11 Simple Steps for a Successful Brand Building Process
10 Golden Rules Of Personal Branding
Creating a personal brand can be a daunting, mythical task. And one of the easiest ways to get lost in the process is to not know where to start. Even Oprah Winfrey began by going through several style iterations on a small local show before defining her voice into one of the most influential personal brands in the world.
In both our look-at-me cultural shift and evolving job market, it’s both helpful and necessary to stand out when applying for a job or starting your own company. A personal brand is for (almost) everyone. So here are 10 golden rules for creating an engaging, unique, and inviting personal brand.
“Too many people are unfocused when it comes to press and coverage, trying to be “everything to everyone.” Decide what your key message is and stick to it,” says Cooper Harris, founder and CEO of Klickly. Her personal brand has undergone a dramatic shift—from working actress to respected tech entrepreneur and she has handled this shift by only focusing on one message at a time. Keeping your message focused for your target demographic will make it that much easier to both create content around your personal brand and have others define you.
In fact, Adam Smiley Poswolsky, millennial workplace expert and author of The Breakthrough Speaker, takes it one step further when he’s advising speakers: “Carve a niche, and then carve a niche within your niche. The best personal brands are very specific.” And Juan Felipe Campos, VP of tech and partner at Manos Accelerator, goes one step further to focus on communities that he targets with his large-scale clients. “Keep your message and content consistent to one niche topic to become memorable within a targeted community.” The narrower and more focused your brand is, the easier it is for people to remember who you are. And when it comes time to hire a speaker or a new employee, your narrowed-down brand will be what they remember.
There’s an easy way to have an original personal brand—and that is to be genuine and authentic. Millennial influencer and head of marketing at Popular Demand, Monica Lin, says “People can see right through a disingenuous act.” The more obviously a brand is a copycat, the more the audience will call out the perpetrator for it. Monica’s personal brand experienced a huge amount of growth after she began engaging with her audience more meaningfully on Twitter.
“Be genuine. It will make it much easier to manage your personal brand on a daily basis,” explained William Harris, Facebook ads expert at Elumynt. Your personal brand should be an easy daily filter that you create content and reach out to your audience with. And finally, Justin Wu, founder of CoinState says “Be a master of your craft, skillset or industry before starting a personal brand. Then your content will help amplify who you are.” When initially building his personal brand, he garnered a reputation of being an expert in his field while simultaneously amplifying on social media that same renown. If you’re deeply skilled in one area, your reputation alone will help you build the brand you want.
If your personal brand isn’t telling a story, you’ve already lost half of your potential audience. Allen Gannett, chief strategy officer at Skyword and author of The Creative Curve explains it best:” The most effective personal branding strategy these days is to build a true narrative – single character monologues are boring in Tinseltown, and even more boring for your personal brand.” No one wants to hear you shout about your brand into the social media void, so create a story around your brand that your audience can engage with. Allen regularly meets and chats with his audience in airports around the world, further developing his warm and friendly personal brand.
One of the best ways to tell that story is through written content or video. For Pelpina Trip, social video strategist, this is definitely the case. Her own video channel on LinkedIn sees some of the highest levels of engagement across the platform. “The most personal way to communicate online is with video. Simply use your smartphone to video message your clients, make a personal connection with prospective clients and connect with co-workers. After all, you always have your smartphone on you!”
Being consistent is very similar to having a narrow focus—it’s much easier to get recognized for one topic if you consistently create content and brand voice around it. “Ensure that your personal brand promise stays consistent, both online and offline,” explains Fyiona Yong, director and millennial leadership coach (ICF ACC). She regularly works with millennials in a corporate context to help them define their more conservative work goals. “You have to demonstrate consistency across your communication, gravitas, and appearance. Don’t underestimate how tiny inconsistencies can derail personal brand effectiveness.”
Establish a brand mission and vision.
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO BUILDING YOUR BRAND
Brand Building Examples: Nike
Nike goes even further with its brand mission, by adding a footnote to the statement: “If you have a body, you are an athlete“. Think about how wide their target audience becomes with a disclaimer like that!
