Do you know how to build your brand? Your own personal name as a brand is equally as important as giant brands like Apple, GE, Volkswagen, and Starbucks. Developing a strong brand strategy is a crucial step in business development. Whether you decide to use your own name as your brand, or something else, make sure to choose methodically. This brand is a reflection of you. You are your brand. Your brand identity, and your name, are your reputation.
You might have a common name or a unique one. The question is: What do you want your name to stand for? You have a strong name if you choose it to be. Shakespeare said, “What’s in a name?” That’s up to you.
Your brand is what differentiates you from other people. A strong personal brand will get you hired after a job change, a call from a friend who needs your help, or a visit from a customer who wants to purchase a product/service you offer. Don’t think too small. Just because you are a small business now doesn’t mean you couldn’t grow to enterprise levels. In today’s business environment, people do business with people, not just big companies.
Here are eight tools to show you how to brand your personal name and teach you how to build a brand:
1. Develop your core message.
What is it that you stand for? Have you chosen a tagline? Visualize Nike. Did your mind take you straight to the swoosh, or did you think, “Just do it?” Your core message is one of the essential parts of your brand. This message should be used in your conversations, print ads, television or radio ads, and appearances. Do your market research and develop a style guide that is unique to your brand. Rebranding is arduous and expensive. Marketing campaigns can be very costly. You may not reach the right potential customers if you haven’t developed a strong core message. You want to make a high-quality first impression, and you want it to be obvious that you are the expert in your field and a consummate professional at doing what you do best. What one sentence best illustrates you? Ask yourself, “Will this one sentence appeal to my target market?” If you are unsure, ask your clients, potential customers, or constituents how they best describe you. Use this as a guide to articulate your message to share your personal brand.
2. Grow your network.
Use your resources locally and online by setting up meetings through traditional face-to-face or online social media platforms. Participate in non-profit groups; join online networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, podcasts, Twitter, and other professional career forums. Seek out other entrepreneurs and ask them how they developed their own brands. Everyone began as a start-up, so don’t be shy about asking to step into well-established corporate footsteps. You must be in front of people and build partnerships to get noticed. The more people know you exist, the closer you are to your target audience. Brand building never stops. Think of your brand as a living, breathing extension of yourself. Your marketing strategy should be at the forefront of your mind in every situation. The one person you forget to tell could be the one opportunity you miss.
3. Develop your specialty.
What are you great at? What is your gift or strength? Maybe you feel as though you aren’t great at anything. What do you want to be excellent at? You always have the power to take the classes and study, practice, and develop your expertise. Now is the best time to sharpen your saw blade! You need to have an emotional connection and a strong brand identity. If you cannot clearly articulate precisely what you excel at, you need to analyze those pain points and narrow down your company’s mission. Develop a brand story and determine your brand values. You can perfect your sales pitch by clearly defining who you are and what you do best. Practice your sales pitch. Record yourself and be critical of your word selection and body language. Be critical. Ask yourself, “Do I like this brand color?” “Can I see this logo on a business card and billboard?” The template you choose now will be used years into the future, so make sure you love it. If you wouldn’t buy your story and idea, no one else will either.
4. Secure your name.
Two popular options for securing your brand are through internet domain registrations or as a registered trademark. If you want to brand it, it’s a good idea to own it legally. Protecting your brand is another way to strengthen your personal brand name. Do your market research and ensure you aren’t directly competing with a huge company. The last thing you need is a giant enterprise-level giant like Coca-cola or McDonald’s coming after you for infringement. Infringement lawsuits can arise from some of the most distant connections. Logo design, company name, brand colors, and visual identity must all be considered collectively to ensure that you create a brand image that is unique to you and you alone. If you follow these brand guidelines, you should be ahead of the game.
“When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.” – Ken Blachard.
5. Deliver what you promise.
The cornerstone of branding your personal name is reliability. Hallmark. Guarantee. These are the words that describe promise. Your mission statement and business name will become a key component of your personal integrity. People need to believe that you will fulfill your word. You want to create a successful brand, especially if you use your own name. Nothing smashes a person’s name faster than being a flake. Be mindful when you make a promise. It is crucial to commit to precisely what you can deliver. Three strikes, and you are out, maybe. You might only get one swing! So, make sure you are genuinely committed to delivering on your promise. If not, then don’t make the promise.
6. Be consistent.
Avoid changing your viewpoints, fonts, color palettes, and distinguishable characteristics as a brand. Suppose you fall victim to the worst business blunder of changing brand logos and core brand messages just because the wind is blowing in another direction. In that case, you will confuse your customers. They understood what your brand name stood for, and now they don’t. You want to avoid confusing potential clients and customers. Brand continuity is as important as the product you offer. No one is drawn to a person that cannot be consistent. People who act differently in similar scenarios will leave people bewildered. If people don’t know what you stand for, you build a weak brand, and they will never understand your brand personality. Let’s talk about Dutch Bros. When you drive up to their coffee stand, a chipper, enthusiastic young adult almost immediately greets you. They ask about your day and drive a happy conversation throughout the entire business transaction. From Nashville, Tennesee, to Reno, Nevada, you will have the exact same experience. This type of brand positioning is at its finest level. Dutch Bros know how to create brand awareness and a culture of followers.
7. Create positive experiences.
Strong branding creates an emotional tie. Feelings drive behavior and have the power to attract or repel. People want to be associated with positive feelings, not negative ones. Positive vibes strengthen your likeability. How can you ensure you emit the energy that makes others feel good? Create activities and conversations that cultivate optimism. When you create positive experiences, you develop a brand voice. Think of the Aflac duck. Does Aflac have anything to do with ducks? No, but by using a cute distinguishable positive icon, they now have harnessed a very positive vision for a company specializing in the bleak topic of personal liability and injury. Different demographics require different marketing strategies. Great business owners don’t always understand every aspect of brand development, so if you are in doubt, seek professional marketing companies and business coaches to assist you. A penny spent today could mean the difference in your most tremendous success.
8. Use endorsements.
Nothing is better than other people sharing and posting about their positive thoughts and experiences with you. When you proclaim your value, it is great. The real trick is for others to shout about your value. How to build your brand quickly? Have other people start buying in! Accolades delivered by others are much better received. People tend to believe what others say about you more than you about yourself. Make the time to garner, in writing or with video and audio, about how great you are and the value you provide. Let the voice of others help to strengthen your brand.
Who you are and what you attract is determined by how others perceive your unique brand and name. You can practice these tools, tips, or habits to make a difference. Latch onto at least one of these suggestions to strengthen the power of your personal brand; your name.
Now you know how to build a brand and start reaping the benefits of branding yourself!
Best of success to you!