Why is it crucial to have a personal branding plan in place before starting a business?
Building a personal brand that supports your growth in your profession and life is important for your success. A strong personal brand can lead you to new possibilities and connections that can transform your life.
You might have questions such as how much time and effort should I put into establishing each aspect of my brand? Is this a once off-plan or a continuous effort? Do I need to stick to a plan or add occasional tweaks along the way?
The importance of crafting an authentic brand for yourself
Relationships are essential to business. Some clients — or your customers — may be reluctant to buy products from or hire people who they see as incompatible or in conflict with their beliefs and values. Therefore, the impression and perception your brand exudes is key to starting those connections.
The end goal is having your brand be the best reflection of you, providing a foundation for future growth, and allowing you to manage how people perceive your business.
Your brand will educate people and show them whether you are the right person or business for their needs. How do you achieve that? Here are some steps you can take to create the ultimate business brand:
1. Identify what makes you unique: who are you as a person and a business owner?
Since you want your personal brand to be a true expression of who you are, what talents you have, and what your goals are, some reflection is needed to know exactly what these elements are. It’s important to take the time for introspection and to be honest with yourself.
In a world full of marketing clutter, it is crucial that your brand is human and ‘real’ for you to stand out authentically. When it comes to branding, you don’t have to pretend to be someone you’re not. In other words, it’s all about deliberately and consciously displaying who you are to your audience and consumers. We believe that a person’s personal brand should be an accurate reflection of their talents and hobbies.
Creating an image for yourself is not the same as creating a persona. A persona is by definition a façade. It is usually seen as inauthentic since it doesn’t accurately represent your personality, and you want to take this journey seriously.
You can start by asking these yourself:
- What is my passion?
- What are my skills and expertise?
- Which industries interest me?
- What are my goals?
- What kind of impact do I hope to make?
- What are my values and beliefs?
As soon as you understand these distinct aspects of yourself, you can begin to create your personal brand that is in line with who you are which will help you achieve your goals.
2. Consistency is key when building a great brand
All of your branding activities – whether networking, marketing, or any other area that improves exposure – should have a consistent theme and message to help you stand out from the rest. Think of this as the ‘golden thread’ in your business stories. This does not just apply to consistency in the visual components and design aspects, it is also important that you carry this ‘golden thread’ across in your overall messaging from one location and one communication channel to another.
Publishing social media content daily isn’t the only way to maintain consistency. Frequent messaging is needed, but you need to unify the appearance and messaging of your brand so that it is instantly associated with your company. How distinct or similar do all of your social media posts appear to be? The reality is, the more consistent you are, the simpler it is to build a following on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.
3. “Niche down”: find out who you really are as a person and then use that knowledge to create a niche identity
What does “niche down” mean? It means narrowing your focus. This involves determining who your ideal target audience is and aligning your marketing efforts to meet their needs.
You should connect your personal skills with your new business if you’re starting one. Build your brand around one or a few areas of your skill, if that’s what you want to attract.
Start with a broad category that interests you, such as sales, marketing, or finance, then narrow it down from there.
How to find your niche:
- Evaluate your passions and interests
- Understand the issues and challenges of your clients
- Assess the competition
- Conduct keyword research
- Determine your market niche
- Discover your unique selling point
- Put your concept to the test
Whatever stage your brand is in, it’s vital to decide whether you want to promote a niche product or keep targeting your niche market. When you’ve narrowed your focus sufficiently to start a business, make the most of it by scaling your business inside that focus. Only then should you spend money on expanding inside that market.
4. Establish your personal and professional messaging
People frequently perceive you as representing your brand, even when it comes to your personal life. Keep this in mind when communicating and acting in public, especially on social media. Inconsistencies between your personal and professional activities might give the impression of dishonesty or untrustworthiness. Every interaction with your business should exude the values and culture of your brand in a professional manner. Remember that word of mouth is the most believable form of marketing, so guard your image across all avenues and platforms.
5. Build your personal brand online and offline
To prioritise your online and offline presence, evaluate the online and offline presence of your target audience. You should be active on the platforms that they tend to use– if your target market is Millennials or Generation X, then having a TikTok account won’t be your primary platform for promotion. This is the same analysis as you do with offline activities: if your target audience enjoys fitness, promoting a cake day won’t award you with extra brownie points. It seems obvious however that many brands are inconsistent in what they stand for.
Here are some ways to build your personal brand online and offline:
- Secure a single username and a matching website domain for all social network profiles. Create a username that is available on all platforms and keep it short and simple.
- Separate your personal and professional social media profiles.
- Use the same or comparable headshots as your profile image across all social media sites.
- Make a professional-looking website that includes an about page, a contact page, a blog, and your portfolio. Don’t forget to include your accomplishments and client testimonials.
6. Create content that works for you
One of the most successful methods to establish your brand and get the trust of your target audience is to create and distribute free content. Instead of attempting to persuade your audience that you can assist them, you develop material that assists them. Consider these types of content as your lead magnets when marketing. This fosters trust and positions you as an expert and authority in your field.
Producing excellent content is an essential component of developing a strong personal brand. Content plays a significant role in the buyer’s journey, and customers are increasingly gravitating toward businesses that they find relevant. As a result, professionals must put themselves out there with material that will contribute towards the development of their online presence.
Here are the types of content that can help your personal branding:
- Online courses
- Case studies
7. Promote yourself through social networks
One way to create a better reputation is by networking. Start small by attending events related to your industry and find ways to connect with other professionals. As time goes on, start nurturing these contacts into relationships. By doing so, you’ll gain access to more opportunities and information. Networking also allows you to share ideas and experiences as well as learn valuable lessons from others.
Another way of building your reputation is by promoting your brand on social media. Social media allows you to take advantage of an expansive audience through social media reach and visibility. It also aids in differentiating oneself from competitors. Even businesses outside of your expertise might capture your prospective clients’ limited attention.
Promoting your brand on social media is all about getting in front of your target audience and successfully conveying why your brand is worthy of their attention.
Here are some tips to promote your brand through social media:
- Complete your social media profile
- Use the best social media platforms for your brand
- Engage with your audience
- Connect your website to your social media platforms
Although it isn’t simple to develop a personal brand, it’s worth it. Even though you might hop from one technique to another, the most successful brand builders are those that have a clear plan and stick to it.