What is a brand?
The dictionary says, A recognisable name given to a product or service. My definition would be more marketing-orientated, something along the lines of ‘the ability to promise and consistently deliver a unique and superior product and experience in the consumer’s minds.’ YOU are a brand!
Companies around the world spend vast amounts on building and developing their brands. A good brand commands loyalty, adds value and drives market share and profits. So there is no reason you can’t adopt the principles of branding and apply them to yourself. Brands are not just about big companies. For example, people like Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Siya Kolisi, and Lionel Messi are brands. When you think of these people, you form a clear and definite picture of the brand personalities they have developed.
Developing yourself as a brand will help you become better known within your company or industry. You will earn more income. You will attract more attention, respect, and clients.
I believe the individual has to develop their own brand. Here are seven tips on how to become the CEO of the brand YOU.
- Develop the mindset of a marketer
Some people’s job descriptions revolve around marketing, sales, and promotions. Still, everyone is (or should be) marketing, promoting, and selling themselves permanently. I believe that most people instinctively know how to market themselves. Nevertheless, you might find it interesting to read and learn about marketing theory and skills and apply them to yourself.
Remember that you are your own Director of Marketing (your Mom’s praise and recommendations can only take you so far!).
- What do you offer the market? What is your brand proposition and promise?
All profitable brands are based on a reliable product with benefits that buyers value and appreciate. A lousy product that has been promoted as a super-brand might get a few people to try it out, but there won’t be any repeat purchases.
Ensure that you build your personal brand on natural strengths and benefits, whatever they may be – your people skills, technical ability, organisational skills, and flexibility.
- Describe your brand personality. What makes you different?
List how you are unique. What are your values, qualities, and attributes? Does the market desire them? What is special about the package called you?
Be aware of what makes you distinctive from your competitors or your colleagues. Write down what makes you remarkable. Promote yourself on this basis.
- Develop an action plan to promote your brand
Create plans that make you stand out. Volunteer for projects, put up your hand to do that presentation and look for every opportunity to build your profile and enhance your skills.
Since I was a junior sales rep, my career success has been built on doing every single presentation I could, as effectively as possible. This made me stand out from the crowd. Don’t be shy to take the credit for a job well done.
Don’t go out and hire a billboard, but note how you have contributed to or even driven a successful project at work. In essence, these notes will stand you in good stead when it comes to negotiating a promotion or increase or even a new job.
- Create an image of excellence
Do everything as well as you can – even the little things. Don’t just wait for the big opportunity. The one time you answer the phone with a growl might be the only time the boss ever phones you! When the receptionist is away from her desk, that person you make a cup of tea for might be the visiting Chairman.
But don’t strive for excellence just because someone might be watching. Pursue excellence for excellence’s sake, and the rewards only in terms of personal satisfaction will be worth it.
- Make doing business with you an exciting and rewarding experience
Think of yourself as a service company with a single employee. Make sure that you deliver on every promise that you make.
- Be a team player
When I say you must stand out and develop your image, I don’t mean that this must ever be done at the expense of others.
You are a brand. You are in charge of your brand. So take control from today and do something remarkable.
Be distinct – not extinct!
“Branding is no longer for Fortune 500 companies and Madison Avenue agencies with excessive budgets and inadequate tracking. Personal branding is about managing your name – even if you don’t own a business – in a world of misinformation, disinformation, and semi-permanent Google records. Are you going on a date? The chances are that your ‘blind’ date has Googled your name. Going to a job interview? Ditto.” – Tim Ferriss