In today’s competitive world, it is not enough to put on a professional suit and have good credentials to make a name for yourself. Although they can still important, it is extremely tough to stand out if you don’t brand yourself well.
It could be daunting to create a personal brand but with a proper mindset and a few helpful tips, you’ll be surprised that it’s not as impossible as many would think. Whether you’re trying to make a name for yourself in a company or as an entrepreneur, check out these 20 tips below on how to effectively market and brand yourself.
1. Define Your Brand
A strong brand identity increases your value and makes a powerful follower base. Your brand is important because it defines the general public’s perception of who you and what you can do. That is why it’s critical to define your brand really well and make it comprehensive.
Identify clearly who you are and what makes up your brand. What sets your brand apart as an employer or as a member of your community? What is your vision and what are you trying to achieve? Think about these questions and use them as your guidelines in drafting and defining your perfect brand. You can learn and gather ideas from others who have successfully established their own brands. You can also get some inspiration in some of the books published about effective branding.
2. Define Your Goals
In addition to defining your brand, you should also be able to identify and define clearly what your goals are. Where would you like to be in a couple months or years from now? By being able to define your goals, you will also be able to define clearly your action steps to help you reach them.
Defining your goals can also help you anticipate what distractions or challenges may be blocking your success. Be dedicated to your goals. It could mean that you have to write it down and revisit, and reassess them regularly. Prioritize them by timeframe and create a greater overall picture of what you would want to achieve in creating your brand.
3. Define Your Audience
In order to effectively decide what marketing strategies to implement, you must first be able to identify your target audience. These are the people who will make your brand what it is. Once you have determined who are the people you want to reach out to, you can then look into how to make them notice your brand.
You could narrow down your audience based on their demographics (quantifiable statistics of a population) or psychographics (qualitative aspects of a population). Be as specific and as detailed as you need to be but try not to make your audience too niche, unless your intention is to target just that small minority.
4. Create A Powerful Brand Promise
Now that you know who you’re aiming to target, the next question is how to target them. This is why you need to craft a strong brand strategy. Consider what people can stand to gain when they listen to you and you can offer your audience in return. A well-planned brand strategy will not only help guide your direction
A brand promise is an expected outcome from engaging with your brand. It makes your brand seem more reliable and trustworthy when you are able to deliver what you said you will do. That said, you have to make realistic promises you know you can keep. If your personal brand doesn’t deliver on its promise, your reputation and ultimately your personal branding will decline.
5. Pay Attention To The Details
Once you are able to define your brand, you can turn your attention to the little things. Ultimately everything you do will affect how you brand yourself. Browse through your brand strategies and try to consider any possible loopholes, discrepancies or missing pieces of information.
Beyond your branding plan, you should also pay attention to things such as the way you dress, speak and write. Your brand model might look polished and foolproof but if you look or act unprofessionally, people’s perceptions of you will change and you lose their trust in your brand instantly. However simple they may seem, these small details have a great impact on how your audience perceives you.
6. Build Your Own Website
Creating a brand is a challenging venture but it is much harder to do without establishing your brand presence first. One way to establish presence and share valuable information is through your own website. There are different online platforms that allow you to do this, like WordPress, Wix, and Joomla. They are easy to navigate and you’ll be able to publish content like a pro.
The most successful brands tend to be those with lots of engaging and authoritative content that gives unique, valuable insights to your audience or prospects. Good content is always king so take advantage of the current digital advancements and the trend of online marketing. A website amasses all your branded content so that it’s easier for a wider audience to access when you search your brand on the internet.
7. Join the Social Network
Social media is still one of the best ways to boost engagement with your followers. Building up your social networks goes hand in hand in building a website to establish your brand presence. Complete your profile and use a professional photo.
Having your own social media presence raises your overall brand awareness and you can attract your audience to be your regular subscribers and followers. It also gives you a chance to interact directly with your audience, which can make your brand more personable and real. With the sharable factor of social media, your content has the potential to reach millions, if done right.
8. Come Up With a Content Plan
With your social media accounts and website set up, you need to create a content calendar so it’s easier for you to know the topics you’re about to write. Commit to posting a couple of times a week and make sure your content is interesting, educational, and engaging. The key is to create a regular posting schedule so your audience knows when to expect your content.
Avoid posting things that would affect your personal brand. One single post or wrong caption can impact significantly on how you brand yourself. Come up with some keywords that can be used across your posts to act as “guidelines” on how you present your brand.
9. Monitor Your Personal Brand Engagement
Engagement, both online and offline, is a critical element to establish your successful brand. Branding yourself well involves two-way communication and building a strong rapport with your audience. Encourage positive participation and you should have a plan of action for negative remarks from the people around you.
However, you should monitor and somehow your brand engagement. It’s not enough to just establish your brand presence without monitoring the responses of your followers. This helps you to see how your branding strategies are performing and make the necessary modifications accordingly.
10. Be Authentic
It’s hard to keep up if you’re alway trying to be something you’re not. Good effective branding is grounded in authenticity. Your brand will eventually suffer and it will most likely be not fruitful if you compromise your authenticity. Let your brand be an extension of your personal views and beliefs.
