The importance of personal branding and how to use it to your advantage

female founder leaning on her desk with computer, private equity, entrepreneur

Article by Sara Tye

In an increasingly digital world, the way that we are perceived as individuals has become more important than ever.

Things on the internet last an eternity, so it is important that we present and promote ourselves, our skills, our experience and personality in a way that we want to be seen. Personal branding is utilised to differentiate ourselves from other people. If this is done correctly, your personal brand can even be tied in with your business for extraordinary results.

So what is the whole point of personal branding? The ideal situation here is that you want your customers or peers to attribute your brand to you as a person. Think of Kate Middleton for example. She is a great example of good personal branding: she is consistent, and she has polished her look, style and way of speaking. When people know exactly what to expect from you as an individual, this will project onto whatever you may be providing and make your brand more trustworthy and desirable.

Once you have decided on your promise (what you bring to the table as a person and a brand), your customers or peers are going to have a certain expectation from your services and/or products. As long as these are met, you will see retention and a building of trust, leading to referrals and growth of your brand. After all, that is what you are in the game for, right?

Let’s talk about the most important aspects of branding you should think about, and how their implementation can further your status as an authoritative figure in your chosen career path.

Content types

You can use a wide plethora of channels to project your brand to as many people as possible. Your own website and social media would be where you want most of your audience to eventually end up, and other mediums such as emails, events, other websites and in-person networking can be utilised to drive people towards your website or social media accounts.

Within these channels, you can have different content types. Take into consideration your target audience (commonly referred to as customer avatars) when deciding on what types to primarily use. Perhaps having plenty of photographs, videos and Facebook Live recordings would suit the consumption styles of your customer base better. On the other hand, blogs, newsletters and press releases may be more suitable for your industry.

Either way, experiment with the timing, frequency and types of content that you churn out. Check the statistics for customer retention and engagement, and stick to a common theme and schedule once a successful content campaign has been realised.

What are you trying to achieve?

Building your brand becomes a lot more linear and straight-forward when you know what you would like to achieve.

One way to set objectives for the work you are doing is to set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). They are quantifiable measures of progress towards a goal. For example, you can strive to achieve 12 blogs a year, or media coverage in relevant titles, or deliver daily posts on various social media.

Of course, you should set yourself some larger goals as a whole, but setting smaller, incremental objectives will seem more manageable.

What you want your audience to feel

One of the most important things to nail down when it comes a personal brand, product or service is that it must provide a solution to one or more problems that your target audience has.

Will you provide ongoing support and maintenance for a long-term issue? Will you save time and/or money for the customer? Or will they gain valuable experience and knowledge from your services? Or increase their sales? Once you have your “promise” nailed down, you can start to pinpoint the marketing strategies to use to get maximum engagement from potential customers.

Analysing your competitors, environment you work in

It is important to take a close look and analyse your competitors if you are running a business or in a corporate role etc

Competitor analysis will enable you to implement common themes and ideas found in other businesses or people who do well in your sector which could help with engagement, customer retention or any other strategy to help grow brand awareness. Conversely, you might find a few glaring issues with their marketing and advertising strategy that you would want to avoid!

Also, you will want to find a gap in the market which you can create a niche around. If the space is too saturated, it may be worth diversifying your strengths. In this way you can develop your unique selling point (USP), an aspect of your brand which differentiates you from everyone else and draws customers in at the same time.

You can also apply competitor analysis when it comes to looking for a new job or a promotion. Carrying out thorough research on the types of candidates that might apply for a position that you’re after, you will get a more in-depth and focused understanding of certain behaviours and traits to help you apply for the role.

Takes a lot of work

If you had to learn one thing today, it would be that developing a brand for yourself will take you a fair amount of time and effort. You won’t become a point of reference overnight, and you certainly cannot expect to build a large clientele with little to no work.

Once you have built the bare bones of your brand (photos and social media.), you must continue to engage with your loyal following. By making clients, stakeholders and fellow peers feel as though they are part of a family, they will be more likely to continue requesting your services/products, and will be more inclined to recommend what you offer to others. In this way, you can expect your brand to grow steadily over time.

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