These days, branding is everything: it’s how you expand your network, it’s how to attract clients, and it’s how you ensure stability for your business. In a world where it seems like every person in business is looking for new ways to market themselves, you need a winning personal brand in order to stand out, make an impact, and grow your income.
When creating an image for yourself, you need to be able to take a step back and look at your progress from the outside — something that’s often easier said than done. As you craft and develop your personal brand further, there are a few key elements of it you’ll want to keep your eye on in order to keep everything cohesive. Here’s what to start with:
1. Your message
You can’t have a brand at all without a purpose behind it. The personal branding strategy experts over at Brand Builders Group have broken down the branding process into four steps, the first of which is “Brand Identification” — what is your brand and where does it come from? This should start with the simple question “What problem am I the answer to?”
Before you begin developing any of the peripheral aspects of your brand, make sure that your message is as clearly defined as it can be. When people ask about you and how you ended up where you are, you should be able to answer in a compelling and engaging way — any less and your brand will fail to stick in peoples’ minds.
2. Your mentor
The importance of mentorship in business cannot be overstated, especially when it comes to personal branding. Those with well-established images in your sector have amassed a lifetime’s worth of knowledge about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to creating a brand, and finding someone to share that with you can be an invaluable experience.
Being under the tutelage of another figure in your field not only provides you with expertise; it also gives you access to your mentor’s substantial network — helping you form partnerships that will influence your branding strategies well into the future.
3. Your goals
Sure, having a brand is nice, but your personal brand needs to have a distinct purpose if you want it to remain strong and ripe for growth. Digital Branding Institute suggests asking yourself early on what goals you have for your brand — if you can’t think of anything specific, it’s time to rethink your brand’s foundations.
With concrete goals in mind, your brand will have no direction as it moves forward. In order for your brand to grow over time, you need to give it a clear objective to direct it towards — whether that’s attracting new clients, spreading a message, or simply expanding your business.
4. Your audience
Without an audience, there is no personal brand. Every single decision you make needs to be done with a final viewer in mind, and you need to know everything you can about that viewer in order to make your brand successful.
Your brand’s audience will vary drastically depending on your sector, geographical location, and position within your field — no matter who you’re hoping to catch the attention of, do some research to see what kind of branding resonates with that crowd. The more you know, the more effective your efforts will be down the line.
5. Your “elevator pitch”
When people think of your personal brand, what do you want to come to mind? If you don’t have a lock on your pitch, you have no control over how people think of and talk about your brand. By refining your elevator pitch down to the bare essentials, you’ll have greater control than ever over how you’re perceived.
Be able to concisely explain the key elements of your brand in under a minute — this way, whomever you’re speaking to will be able to easily recall and reproduce what you had to say earlier. There’s no easier way to take control over your brand’s narrative, and doing so can produce noticeable results.
6. Your strategy
You may have all the key elements of a great brand, but do they all work together? Your elevator pitch, your visuals, your goals, and more all need to work perfectly together in order to achieve peak efficacy. You need a strategy if you want your personal brand to make an impact.
Make a roadmap for what you want your personal brand to look like and do in the future. As the world evolves, so should your branding, so be sure to plan for potential contingencies in your messaging. With a firm plan in place, you’ll be able to take your brand to places you might never have thought possible.
Successful branding is a tough thing to pin down, but everyone knows it when they see it. By isolating some key aspects of your brand, you can build a compelling image from the ground up and reap the benefits as a result.