“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” – Seth Godin
Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, large or small, retail or B2B. An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets. What exactly does “branding” mean and how does it affect a business like yours?
The most common form of branding is business branding. All around us, we see all kinds of businesses who have polished themselves up to look very attractive in their respective competitive markets. From intelligent logos and well-positioned mission statements, their branding is a comprehensive and important aspect of both business and their personal relations.
The conversation about what exactly personal branding is, is still ongoing. Personal branding does not begin and end with looks. A personal brand cannot be externally designed. A personal brand is not your logo or the degrees you have attained from the best institutions. Neither is it your fancy job title or every other label other people have imprinted on you. A personal brand is not for only people who want to start a business or those running businesses. It is for everyone!
Branding generally is is the process of communicating a unique selling proposition, or differential, that sets a product or service apart from the competition. Simply put; your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors’. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be – John Williams.
Every business wants to be a customer’s first choice. Building and managing a brand can play a significant part in making that happen. Info Entrepreneurs shares that branding extends beyond to your business’ core values and to every interaction you have with customers and suppliers. Your brand is what you are really selling to your customers, not just a product or service for which there may already be many existing providers. A strong brand can make any business stand out from the rest of the crowd, particularly in competitive markets.
In both our look-at-me cultural shift and evolving job market, it is both helpful and necessary to be outstanding when applying for a job or starting your own company. A personal brand is for (almost) everyone. The Influencer Marketing Hub explains that a personal brand is how you promote yourself. It is the unique combination of skills, experiences, and personality that you want the world to see you. It is telling of your story, and how it reflects your conduct, behaviour, spoken and unspoken words, and attitudes. In my own words, a personal brand is the individual who has made their story their mission, and that mission their message, which they reflect every day.
An advantage of having a personal brand is that you can be YOU and that is the easiest thing in the world if you understand the value you carry. Consistency and Clarity of thought in communication are two common traits lost in many personal brands. Consistency is key. It takes five to seven impressions for someone to remember a brand(entrepreneur.com) In the beginning stages of finding your space, you are bound to encounter a lot of confusion but with time, you will establish a stable foundation. The focus should never be on how much you are putting out, rather, the strength and clarity of what you are putting out.
Here are some of my favourite golden rules discussed by Forbes for creating an engaging, unique, and inviting brand.
- HAVE A FOCUS
“Too many people are unfocused when it comes to press and coverage, trying to be “everything to everyone.” Decide what your key message is and stick to it,” says Cooper Harris, founder and CEO of Klickly. My personal brand has evolved over the 20 and more years of my career – from working in the banking and financial sector, and then the beauty and spa industry, and now, a high-performance coach. Who I am as a person has evolved along with these changes but more importantly, I have focused on carry one strong message at a time to stay relevant to my audience. When your community changes, your message must change along with it. In fact, Adam Smiley Poswolsky, millennial workplace expert and author of The Breakthrough Speaker, takes it one step further when he’s advising speakers: “Carve a niche, and then carve a niche within your niche. The best personal brands are very specific.”
- TELL A STORY
If your brand is not telling a story, both personal and business, you have already lost half of your potential audience. Allen Gannett, chief strategy officer at Skyword and author of The Creative Curve explains it best: “The most effective personal branding strategy these days is to build a true narrative – single character monologues are boring, and even more boring for your personal brand.” No one wants to hear you shout about your brand into the social media void, so create a story around your brand that your audience can engage with.
- BE CONSISTENT
Being consistent is very similar to having a narrow focus—it is much easier to get recognized for one topic if you consistently create content and brand voice around it. “Ensure that your brand promise stays consistent, both online and offline.” explains Fyiona Yong, Director and Millennial Leadership Coach (ICF ACC). “You have to demonstrate consistency across your communication, gravitas, and appearance. Don’t underestimate how tiny inconsistencies can derail personal brand effectiveness.”
