These 14 Tips Will Help You Move Ahead of the Competition
Professionals who want to establish themselves as credible, reliable experts must first develop a strong personal brand. As with a corporate brand, starting your personal branding strategy requires a good, hard look at who you are — your core values, skills and beliefs — and figuring out how to convey those elements consistently in your digital presence.
If you’re just embarking on your branding journey, you might not know where to begin. We asked members of Forbes Coaches Council to offer their best tips for professionals looking to build their brand. Here’s what they had to say.
1. Know Who You Are And Aren’t
It’s important to define yourself and your business for yourself. Do not succumb to ideas or methodologies in the marketplace. When this is clear, you can then identify customers who can resonate with what you are offering and who can celebrate your brand. We often hear about authenticity and what happens when you know the value you can bring to the table. – LaKisha Greenwade, Lucki Fit LLC
2. Identify Your Target Audience
It’s very important to know who your customers are, or where to find them, at the time of building a branding strategy. If you’re clueless as to who would likely buy your products/services, you’ll have a hard time narrowing down the advertising platforms to choose for promotional campaigns, and you’ll end up losing money. – Anjali Chugh, Cosmique Global Inc
3. Know Your ‘Why’
Why are you here? What’s your purpose? How does your business’ promise serve to fulfill your purpose? Once you know the answer to that, creating your brand is simply finding a unique and memorable way to express how your business’ promise fulfills your purpose to your market, in a way that they recognize something they want/need/desire, and how your purpose syncs with theirs. – Debra Russell, Debra Russell Coaching, LLC
4. Understand How Others Perceive You
Key to developing a personal branding strategy is the understanding that it’s not an “autobiography” of self-promotion, but what others say about the person. Survey those around you to extract as much as possible. What are your strengths, your weaknesses and what’s the one word that describes you best? Transfer this information to an executive summary and add it to your LinkedIn profile. – Diane Craig, Corporate Class Inc.
5. Capitalize On Who You Naturally Are
Branding doesn’t have to be hard or complicated. When you are just starting out, look at what you already have. What phrases do you use a lot? What platforms are you most established on — LinkedIn, Facebook, local events? Which colors are you always wearing/drawn to? What is your unique personality? Just starting to show up more, as yourself will create your brand, without you having to force it. – Hanna Hermanson, Dream Life is Real Life
6. Be Sincere
People don’t initially buy into a brand, they buy into a person. Be sincere in all you do, and it will resonate with your core audience. As potential clients and customers see that you work from the heart with a spirit of excellence, they will become your most avid brand ambassadors. That level of support comes from loyalty — something money cannot buy. – Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell, Leading Through Living Community
7. Understand How To Clearly Articulate Your Value
Most people I know start their branding strategy by trying to tell as many people as possible why they are good at what they do. Where they fall short is that they don’t explain how they are unique in a way that is valuable to your prospective targets. Always concentrate on how you can uniquely solve an important problem. – Donald Hatter, Donald Hatter Inc.
8. Have A Powerful Brand Promise
When it comes to creating a brilliant branding strategy, you need a powerful brand promise. You must inform the prospect of what they stand to gain after engaging with your brand or business in general. Letting the audience know what’s in it for them is vital. The brand promise addresses an expected outcome of engaging with your brand as well as unspoken objections the prospect may have. – Lori Manns, Quality Media Consultant Group
9. Choose Your Medium And Have A Consistent Content Strategy
Conveying your value proposition creatively through one or more mediums must be the center of your branding strategy. Just because video is considered “hot” right now doesn’t mean you should jump into video. Don’t follow the trend. Each medium possesses its challenges and forums. Decide on the channel(s) you want to use and be consistently excellent in communicating value to your stakeholders. – John M. O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.
10. Define Your Brand Image
Once you define who you are and what is important to you, visually find photos, images, colors, and/or graphics to build out your website, business cards and social media platform. Having an online and offline image that reflects the core of your value allows the artifacts to begin to tell a story about your brand. Then be consistent with that image across all platforms. – Monica Thakrar, MTI
11. Be A Person Of Substance
To a person just starting their branding strategy, I would say, first be a person of substance. Be a big person on the inside first, before you attempt to be a big person on the outside. Personal brands that ignore what lies within and focus heavily on what’s visible, projected, and claimed will be perceived as hollow brands lacking credibility. – Gaurav Bhalla, Knowledge Kinetics
12. Take Stock Of Your Strengths
To elicit your brand and value proposition, list competencies (leadership, technical skills, etc.) that have followed you throughout your career. Next, take note of strengths others commend you for, such as resolving difficult projects. Finally, jot down what you want to be known for in the future. Your list will seem deceptively simple, yet it will have a strong array of brand building blocks. – Laura Smith-Proulx, An Expert Resume
13. Follow Your Passion
When creating a brand, you first need to get super clear on what it is you are passionate about and what you want to create. In addition, get super clear on who your ideal client is and what their needs are. What is your ideal client’s pain points? How will your company serve them? Dig deep by asking yourself questions to help you identify what makes your company unique and who you are serving. – Kerissa Kuis, The University of Wellness
14. Keep At It, But Evaluate And Adjust Along The Way
It can take a while to get your brand out into the marketplace. I’ve seen so many people get discouraged easily and quickly when results were not as immediate as they would have liked. Keep at it. Evaluate and adjust your efforts to make sure you’re on track. But don’t give up — give yourself some time. – Rose Cartolari, Rose Cartolari Consulting