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Fast Company recently featured an article titled “Why Entrepreneurs Shouldn’t Waste Time On Personal Branding” by Beatriz Helena Ramos.
When I first saw the title it felt like a punch in the gut. My next book, all about personal branding had just gone to the editor. “Crap,” I thought, “personal branding is dying and I’m just about to launch an entire book focused on it”.
Then, I read the article. Her argument was essentially that everyone is trying to be an influencer today so there isn’t much point in doing that. It’s all about what you create.
I laughed with relief because that is PRECISELY why entrepreneurs need to focus on what their personal brand IS!
Brian Johnson, of AC/DC, is big into Broadway Musicals. He even helped write a musical, Helen of Troy. Would it help his brand, or even the musical’s for that matter, to promote his involvement? It would likely lead to confusion from fans from both camps. It would dilute his brand.
It is a noisy world. It’s easier than ever to post a video, put up a website and share your pictures with thousands of people instantly. And, for that reason, you need to be even more clear about who you are, how you help and what you want to achieve or you’ll get lost in all that noise.
Personal branding is more important than ever as an entrepreneur. If you don’t want to waste time on things that don’t have an impact or get results, you MUST get clear and focused and take precise action. Your entire business isn’t just about your brand … you still have to deliver your work!
So, let’s get to it, shall we? There’s a lot to cover, so I created a toolkit to help you. It’s my gift to you.
In this personal branding tool kit you’re going to uncover the essential elements of your brand and some simple action steps to help you get started with your brand evolution. But, if you prefer, you can keep reading. We’re going to cover a few of them right now – including the Brand Magic Method™.
What Are You Building (& Why)?
The issue isn’t that you need a brand – you have one. Everybody does. Your brand isn’t about a logo or a website. It’s who you are.
You are your brand.
It’s your values, how you do business, what you say and what you wear.
The real issue is that your brand might not be working for you to create what you want in your life. The right brand does the selling for you. It opens doors.
But, before we get too deep into how you create an image that makes the sale for you, let’s get clear on what you’re creating and why.
What is Your Ideal Typical Day?
Think about what your ideal typical day looks like. I’m not talking about a day at the beach where you sip fruity cocktails reading a great book. This is a day you live over and over again. What are you doing to gain emotional AND financial reward?
When faced with a choice, when you’re clear about what your ideal day looks like, all you have to do is ask yourself, “Does this move me closer to my ideal day, or not?”
Who Is In Your Ideal Audience?
Your brand is YOU, but it’s not about YOU.
It’s a little confusing, but the more clear you are about who you are and who you help, the easier it will be to attract the right people to your business and have them want to pay you for your product and service – minimal selling required.
Just because you’re selling a product to help hair grow back, doesn’t mean every bald man is your ideal client.
My Dad just turned 70. He’s been bald a long time, and is totally fine with it. He’s not going to spend a penny solving that problem.
Just because you’ve got a great solution doesn’t mean everybody with that problem will spend money to solve it.
It might feel like you’re reducing your potential prospects (and you are) but it really means you’re now perfectly positioning yourself to attract the exact right people for your service. You’re also going to save your time and energy for the people who really want your help.
My Dad will probably listen to what you have to say about making his hair grow back. He’s retired. He spends his mornings walking around the mall in Nanaimo chatting with a lot of people, but you’re not going to get him to open his wallet.
Dad wants to keep his head from getting sun burned but that is it.
So, who are you looking for?
Determine who your ideal client is.
Understand their pain. Identify the deeper reasons why someone needs your product or service.
When it comes to a hair growth solution, you’re looking for someone who wants a full head of hair because they feel it will make them more attractive to the opposite sex, and after getting divorced that is suddenly important, or because they think their balding head is impacting their influence at work, and they want a promotion. There’s a deeper reason that you have to get to do you can connect your brand to them. They want to improve their appearance, but why? That’s the reason you want to keep in mind as you develop your brand.
The Key Elements of Your Personal Brand
So before I get into the common branding mistakes, what are the elements of your own personal brand that you should be considering? I’ve created the Brand Magic Formula™ for getting clear as you create your personal brand:
1. Message – What You Say and How You Say It
This is all about what you say, the mediums you use to communicate and how you’re getting attention and connecting with your ideal person. We’re going to cover this in much greater detail in upcoming chapters. For now, let’s focus on what you do when you first meet someone and how you’re communicating your message.
To create a connection, you’ll want to share some personal details. We all want to do business with people we like, and you’ll find that people like you more when they feel as if they know you, at least to some extent. Your goal isn’t to share everything about yourself, however. Consider what will be of the most interest, or the most memorable, to your audience; and generally, focus on sharing those details. For some tips, check out the lessons learned from Robert McKee on telling a good story.
You want to connect with your ideal person – and chances are your ideal person will have some things in common with you, so those personal details will help to create a better relationship.
