Building Your Brand By Branding Yourself

Building Your Brand By Branding Yourself

No doubt about it, brand and brand awareness is huge! For the most part branding is why we choose Coke over Pepsi, or like Nike instead of Reebok. Branding has us consumers believing there is a big difference between Ford and Chevy, or that Miller is better than Budweiser. For large companies the equity in their brand is priceless, and sometimes the sole differentiator between products. But for a small business entrepreneur the brand dynamic is much different. Want to focus your efforts on the one thing that will blow your business wide open?

It’s not the brand of your products, or services you should concentrate on, it’s the brand of YOU that will take your business to the next level. That’s right, it doesn’t matter what you do, sell, market, or peddle, the way to make it HUGE is by branding yourself!

Small business entrepreneurs are in a unique situation to leverage their brand more than GE, Coke, HP, Dell, or any of the other big name businesses in the United States. Do you know why? Small businesses by their very nature are able to connect and interact with their customer base on a much more intimate level than Budweiser ever can dream of.

Think about it. When you are doing business, like it or not, for the most part your customers are buying YOU. That’s right, when you don’t make the sale, don’t close a consulting contract, or somebody walks out of your store empty handed it’s not the products or services they are turning their back to, it’s you. I know that hurts to hear at first, but by building your own brand you can change that. So how do we go about building our personal brands?

  1. Be Transparent and Be Yourself

A large component of brand building, is building a trust in your product or service. Branding yourself is no different. People build trust over time when they feel like they know someone, and are not being fed a line of BS from them. Be yourself, never try to emulate or become a caricature of what you think people want to see. Also, be transparent. Let your customers know you, know what you stand for, let them have a peak behind the curtain at the Wizard of Oz once in a while. The more they identify with the real you, the more likely they are to do business with you, and the stronger your personal brand becomes.

  1. Become an Expert in Your Field

Another way to say this is…know your stuff! This doesn’t mean you need to know everything there is to know about widgets in order to sell them. But it does mean that you know enough to become a trusted authority on widgets in your region. How does this help build your brand? You may not be the national expert on widgets, but when your customers feel they know and trust you personally (thanks to #1 above) they are more likely to be a customer of yours even if you’re not the world renowned expert on widgets…just know enough to answer their questions and you most likely have their business.

  1. Never Fake It

Nothing will erode your brand, and cost you more customers, than when you are faking it. What do I mean by faking it? If you are not 100% into what you are doing, the message you are sending, or the product you are endorsing your customers will know it immediately and shun you like the plague. When people can see you love what you are doing, and are totally into your work, it becomes contagious. People love dealing with people who love what they do, and I am sure there is some law of attraction that proves this. Don’t love what you are doing? Stop doing it, and do something you do love.

  1. Network, network, network

Leverage any and all networks available to you in order to build your brand, demonstrate your expertise, and let people get to know you (#1-3 above). This could be brick and mortar business networks, online social media outlets, or any other medium where you can get in front of people who can help build your business and your brand. How many of you get a friend request from somebody on Facebook you don’t know, yet accept their request anyway because when you check them out they have a million friends? Most people do that because we think “hey all these other people are following them, I should too”. Same thing will happen with your business network and your personal brand. Because everyone is following you more people will want to follow you, thus strengthening and reinforcing your brand. Another law of attraction in action.

  1. Do the Little Things

I can’t stress enough how important it is to do the little things. The little things aren’t really little! When you do them consistently, they become one big thing and that in and of itself can differentiate you from your competition which is what branding is all about. When building your personal brand you want to stick out. Make that email, phone call, or follow up just a little different, a little better. Stand out just a little more than your competition and guess who is going to get the business? I say “little better” on purpose, it doesn’t take something drastic to get the attention of your customer, the little things are the big things! To take an example I heard the other day – one spreadsheet error nearly caused a corporate meltdownat a company because it led them to over report earning, and in turn they were fined and lost customer confidence. All of that because of one little character in a spreadsheet!

If you apply the five concepts above you will see your personal brand start to emerge, and the brand equity you will be creating is priceless. Nothing will blow your business wide open more than being a brand unto yourself. Coddle and foster your brand with the same care and attention you devoted to starting up your business and it will quickly become your number one asset.