Over the last few years, branding has gone on from being an additional responsibility to one of the top priorities in marketing a business.
The reason being: Customers are looking for more than just a product. They’re looking for a personable brand to buy from. This is why it has become extremely important for entrepreneurs to brand themselves, too.
Entrepreneurs are competing for resources and opportunities that enable them to tell their story and build their reputation. If you’re an entrepreneur who isn’t actively branding himself, rest assured that your competitors will waste no time in branding you, which may hurt your image, company valuation and bottom line.
Here’s what you need to do to brand yourself effectively:
1. Find commonalities and own them.
It would be great if you could identify certain key attributes that are common between you and your company. Once you figure those out, you can proactively work towards aligning the two in the eyes of your customers, thereby making a strong association and “owning” that quality. Every product or service has certain impressions associated with them such as honesty, effectiveness and/or customer focus, which are important to the customers. Identify these characteristics and incorporate them into your identity.
2. Be the expert.
You need to ensure that you lead your turf and show that your competitors can only follow suit. If you can keep up with this, it will make you come across as a trustworthy innovator and a thought leader, thereby making you more influential with time. It will project you as someone who can identify and fill gaps in the market better than anyone else. Your customers will perceive you as the one who cares enough to meet those needs, which weren’t met before.
3. Network better.
Networking with the right people will put you in the good books of the industry bigwigs as well as the potential customers. It is crucial that you think of a networking strategy that works for you. And irrespective of the strategy, bear in mind the law of reciprocity: When you connect with people and exchange ideas and information without worrying about who is paying you and when, the generosity will come back to you manifold.
4. Use social media.
It’s easy, interesting and quick. Most of all, your customers are on it. So you should be on it, too. I’m talking about social media. Do remember to be on your best behavior when using social media though, as that can either earn you an army of fans or cost you your business. Moreover, remember to keep your personal and business brand separate.
5. Be a great communicator.
Not only will having excellent communication skills portray you as an effective leader, they will also help you stand out. Watch what you say, learn to write better and mind your grammar and spellings.
Work on your presentation skills; they’re extremely critical for an entrepreneur, especially a successful one. If you can present well, you and your organization will be perceived as more effective.
Apart from that, become comfortable with being on video. Whether it is an online video, company video, product video or one meant for corporate training, interviewing, and/or customer support, you need to be adept at making the most of all modes of communication for your advantage.
6. Be yourself, be authentic.
Whatever you do, do not lie about being someone you are not. Your lie may be called out by your competitors, leaving you red faced. It is best to be consistent and authentic at all times, regardless of who your audience is.
We live in times when it is important that entrepreneurs not only brand their company, but also themselves. This means coming out from behind the scenes and into the forefront, making yourself visible and communicating with the customers through as many channels as you can. Only by doing so can you make your personal value known with precision and consistency.
via Michael Georgiou at Entrepreneur