Posted: June 29, 2011
The importance of building a personal brandLida Citroën
Imagine walking into the grocery store on a quest for laundry detergent. To you, there is no clear difference between Tide, Gain, Biz and the store's generic brand. How would you choose? Most likely, all things being equal, you would chose the cheapest laundry detergent. After all, why would you pay more - all things being equal?
In brand marketing, we call this a commodity sale: The consumer chooses based on price when there is no clear differentiation of perceived value. Is this how you want your clients to chose you? Do you compete for jobs because you are the least expensive candidate? Is your value to your clients that you are the cheapest solution to their needs?
What is a personal brand?
A personal brand is the reputation and emotional connection we develop in the hearts of our clients and the audiences they influence. Personal branding helps individuals identify their current and desired reputation to secure opportunities, gain visibility and get recognized for their unique contributions. A defined personal brand includes an understanding of your differentiation and specific target audiences and their needs (functional needs and emotional needs) in order to build relevance and loyalty.
Your personal brand sets the tone for what I can expect to feel if I work with you.
Building Your Brand
Successful executives across the globe are embracing the power of "personal branding" to intentionally build a reputation for themselves that maintains a competitive advantage - in person and online. Reputation counts when growing personal brands (and professional reputations). How your clients - and prospects - staff, peers and stakeholders perceive you has a direct impact on the loyalty, engagement and revenues you will generate.
Professionals with strong personal brands show up consistently and authentically. They have achieved genuineness through confidence and experience and through focus and care. They focus on the highest value they have to offer and target a specific audience with the lowest threshold.
Tips for Building Your Personal Brand
Developing your strong and compelling brand means intentionally promoting that which is relevant and compelling to your target audience. To build trust and credibility, you must consistently articulate your values: What do you hold dear? What do you believe?
Values are not trite marketing slogans - instead they are beliefs held at your core. Your values drive you and are reflected in how you do business. They show up in the decisions you are most proud of, and the ones that led you to take the biggest risk. Your values are tied intricately to your identity. If separated from your values, you would not be you!
In building your personal brand:
- Take a personal inventory - What are you passionate about? What makes you different and unique from your competitors? How do people who value you feel about you?
- Become intentional about the words you chose, the company you keep and the way you represent yourself. Your audience is looking for consistency and relevancy.
- Strive to make yourself relevant and compelling to a specific target audience. Not everyone will get your jokes, find you compelling or feel good about you or your company. Target those clients, customers and stakeholders who will find you relevant and cut down on your marketing efforts.
- Consider how you want to be perceived, the reputation you want in the world, then intentionally create a path in that direction. Make sure that your image, elevator speech, behavior, credibility and networking relationships support and reinforce your value proposition and move you towards your desired legacy.
Your brand differentiates you from your competition, attracts opportunities to you and enables you to receive recognition for your accomplishments. Business and personal branding can uncover your desired goals and bring you benefits over your entire life - personal and professional.
The author of "Reputation 360: Creating power through personal branding" (Palisades Publishing, 2011), Lida is an accomplished speaker, author and advisor to Fortune 500 CEOs, executives and businesses. She consistently captivates audiences with her empowering message about intentionally managing your brand and reputation to attract opportunities. For more than 20 years, Lida has brought her unique, engaging and actionable techniques to clients, earning her acclaim internationally as an expert in reputation management and personal branding. Learn more at http://www.LIDA360.com and www.Reputation360Book.com.
Lida Citroën is the author of Your Next Mission: A personal branding guide for the military-to-civilian transition and Principal of LIDA360, a consulting firm that helps create effective market positioning through the use of brand strategies. She regularly presents at conferences, events and programs, teaching transitioning veterans how to understand their unique value and market them to future employers.
Citroën is an active member of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) and works closely with General Peter Pace’s program in Philadelphia, Wall Street Warfighters Foundation (WSWF). For more information, please visit, www.yournextmissionbook.com and connect with her on twitter, @LIDA360.