product as promised; in the utmost professional manner. The expectation of, or perceived service is the reason your customers will choose your services over other competitors. By visualizing the end result of your efforts, you will be able outline a plan of action in reaching your goals.
In promoting my business, I researched other service providers in my career field, and chose to provide my clients with a level of service that I found missing in a sampling of my competition. Quite simply, “One-on-One Customer Service”. The availability of this simple, consumer expectation is severely lacking in today’s market. A client can hardly expect satisfaction in seeking services when contact with a concerned service provider is practically extinct. As my business continues to grow, I note that most of the comments from satisfied customers focus on the need to express their appreciation of being able to contact an individual service provider.
Once you identify the needs of a potential client base, market your business based on the provision of those needs.
Marketing Strategy – The second step in promoting your personal business brand is obtaining visibility. With the unlimited resources and marketing avenues available today, you don’t have to spend a great deal of money (if any) to establish your foundation. You may consider my techniques “shameless self promotion”, however I consider the results monetarily rewarding. In addition to a variety of local advertising assets such as newspapers, magazines and the Chamber of Commerce; there are plenty of online resources just waiting for you to tap into the benefits they provide. Little known examples of advertising you can find on the net include popular blog web sites such as “Word Press”, “Fast Company” or “Blogger”, and these will help you to get your information out on the world-wide-web in minutes.
Networking – The third step in laying a successful foundation for your personal business brand is to never underestimate the power of networking. In addition to the efforts you employ through other advertising and marketing resources, remember that opportunities for networking happen on a daily basis. Aside from the many organizations that enlist members to promote networking with others in your specific career field; there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer in support of events in your local community. As a business owner you can provide free workshops, schedule product demonstrations, distribute opportunities for entry into free drawings at local businesses and a number of other activities that will support the growth of your business. The key to effective networking is to be diverse in your connections, and by this I mean that you should not limit yourself to a particular region. If your organization supports local events, wear a professional identification badge that mentions your business or service.
A large amount of my clients have sought out my services after seeing the business name, or speaking with other satisfied customers.
Association – The ultimate goal is to have your business name associated not only with the service or product you provide, but with your own personal name as well. Most of us already have a business name before we begin to research and understand the importance of branding. That doesn’t mean that you should wait any longer to begin marketing your name side by side with that of your business. Consider “Trump Plaza”, Trump Towers”, “Trump University”, and “Trump Financial”. Chances are you know exactly who is behind the success of these assets.
(Reprinted from Lisa Parker)