Let’s take a step back for a minute. Before crafting your vision or brand mission statement, gut check on whether you really committed to Step 3 of determining who your exact consumer is. It’s one of the most important brand building process steps of them all.
Create a brand logo & tagline.
On any digital platform, ensure that your brand looks the same everywhere. Use your brand style guide to create consistency with visuals such as color and logo use, fonts, photography, etc.
And don’t forget about video! YouTube, Facebook Video and Facebook Live, Snapchat and Instagram Stories are all platforms that need to have content executed with your unique brand voice and personality.
Brand Building Examples: Warby Parker
Warby Parker has managed to quickly develop a brand that is unique and best in class. Their innovative product home try-on experience, retail environment, and digital content marketing efforts are perfectly tailored to the lifestyle of its target audience.
How to represent your brand when marketing your business
Once you’ve created and placed your brand at the heart of your business, it informs customers of your values and what your services promise. It’s right at the centre of your marketing materials and tone of voice. If it’s not, it should be!
Brand confusion is the number one threat to your brand. Whoever is responsible for your businesses marketing, therefore, needs to get their head around your brand before they start thinking of content ideas and marketing initiatives, because the resulting posts need to ring true to your company, its thoughts and values, and how these are expressed.
That isn’t to say that nothing new or creative can be expressed; simply that these expressions must be ones that feel authentic to the brand, rather than some bolt-on flow of posts that awkwardly co-exists with it. Here are five tips to bear in mind when marketing and growing your band.
Establish brand guideline
These guidelines should set out how your company’s image can be played out through marketing materials, including what types of content you’ll post about, how imagery will be used and what tone of voice you’ll adopt. The guidelines should be given to everybody involved in the marketing process.
Think ‘brand’ before you press go
Have the guidelines been followed? Does the post feel like something your company would say? Does any of its content grate against your brand values? If your company was a person would it speak in this way? Does the post strengthen what you stand for or does it confuse your business purpose? And most importantly, will it appeal to your audience?
Align to your brand strategy
Your brand strategy has set out the way your particular brand will go about achieving its goals, so ensure your social media content falls in line. If, for example, your brand takes a slowly but surely approach to winning new business, then putting out aggressive sales-driven posts could confuse your customers and ultimately even drive them away.
Focus on your business aims
Create marketing that supports and contributes to your business message. For instance social media offers the perfect platform to execute new ways of conveying your message instead of just repeating the same old information. Put yourself in the mind of your customer. Having seen your message on your website, marketing materials, etc. what kind of things would they like to see and hear to reinforce and validate it? Imagine your message is a pencil sketch. Your aim, through social media, is to add definition, colour, light and shade to the original sketch through your posts – not to keep adding new sketches.
Remember what a great brand is…
A great brand fulfils a desire or need within its market. This is its purpose. Its purpose and supporting values never change, just as a person’s fundamental personality and characteristics never change. Products and services and the way they are targeted may vary, but the overarching core purpose must never be eroded, or so too will the customers’ faith in the company and ultimately their loyalty towards it.
Think of your business as a person when you make a decision concerning your strategy or tactics. Would this person (your business) and what they stand for, behave in this way? Does this particular move strengthen what your business stands for or does it confuse its purpose? Once you know your brand inside out, you’ll even be able to evaluate considerations such as whether your customer communications reflect your brand appropriately.
Always communicate your brand
This is where you take your brand to the next level and get out there and communicate what your brand is about as much as you can, not just when you absolutely have to. So get fully immersed in social media, blogs and content marketing to ensure your products and services reach the hearts and minds of your audience. Great customer experiences attract more of the same. Buyers can easily find you, tell their friends, and remain loyal when you are at the forefront of their minds. For further reading have a look at our guide to creating a brand.
By managing to constantly stay relevant to a targeted set of customers, leading brands ensure they maintain ownership of clear points of difference compared with the competition. They stay credible by increasing customers’ trust and loyalty to them. Staying relevant involves getting inside the minds of your audience, understanding how they think and what’s useful to them.