When we talk about branding in a business sense, the first things people think of are logos and color palettes. While these are important elements of a company’s brand, branding is more about how you set up your company to stand out from the crowd.
Branding incorporates your company’s message and mission, and when all these things line up correctly, you become memorable to your audience and solidify the foundation for a strong relationship.
For those of us in service-based businesses, creating a personal brand is crucial because that’s a major part of what sells our products and services. WE are the faces of our brands.
So – does how you portray yourself online match up with the real-life you? Or are you catfishing your audience? Here are four ways to develop your personal brand to connect with more people.
1. Identify what you do, your goals, and your objectives
You’re not just a coach or a trainer or [insert industry here]. You need to be more specific about who you are. You’re a marketing coach, a yoga instructor, a birthing doula. Add any adjective you want before your generic title that identifies YOU and don’t be afraid to tell people.
Wear that title proudly and soon your tribe will associate your name with your chosen title. Your goals and objectives will form your mission, which in turn tells you who your target market is. If your mission and your market don’t match, you need to do more research.
I’ll let you in on a little secret – it’s taken me a while to own the title ‘marketing coach’ and before I did, my messaging was all over the place. It wasn’t until I owned the title that I started to be more clear on who I was and who I wanted to serve.
2. Determine your brand attributes
What perception do you want your brand to portray? What image should appear in people’s minds when they hear your name? Grab a piece of paper and make some notes right now. Seriously, this article can wait until you’re done.
Look at the list of adjectives you just wrote. Do these adjectives match up with your objectives, logo, color palettes, and overall online image? Does everything portray ‘warm’ or ‘feminine’ or ‘fun’?
3. Create a consistent online presence
Yes, color palettes, headshots, and logos are important and definitely play an important role in your online presence. Clear communication with your web designer and social media manager will go a long way to guarantee that your personal brand identity is consistent across all these platforms and that your online image matches your offline image 100%.
And if you’re your own branding team, this is where you need to start being clear about what you want to portray and plan around that. We often get distracted from our brand focus when we’re creating content on the fly. Planning allows us to look at the big picture and ensure that everything aligns.
4. Bring your brand to life by using videos
People want to know, like, and trust you. What better or quicker way to do that than to use video to reach the masses? Video brings you into their homes and allows you to share the provocative thoughts and daily tips and encouragement they are seeking. Video is proof positive that you are a real person, and they will know fairly early on if your personality/brand jives with their own. Videos should also incorporate some of your online elements so viewers will recognize your logo or color scheme when they visit your website or view a different video.
If you’re like me and you’re camera shy, ease yourself into it. Set a goal to create a certain amount of video content in a specific time period and work toward that. You can make your videos as short as 15 seconds until you’re more comfortable.
What Does Branding Have to Do with Networking?
If your online persona is quite different from your offline image, expect to have an awkward moment (or two). Even if your interaction is completely online, if you conduct yourself differently than you show in your videos, you’ll invite more unwanted questions and cause your prospects to be hesitant around you, wondering if you’re “faking it till you make it” or not being authentic. In either situation, your audience won’t trust you, they may not give you a second chance to prove yourself and may start telling people what a fake you are via social media.
Business relationships should be built on honesty and integrity, and all of your branding elements should be in line. When people trust you are who you say you are, they will begin to trust you and a relationship has begun.
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