One of the most important aspects of creating a personal brand, is first attempting to determine what your goals are. Are you trying to become the President of the United States, the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, a serial entrepreneur, a social activist? This will certainly help you understand how to frame your brand, how to develop it, and how to continually move you towards your end goals.
In order to do this systematically, you should think of your personal brand just as a company does of it’s own brand; like a business.
It starts with the product
That’s right, it starts with the person. After all, it is a personal brand, and you ARE the product. Write down how you want to be defined. What are the attributes of your product. Are you innovative? Are you a trendsetter? What are your specialties? If you were sitting on a shelf at a store, why would someone choose you over the competition?
Make sure you can deliver
Great customer service defines companies. It also defines you. Great customer service means you are servicing people who have already given you a chance. That means creating deep, meaningful relationships. It involves listening as much as it involves talking and responding.
Personal service involves great follow-ups with great communication.
You have to remember that your customers have immense power, and if you service your following correctly, they should be creating word of mouth for you. If they’re not, then you need to either re-vamp your product or your customer service.
Sales cures all ills
There is an old saying that sales cures all ills. It’s the fuel for your brand. When trying to determine the right strategy of how to sell yourself, you need to re-visit your goals. Are you trying to attract recruiters or gain a reader base? Are you trying to get a promotion at work?
For the sake of simplicity, you should look at sales in 3 ways: Direct Sales, Channel Sales, and Marketing.
Direct Sales Model: This is your business. It’s what happens when people interact directly with you, whether that’s in person, on email, or on the phone. Social aptitude, charisma, and authenticity are extremely important here. This is why written and verbal communication skills are so valued in the workforce. It’s something everybody says they have, but in reality, it’s not something people have worked to improve.
Alliances & Channels: As a Partnerships Director, I am deeply familiar with the power of channels and alliances. Companies have been doing this for years. One brand alone is strong, but with the correct alliances, a brand can be propelled much further.
As a quick example of how this can be applied to your own brand, I am a contributor to Personal Branding Blog and I’m also syndicated to Brazen Careerist. Just last week, I was interviewed by Ryan Paugh. Creating different channels helps expand your exposure and create thought leadership around your brand.
Within your own organization, this can be applied by working on cross-function projects and taking initiatives that involve branding yourself across the organization.
By reaching out and creating relationships with those adjacent to you, you can help expand your presence, both on the internet as well as within your organization.
Marketing: Marketing is about amplifying the success you’re already seeing to attract customers. Much on this blog and others in the blogosphere have talked about personal marketing.
For example, using tools like Twitter help you expand your reach to new people, LinkedIn can help you with existing business contacts, and Facebook can help you market to personal contacts.
Hopefully by this point, marketing is the easy part. If you’ve created a great product, treated your customers the right way, and have been able to sell your brand, then you’ve created a base of followers and customers that will help spread and build your personal brand.