It’s okay to be confident but you should avoid acting as an expert when in fact, you don’t have all the answers. Nobody likes a know-it-all. Your audience might be more savvy than you realize and they will see through your false image eventually.
11. Be Understood
This tip is especially important. There’s no point of having an incredible personal branding strategy without being able to deliver your message for people’s understanding. Make sure your audience understands who you are and what your brand is all about. Use simple words and analogies to help others understand those more technical concepts.
Of course, this understanding comes first from you. If it doesn’t make sense to you, how are you going to promote it to the masses and answer their questions? Once you understand your own brand, you can then communicate it clearly and effectively to others.
12. Seek Feedback on How You Brand Yourself
Seek feedback on your brand. You can ask those who know you best. They could be your friends, your colleagues, or even your family members. Ask them what your core strengths and weaknesses are. Gather constructive feedback on what they see in your brand attributes.
A good way to get feedback is through co-creation. This involves sharing your brand strategies with a sample group of people who fall under your target audience to get their opinions and comments. These feedback will tell you what you are doing right and highlight some issues that need improvement.
13. Ask For Recommendations
The people that are close to you are not only great feedback providers; they can also help endorse your brand to other people. Ask them for recommendations on other friends or contacts who can be of great benefit to your brand. Don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth.
This is one of the most effective ways to boost your brand. It’s good to expand your network of contacts but it’s not wrong to reach out to ask for help from those around you. Some of your friends or colleagues will naturally promote your brand to others but it’ll be much faster and more direct if you proactively ask for their recommendations and approach those people yourself.
14. Capitalize On What You Have
You might already be familiar with and are actively using platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin for a while. Establish on these platforms and make full use of your existing branding assets. Update your platforms to reflect your current branding strategies before branching out further.
As mentioned earlier, your co-workers, friends, and family members are the first line of your network but it’s good to tap on other contacts outside of your immediate circle. Reach out to client contacts, industry seniors or mentors that you’ve worked with before when seeking opportunities to get your name out there. If they are already familiar with your work ethics, they are more likely to help you.
15. Apply the 3Cs of Branding
The 3Cs stand for clarity, consistency, and constancy. While being authentic, you also need to be clear in who you really are and who you are not. You can highlight your qualifications but don’t sugar-coat it. You also need to be consistent in your branding and must be visible constantly in front of your target audience.
You have to be very careful because it can cause downfall to your brand if your audience can sense you lack any of these important elements. If you find yourself not getting anywhere with your branding strategy, check if you have fulfilled all the 3Cs and change your strategy if needed.
16. Go Offline
While it’s important to build a strong online presence, you can’t ignore promoting offline too. Get out there and join relevant groups according to your niche. You can even start offering free talks at conferences to gain traction and who knows, these might turn into paid opportunities in the future.
Since your personal brand is not just an online persona, you have to practice showcasing in real life. People also tend to prefer real-life interactions as they feel more genuine and personal, so you have a higher chance of appealing to your target audience. You should be able to carry your brand at home, at work, or wherever you are.
17. Prepare an Elevator Pitch
An elevator pitch is a brief and clear message about you that shouldn’t be more than a minute long. You can include your skills, your vision, and your brand objectives. Whether you are in a business event or attending a casual party, there will always be a situation or opportunity where you can share something about yourself. Craft your elevator speech in advance so that you’re always ready for these kinds of situations.
That said, you have to be careful not to be too rooted in your original elevator pitch. It has to be flexible according to the situation. If you are crafting a 60-second speech, then you should still be able to tell the key points you want to emphasize about you in 30 seconds. That’s why it’s so important to know your brand inside out and practice, practice, and practice again.
18. Learn To Step Out Of The Spotlight
This tip might be ironic and counterintuitive. Knowing how to brand yourself is to establish a brand presence — but you also have to learn when and how long to be out of the spotlight. Taking too much time in the spotlight can actually hurt your brand. It’s good to create that balance of active and passive marketing techniques so it’s not too intrusive to your audience.
There’s a negative side to too much attention. Sometimes, you can’t control the engagement from your followers and some are bound to disagree with you. It’s okay to step out of the spotlight for a while until things settle down. Take that time to reconsider your strategies to solve those problems.
19. Stay Informed All The Time
It’s not all the time that you are the one giving information to your audience. You should also be able to gather information from others. Stay informed with market and industry trends to keep yourself updated. You don’t want to use backdated techniques that are no longer effective or applicable in the current time.
Timely and valuable information are essentials on how to market yourself. It makes you more relatable when you are able to adapt to the current situation. By keeping yourself informed, you will also know what information can be valuable to your audience.
20. Review Your Brand
Conduct a regular review of your brand. Evaluate and measure the things you have been doing. Are you portraying your brand in the way you planned it to be? Is it easily understood? Are you targeting the right people? Review and re-plan how you do things regularly.
This is why it’s extremely important to keep up with trends from time to time. Take reference from the ongoing trends and adapt your plans accordingly. In order to brand yourself effectively, you need to be flexible and open to change your strategies.
Putting yourself out into the corporate world can be daunting; you never know how people are going to respond to you. It takes a lot of trial and error, resilience and adaptability. As you hone your craft over time, you will eventually develop your own techniques and style to brand yourself in the most effective way possible.