The word “branding” began simply as a way to tell one rancher’s cattle from another by means of hot iron stamp. The meaning has actually not changed too much at all – while not typically a physical marking, your “brand” identifies you and defines who you are as unique from anyone else…
By taking the time to develop a good brand, you will:
- Deliver your message clearly
- Confirm your credibility
- Connect your audience to you emotionally
- Motivate your audience to respond
- Deliver long-term loyalty
A strong brand is invaluable as the marketplace continues to intensify. To succeed in branding yourself, you need to understand the needs and wants of those people you most want to influence – but more importantly, you need to understand yourself. The most important outcome of personal branding should be a clear, deep, and insightful understanding of who you are and what you stand for, just as much as what you want to be known for.
It is not enough to be known for what you do — you must be known for what you do differently, or better, than anyone else. You want people to perceive that you are the ONLY solution…
There are three critical areas you should focus on when creating “BrandYou”:
(1) Developing your brand
(2) Packaging your brand
(3) Communicating your brand
This week we will focus on developing Brand YOU, with subsequent weeks examining what it means to package and communicate your brand.
The development stage of your brand-building strategy is the most important. This is where you determine who you are and what you stand for. As the CMO of Brand You, you need to ensure that you have the passion, persistence, experience and background to expertly show the world who you are. However, you also need a solid foundation and a strong framework that illustrates your overall identity.
The foundation of every reputable brand is authenticity, consistency, and clarity. These foundational pieces will guide you as you develop your brand. By embarking on a journey of self-discovery throughout this process and working hard to define who you are and what you stand for, your brand will become both authentic and clear – consistency will come from repeated use of the brand and always presenting yourself in the same light. Brand You will become clear to others because it is the authentic you and will clearly demonstrate who you are. Every good marketer knows that a clear message is a message people can trust.
In order to gain clarity and authenticity, you need to leverage your background and experience to shape a perception that targets your specific audience. If your brand is not built on a solid foundation with a strong framework, no one will understand the value that you bring.
To expand on last week and help you along on your journey of self-discovery, ask yourself some important questions:
- What are your values?
- What do you love?
- What are you insanely great at doing?
- What are you most proud of?
- What do you most want to be?
- What is important and valuable to you?
- What do you most want to be known for?
These may seem like basic, fundamental questions, but often these are the most difficult to answer. However, it is critical to your brand that you do answer them honestly and in depth.
As you formulate your brand, realize that it will serve as the basis for everything that connects people to you – logically and emotionally. Your image is important, but an image is just a reflection of your brand and your core values.
Brand management should aim to build into the minds of your target audience a set of perceptions and attitudes relating to what you want people to perceive, leading to your desired outcomes. To achieve this goal, you must know a great deal about those you wish to influence. It’s important to spend time investing in researching, defining, and building your brand with the end in mind. After all, your brand is the source of a promise to your consumer. It is the foundational piece to your marketing communications – and one you do not want to neglect.
Once you are explicitly clear on what your brand is and how it should look, it is your job to ensure your brand resides within the hearts and minds of those you most want to influence. It must become the sum total of their experience and perception of you, molding their thoughts and feelings to determine that YOU have what they are looking for. The power of your brand can only be measured by its effect on those you seek to influence. Your brand should be strong enough to convey a message and a feeling in an instant. And thats where packaging and communication come into play…
How Will You Define Brand YOU?
Please engage the discussion and let us know how you will develop your brand. Always feel free to contact me atSheri.Mackey@LuminosityGlobal.com or by visiting our website at www.LuminosityGlobal.com. Check back next week for the next installment of Leadership Across Boundaries and Borders.