Personal branding in many places has been described as your appearance to the outside world. This topic has been all over the internet for some time. For many, a personal brand consists of the elements that you use to display your brand for awareness. Many people believe that branding is their logo, their color scheme, their fancy business cards, website, a description of their services, and the graphics they use on all their materials. It definitely makes sense to have a consistent look and feel across all your materials, but that is not your personal brand. For large companies with huge advertising budgets this concept of branding works great because if they throw enough money at advertising you may remember their brand, icons, and slogans when you are in the market for what they sell.
Personal branding for professional service providers is very different. First, there is no way for you to throw enough money at advertising so that people remember your logo, icons, and graphics. Going down that road is a huge time sink and nothing more than an expensive ego trip. Second, as a professional service provider, most of your business is going to come from referrals and then your visual brand is bypassed. Your appearance simply needs to look professional when people come to check you out. Remember, as a professional service provider, clients buy from you when the timing is right for them, a need is met, and you make sales offers that are proportionate to the trust you have earned. Your quality business cards, professional email address, website, professional photographs, testimonials are not your brand. In Book Yourself Solid, these elements are standard credibility builders that must be in place for you to appear credible and professional.
People choose to work with you because of who you are. You probably already have a personal brand identity; you just might not be aware of it or you may not have defined it yourself. By developing your personal brand you decide how you are known in the world instead of leaving it to your market to decide.
A personal brand starts with a statement of who you serve and the benefit of working with you. In other words, it is your “who and do what statement.” Make sure you understand who your ideal clients are and why people buy what you sell first, or the exercise of developing your personal brand will not work for you as well as it could.
A personal brand is also a statement of who you are and what you stand for. You can get some insight by asking your friends and close associates to describe you. Take the time to think about who you are, why you do what you do, what you stand for, what your story is, what your promise is, how you think, how you show up, what you are willing to stand up and be counted for and defend. Your personal brand is an inside job. It has to be true for you and immediately recognizable as you. When you have clarity about who you are you can write your “why you do it” statement. From there, you can craft a tagline based upon your “why you do it” statement.
When you put the three elements of your “who and do what statement,” your “why you do it” statement, and your tagline, then you have a personal brand developed from the inside out. Your appearance on the outside will match who you are on the inside and it will be truly you. Potential clients will find it far more compelling to work with you than a fancy logo, business cards, and magnets. Give it a try and let me know if I can help you.
This article was inspired by insights derived from the Book Yourself Solid system. More tools can be found at Book Yourself Solid or here.