So that’s a bit about what you’re talking about. How will people hear your message? How will people find out about you?
Are you delivering your message from a stage, or on a website, or with social media, videos, articles, or smoke signals?
How your message gets delivered is a pretty important consideration. Marie Forleo is known for her videos. John Lee Dumas is known for his podcasts. Tim Ferris is a writer at the heart of all that he does. What will you enjoy doing, and where are you best able to connect with your ideal prospects?
I’m a big fan of video and speaking, and I enjoy most aspects of creating content for talks and videos, but I’m a writer first. If you hate writing, look at video and podcasts (or, you can consider hiring a ghostwriter to help you).
Your message needs a medium – it’s up to you to consider which one or ones are best for you, your brand and your audience.
2. Your Appearance
Attractive people are more well-liked and are seen to be more trustworthy. In one study, the conclusion was that the more attractive someone was, the higher the offer they received in a negotiation – even if they did not ask for more! It’s a little crazy, but it’s the reality we are in.
But here’s the piece that I think gets lost in the discussion around appearance:
Everyone looks better on the outside when they feel good on the inside.
And, while it might feel superficial, the more care and attention you take to look good on the outside, the better you will feel on the inside. Think about how good you feel after a great haircut or after a good workout. It’s a circle that feeds itself.
Wear what makes you feel awesome and confident. Chances are you’re not feeling that way in track pants and white runners. And you probably don’t feel all that awesome if you’re not on top of your hygiene either.
I want to emphasize, however, that this is not about designer name brands or suits – unless that is who you are. It’s about dressing so you feel like your fabulous self.
3. Google Results
It’s not about having a website or a cleverly crafted logo, but your brand will be impacted by what is coming up in the search engines about you, so it’s an important part of the formula for your brand. Make sure you have Googled your name lately, and that you are happy with what is showing up. If you’re not happy with what is there, it’s time to get on top of that. Create a few social media profiles that will show up. Make sure your website (if you have one) is optimized for your name, and start making improvements so your search results reflect the brand you want for your business.
4. I am an expert in (And what I am not an expert in)
The big mistake to avoid here is trying to be everything to everyone.
I see realtors make this mistake all the time. They claim to ‘specialize’ in an entire region that covers six different cities. As an investor in one city, I could barely keep up with everything that was happening in the three neighbourhoods I focused on. There’s no way you’re truly an expert in six different cities! And, that’s ok. People won’t remember that you are a realtor for New York – covering Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan, but they will remember the guy who specializes in loft style condos in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan.
To start, think about the single thing you want to be known for. You need to be known for something!
Pick a niche. Become well known in that niche and expand from there.
The bigger the subject, skill or geographical area you’re trying to be an expert in, the more difficult it will be to become known as THE expert. I love being Canadian for this reason – we’re already starting with a smaller pool of people. But you still want to narrow down the niche that you’re known for even if you’re Canadian. You’re much better to start small and expand than try to be everything to everyone and find that nobody knows who you are.
What do you stand for? What can people expect from you?
Your values come through in how you do things. It’s not what you do that matters as much as how you do it.
Your values aren’t things you need to tell people about. They will know.
You don’t have to say you value workplace diversity if your company has people from all kinds of backgrounds working there.
If you always show up prepared and on time, people will know you respect them. You won’t have to tell them.
It’s about consciously choosing what values are important to you, so you can make sure it shines through in everything you do. When you are consistent, you don’t have to tell people what you value; they will know.
Now you’re starting to formulate a picture of your brand.
The ultimate goal is to be chased, not chasing. Your brand is what will make people think of you when someone says, “Do you know anybody that can help with x?” But your brand might not be doing that right now.
What makes someone chase you?
You have something they want.
It seems simple, but humans aren’t simple. Our brains don’t want to work too hard, and our survival fears mean we run when chased, so your message has to be something we turn to, not run away from.
The art is in how you let other people know who you are and how you can help. Getting clear and implementing the Brand Magic Formula™ will help.
The approach is to offer value that demonstrates why you’re the best person to work with, and to create a brand that says a lot about you without you ever opening your mouth.
If you feel like you have to convince someone to do something, then you’ve missed an important part of creating your brand and building your authority. Perhaps you’re in front of the wrong person; or maybe your message is not clear or you’ve done something that lost their trust.
There’s nothing more uncomfortable than the needy feeling that you have to get someone to do something. Everything you’re learning here is designed to entice the right people to step forward and ask to work with you or ask about buying your product.
If putting all these pieces in place on your own seems like a daunting task … join us for Brand Evolution Bootcamp where we will build your brand together. In just two days you’ll get clear on your brand, create some important marketing materials, and walk out with a plan to get yourself media attention and more.
Image 1: ID 41012446 © Timothy Kurtis | Dreamstime.com
Image 2: Julie Broad
Image 3: ID 66400179 © Dragonimages | Dreamstime.com