And how to get started.

 Do you cringe when your image on your socials pops up?  Perhaps you’re not so keen on that out-fit anymore. In fact, you never really liked it. You just thought it’s what you should be wearing at the time.  Defining a cracking personal brand involves putting yourself forward as the face of your business. The real you. Are you ready? Here’s my top 3 reasons why you should invest in your personal brand and how to get started.

1. It’s never been harder to stand out

There’s very few industries these days that aren’t crowded, or at least don’t have some pretty stiff competition. Consumers are also tuning out of messages that are pushed at them through advertising. 

The good news is that no-one is doing you.

 

So building a brand around you is a pretty sure way to take a unique position in your market.

Getting your brand defined up-front helps guide the look and feel of your website, social media, the way you write your emails and how you present the face of the business. And for many small businesses, that face is you.

2. It’s harder to be found online for what you do

With search engine optimisation (SEO) becoming more accessible for small businesses, ranking for popular search terms is getting a lot harder.  The ultimate goal is for your audience to by-pass common search phrases altogether.

Instead, you want them to search for you.

So making your brand more recognisable, memorable and in front of your audience, will help you to:

a) be found and

b) attract more customers.

3. People want to know who they’re buying from

Social media and email marketing have brought consumers closer to businesses. This is true for both business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) markets.  Consumers can interact directly with brands.

Brands can interact more personally with their audience. And the chances of people buying from you greatly increases if they know, like and trust you. (Famous quote by a guy called Bob Burg.)

Branding’s not just for the big guys

Brand permeates into everything you do – in business big and small. It’s not just your logo or your business name. Your brand is how your audience perceives you. It’s how they’d describe you when someone asks a friend “hey, have heard of so and so?”.

Your brand impacts every customer touchpoint. So it’s worthwhile taking some time to sketch it out, to make sure you get the most out of your marketing resources.

Getting started

Now, I’ll put my hand up and share what I’ve been doing with my own personal branding journey.

Set your personal branding goals – here’s mine

Before you embark on your personal branding campaign, think about your goals.  These are mine:

  1. Establish an audience in my local community
  2. Create consistency in every customer touchpoint
  3. Strengthen my personal brand to reflect me

 

My number one motivator for taking action was the inconsistency across my customer touchpoints. How I actually am in real life was very different to how I was showing up online. My Linkedin photo was ‘corporate’, my website was at risk of being boring and my profile image on Facebook didn’t look like me.  When clients meet me, I’m likely to be wearing jeans, using a relaxed, colloquial vocab, talking honestly about how I view their marketing.

A re-fresh was needed.

Be clear on your unique selling proposition

My goals are tied to a clear definition of what I do, who I do it for and why.

My unique selling proposition (USP) goes like this:

Amy Annetts is an experienced marketing specialist that creates practical, affordable and doable marketing solutions for businesses wanting less overwhelm and more growth, using a full-scale toolkit developed over 25 years in marketing.

Broken down, it looks like this:

Amy Annetts is an [descriptor] [industry or category] that [what] for [who], giving them [benefit] by [how] [proof].

It’s worth playing this back to your friends or family and see what sort of reaction you get. If you get silence and blank faces, you know you need to keep working on it.

And trust me, it’s not easy. But it’s totally worth getting this right.

Customer Beliefs, Desires and Fears

A simple way to get started with this is to write out your customers’ beliefs, desires and fears.  Just take a stab at it.

Formulating your USP around this will keep your customer at the heart of what you do and how you communicate.

The A, B, E of branding

This helpful little tool covers 3 key branding elements:

  • Attributes – what you do and what it gives your customer
  • Benefits – for your customer
  • Emotion – how you want your customers to feel when they interact with your brand

And then pull it together in a statement.  To avoid putting you to sleep with mine (ok, I don’t have one yet), here’s an entertaining brand statement written for Santa Clause. (I found it over at Entrepreneur.com.)

  • Santa Claus is the CEO of a non-profit organization that gives gifts to children globally. With decades of experience in supply chain management and manufacturing technology, Claus has helped turn Christmas into the modern celebration that it is today.

Here’s another way:

  • Santa Claus is the jolly, grandfatherly figure behind the single biggest gift-giving operation in the world. Known for his spectacular flying reindeer and wacky chimney delivery system, Claus has become a loved cultural icon who’s turned Christmas into the modern celebration that is today.

So thinking about the A, B E or branding, can you pull out each of those for Santa’s brand statement?

A: non-profit organization that gives gifts to children globally

B: turned Christmas into the modern celebration that it is today

E: a definite warm and fuzzy feeling

Finally, understand your audience

Your personal brand and your audience need to connect.  By being clear about who you are and pitching that to your audience’s needs, you’re more likely to attract customers that are like you or resonate with your values. A popular saying is that marketing is as much about repelling as it is attracting.

Doing business with people you like is a great place to be.

Your brand will evolve over time  

The core of what you do may not change, but recognising changes in your market, your business or in you would signal that it’s time for a brand re-fresh.  As a small business, it’s easy to underestimate the importance of this. But spending the time to get this right, will make communications with your audience so much easier. And way more rewarding.

Over to you

Do you have a cracking personal brand? Where are you at on your journey?

PS When you’re ready to get your photos updated, I use a local Eltham photographer – Rebecca Renfrey Photography. She’s great!

Amy Annetts, a marketing specialist in Melbourne, has been practising marketing for 25 years.  She creates marketing strategies that give small businesses an advantage over their competition. Amy blends her corporate and traditional marketing experience with the latest digital techniques. Using a full-scale marketing toolkit, Amy’s clients have access to effective campaigns that earn them more customers.  And she loves a challenge, evidenced by her mad interest in outdoor obstacle courses, where she’s happy to climb walls, crawl under barbed wire and be covered in mud. 

But that’s another story. 

Get in touch to see how Amy can help you.