When someone mentions branding, the first thing that probably comes to mind is a company. These are companies that have ‘mindshare’ ; a place in the customer’s mind. They have over the years promised their customers a certain level of experience and have delivered everytime. Some of these brands are Coca-Cola, Apple, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Google, you name it. Although these brands, worth millions and billions of dollars are corporations, there are also individuals who are recognized all over the world for what they stand for, with their personal brands worth millions and billions of dollars; talk of Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Aliko Dangote etc. The branding of your business is extremely important, however since your clients will not relate with your company but you, it is important you build your personal brand. Like it or not, most companies are what they are today because of the reputation and unique characteristics demonstrated by their CEOs. Now before you brush this off as not for you, realise that whether you are a student, a graduate searching for a job, employed in a company or running your own business, you need your dream employer to see your great potential, you want your customers to choose you over your competitors and you need your clients to think of you as the best at your job. All of these require that you brand yourself as their best choice. You stand the risk of representing something you have not intended to be associated with if you do not conciously build a positive brand. Now I have your attention, let’s look at what personal branding is. A personal brand is the perception people have of you. It’s what comes to mind when your name is mentioned.
In their book, The Brand Called You, Peter Montoya and Tim Vandehey make a profound statement, “Define yourself in the minds of your prospects before they define you”. You sure do not want people to make their own conclusions about you and so you must clearly define yourself the way you want people to refer to you. Now let’s look at a few important things to take note of as you set out on the journey to build your personal brand.
1. Identify your target market
You cannot solve every problem. However, there are specific problems you can solve. Therefore identify the exact problem you are solving and that will determine the exact part of the market your services will be directed to. Find your specialty and focus on people who need those services. You are more likely to attract your target market than people who claim to provide services for a wider market. Once you identify your target market, find out what they value and what they want from you and build your brand around that.
2. Be unique and consistent
In building a personal brand, consistency is key. One of the world’s most recognized brands, Coca-Cola, has maintained the same look and taste for the more than 100 years they’ve existed. That is consistency. Apple’s iPhones maintain a certain look and feel no matter the model. That is consistency. In a world crowded with adverts and a lot of people doing what you do, you’ve got to be unique and place that uniqueness in front of your target audience repeatedly. Your target audience are the people your products are specially made for, the employers that need to see your works or capabilities and investors you want to attract. Montoya and Vandehey say, “What you do may not be unique but you are”, and that is true but what’s more exciting is that God has uniquely made each one of us and so discover your unique capabilities and area of expertise and repeatedly let your target audience see this uniqueness. And that is how you get noticed. That is how you land the good jobs and that is how you attract the clients you want to provide your services to.
[Gen 41:15 KJV And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it]
3. Be authentic
There’s a saying, “Be yourself, because everyone else is taken!” Building a personal brand that makes your target audience have a good perception of you doesn’t mean be someone else. A brand should be consistent for as long long as the company or person exists. For how long can you pretend to be something you are not? If there’s a weakness that mars the person you want to be seen as, work on it. That is very important but beyond that, do not pretend to be someone you are not. If you own your business or even work for someone, your customers want to work with someone they can relate to; someone who’ll understand their needs They don’t need another phony. There’s beauty in being you, build your brand around that.
[Psa 139:14 KJV I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well]
4. Be visible online
People tend to think that those who have a strong social media presence are probably among the successful in their industry. They stand a better chance at getting clients come to them than you will, if you have no online presence at all. Your social media accounts are not only for uploading pictures, chatting with people etc. They contribute greatly to your brand and so take advantage of them to build a strong and positive brand.
• Have a consistent name for all accounts, most preferably your full name because your first and last names may be a lot more common.
•Mind the pictures and posts you upload, share and like on Facebook, Instagram, etc
•Use pictures that portray some level of professionalism as profile pictures, especially on LinkedIn
•Social media marketing, upload of articles and videos etc must be consistent. Make it easy for your audience to follow you.
•When using social media marketing, do well to respond to people who comment on your uploads. This is important in building a family of loyal customers and audience
•The articles and posts you like shouldn’t be inconstistent with your brand
•Delete posts and pictures you uploaded in the past you wouldn’t want your brand to be associated with
5. Maintain a positive and consistent offline personality
When people meet you, they shouldn’t think the person you portray online and in person are two different people. Always have a professional composure; you don’t know where you are going to meet your biggest customer or client. Be welcoming to all and be ready to help all who need your assistance. Know what you stand for, and truly stand for it.
[Dan 6:10 KJV Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime]
Please like and comment to let me know what you think as well. Thank you.