When I was growing up, there was a time when we'd buy "no frills" brand food. I'm sure the food tasted the same as other food (or similar) but since it was packaged differently I didn't want it and my taste buds rejected it.
Personal branding is the difference between your brand being perceived as no frills or your brand being perceived as the real deal.
A strong personal brand is what differentiates you from your competition and with such branding, small businesses can beat larger businesses.
Over the past several years, I've grown my own personal brand and it's brought me speaking engagements, led to large brands wanting to work with me, and so much more.
Here's how to start and grow your personal brand.
- Focus on what you do. It's important to be clear on what the core of your personal brand is. Are you a speaker? A consultant? An author? Is your focus technology? Marketing? Back pain? Healthy eating? Leadership? A strong personal brand is strengthened when you enable people to narrow their focus of what you do.
- Build a tribe. As you seek to build your personal brand, don't focus on generating sales. First, focus on building your community, or building your tribe. I'm not saying you should NOT generate sales. However, building your tribe should be about building a community of followers who know, like and trust you. To build this tribe, encourage people to join your email list, like you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter and otherwise connect with you to continue the conversation.
- Showcase your personal brand with social media. It is essential that you showcase your personal brand. Showcase your thought leadership, showcase your speaking engagements. You need to FEED your community. The best way to do this is through the power of social media. Several times a day on Twitter, several times a week on Facebook, and wherever your customers reside on social media, you need to be actively engaged with your tribe.
- Video brings your brand to life. Video is a powerful way to bring life to your personal brand. Remember, most of your tribe cannot get up close and personal with you. However, through the power of engaging videos you can get closer to and more personal with your community.
- Speak at events and organize your event. Events are a very powerful way to connect with your community in real life. Sure, we can see our favorite celebrities through live streaming and other multimedia options. However, when they have live performances and events, we still want to go, right?Having a live event for your community is no different. Speaking at other people's events is a great way to showcase your thought leadership, too. Organizing your own event is a powerful way to put your brand on a pedestal.
- Publish a book. Being an author is a way to add credibility and strengthen your personal brand. Think about it: You have to pick expert A or expert B. Both are about the same except one has a book. The one with the book will most always be picked, as they appear smarter, more credible, and more prestigious. A book is an important way to solidify your personal brand.
- Get media coverage. When the local TV affiliate, radio station, magazine or other media ask you to speak as an expert, it gives you credibility and amplifies your brand. This requires active outreach to get their attention, but it is well worth the time and effort.