- LIVE YOUR BRAND
When you love the brand that you are building, it is easy to live it. You must embody every part of it naturally. This way, others will easily fall in love with it.
If your personal and business brand are indicative of who you are, the value you have to offer, your credibility and the measure of how successful you and your business can become, where does one begin in creating a strong personal brand for results?
- STAND AND SPEAK YOUR NAKED TRUTH
A personal brand is all about YOU! Be unapologetically yourself. Stand and speak your naked truth. First, you must ask if you know yourself. Do you know your strengths and weaknesses? What do you believe is unique about you that you? For a million reasons, people will like you and for another million reasons, people will detest you. You can only emanate and communicate what you believe is true about yourself. Your self-confidence, integrity and story should be intrinsic values you are honing. When you are a certain thing on the inside, it is easier to craft that into a valuable and beautiful thing on the outside, not the other way round! No one will believe in you if you do not. No one will promote you if you cannot do that for yourself. Whatever message you have and whatever mission you are on, you should be the first to trust and believe it. With time, your style and individuality will attract a reliable tribe.
- GAIN MASTERY
One of the things Brendon Bruchard always says is that you have to gain mastery in your PFI – primary field of interest. Your primary field of interest is any interest you have and you must spend time in building mastery and being relevant in that field. Develop obsession with your interest and keep practicing till you are easily recognized in that field.
- COMMUNICATE WITH AUTHENTICITY
Having the ability to communicate your truth and field of interest with originality is valuable. Authentic and appealing communication can be done via both verbal and non-verbal means. Your words matter as much as the actions that go with them. When people talk about authenticity and being yourself, many people mistaken it for serving raw and unrefined message. It is important that your communication is appealing while speaking your truth. In fact, going ahead to polish up yourself up isn’t being fake. It is called growth. If you are authentic but not appealing, you will still be a brand but not for the right reasons. So yes, be authentic but be appealing as well!
- PEOPLE LIKE PEOPLE WHO ARE LIKE THEM
Develop massive interest in people who appreciate what you do. Say you have as little as 5 people or as much a million people who take interest in what you do, develop an interest in them. Be deliberate about connecting with them. It may involve you taking interest in what they need or what they do as people or in finding the commonality between one another. The number you begin with does not matter. A good personal brand is known but a better personal brand is known and sells itself through others. A personal brand isn’t a bunch of words that only describe you. It isn’t still; it is active! Every day, the decisions you take and how you implement them contribute to who you become and essentially what your personal brand grows to be.
It does not take a day to build a personal or a business brand. It takes years; in fact, it is a lifetime duty. The worth of having a solid personal brand which is incomparable to another is worth the effort required to make it. As your search within yourself to know who you are, what you stand for, you will find the voice to craft and tell your story. You will find the message and the mission and as you take that journey, each day will bring you closer to creating something unique – Your Personal Brand.
Are you ready for TRANSFORMATION?
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo: The H.E.L.P. Coach
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo is a Personal Impact, Professional Growth and Influence Expert specializing in Humanness, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Power – H.E.L.P.
A career spanning over two decades, she has established herself as a Certified High Performance Coach, Speaker, Author, Wellness Expert and award-winning Entrepreneur with a clientele ranging from C-Suite Executives, Senior Management, Practitioners and Sales Leaders spanning 3 continents.
She is the Founder of Dzigbordi K. Dosoo (DKD) Holdings; a premier lifestyle business group with brand subsidiaries that include Dzigbordi Consulting Group& Allure Africa.
Dzigbordi has been featured on CNN for her entrepreneurial expertise. She is one of the most decorated female entrepreneurs in Ghana having being named “CIMG Marketing Woman of the Year” in 2009; “Top 10 most respected CEOs in Ghana, 2012; Global Heart of Leadership Award and, Women Rising “100 Most Influential Ghanaian Women”, 2017.
She can be reached on [email protected] and @dzigbordikwaku across all social media platforms.