Your personal brand is a promise to your clients…a promise of quality, consistency, competency, and reliability.Jason Hartman
Gone are the days when “branding” was an idea relegated solely to television ads and Coca-Cola bottles. In today’s ever-busier world, the idea of standing out through a well-established “personal brand” has become increasingly important. In this post, I’ll share an introduction to personal branding and how to start naturally setting yourself apart – plus thirteen different examples of “voices” you might choose.
Note: while branding your business is equally important, this post will focus on branding YOURSELF within your business.
What IS a Personal Brand?
A personal brand is a widely-recognized and largely-uniform perception or impression of an individual based on their experience, expertise, competencies, actions and/or achievements within a community, industry, or the marketplace at large.
This is deeply important because once you establish your “voice” – once you are consistent about who you are and what you stand for, this is what people will know you for.
Where Do You Start?
Everyone tells us to “be authentic” and “be ourselves” – and this is true! However, there are nearly innumerable elements about “who you are”. Maybe you’re really funny, but you’ve also got a serious side. Maybe you love creativity AND organization. Which parts of you are going to establish your “voice” in your business?
If you need a few ideas to jumpstart your brainstorming, here goes!
If you want to come across as the professional, your demeanor, your manner of speaking and writing, and your interactions need to come across at this level. This even includes the style of clothes you wear in client-facing interactions – for example, business attire.
Think of people who seem to be able to be friends with everyone – the sort of person you want to sit down and have a cup of coffee with. It is all about who you are targeting. Who are you trying to resonate with? These are the people you want to attract.
Perhaps you offer services with a non-profit. You want to provide tips, tricks, valuable content – anything that helps communicate that you are service-oriented.
Some people respond well to this kind of voice. They simply want someone to tell them what to do. This might look a bit different depending on your business. For example, if you are a teacher delivering online courses, it might be entirely appropriate for you to brand yourself as someone who is in charge and directing your audience.
Let’s say you have a business selling technical equipment for filming professional YouTube videos. You want to come across as the expert – someone who knows what he or she is doing and who can share great knowledge and expertise with your audience.
This voice may need to be used with discretion. You might be someone who is a natural at selling things, and promotion is an easy part of your brand. However, you don’t want to come across as “the used car salesman”, so just use this carefully.
This is related to the “Friendly” voice above. Some people seem to be able to start a conversation with anyone – they’re open, available, and ready to talk. Is this who you want to be seen as?
Perhaps you’re naturally serious and you want to focus on this part of your personality. Do you need to attract serious audience members? Then maybe this is the correct voice for you.
This goes with the next suggestion, #10. I recently met someone with this sort of personal branding; this individual had incorporated yelling into their motivational training, and eventually it became an integral part of their branding. The people who followed this business were the ones who resonated with that style.
Are you naturally quiet? Does your business resonate with soft-spoken, thoughtful people? You may want to be seen as this sort of person.
This can sometimes relate to the “Technical” voice. You have knowledge to share, and you come across as someone who can contribute valuable information. This can be a great voice to develop, especially if you are in a teaching or knowledge field.
If you’re someone who can pull off jokes, humor and fun in a natural and authentic way, this may be for you. Can you appeal to your audience through humor?
Personally, I get offended by this last one, but there are other people who resonate with this. Some brands prefer to be known for a coarse mouth.
At the end of the day, you want to incorporate aspects of your personality that are NATURAL to you. Don’t try to be something you’re not. Your audience will see through the act; authenticity is much more attractive.
You might like something in another person’s brand – say humor, for example – but if you’re not a naturally humorous person, it won’t work to try to pull that into YOUR brand. That’s not who you are.
Are you looking for a guide to help you with your brand. My mini course will take you through the steps to get set up.
So pick the parts of you that you really want to be the “voice” of your business, and then elaborate on that. People who are like that will come to you because they resonate with your voice – they feel connected to that aspect of you.
What voices resonate the most with you? Which new ones would you add to this list? Share in the comments!
You’ve got this!