There are several levels of branding that you need to take into consideration when you are running your own business. Firstly what is your corporate branding? If you think of big companies, such as Coca Cola, Disney or Manchester United, you can instantly tap into their corporate branding. It’s globally explicit. The second area of branding is at a product level; think of an Xbox, or a packet of Walker’s crisps, or an Innocent Smoothie. The third area of branding that is important to you is personal branding; how you brand yourself.
If you’re thinking ‘hang on a sec, I’m no celebrity’, don’t worry. You don’t have to be. However, you can learn great lessons from celebrities and the way they brand themselves. Consider Russell Brand; slightly kooky, unkempt, a bit hippie, quite outspoken? That’s his brand. Jessie J; rough round the edges, forthright, down with the kids, street talk, newly bald? That’s her brand. You don’t have to go to that extreme but learn the lesson about presenting an image from these celebrities. They use a certain image to market themselves. It’s what sells them.
We can use the image of people we admire to help our products sell. A good example of this is the current run of adverts for Virgin TiVo. Richard Branson is presented as an ordinary fun guy with the sort of friends we really want to hang out with while watching our favourite programmes through his television box; Usain Bolt and David Tennant anyone?
You can create and bolster your personal brand online using social media. Think about the face you want to present to the world and then do so! Here are some tips to help you on your way. Good luck!
Tips for creating your personal brandThink about it Take some time to sit down with a cup of tea, a pen and some paper and start doodling ferociously. Write down every thought about who you are and where you come from and what you care about.
Ask your mates How would your friends describe your personality or character traits? Do they see you as intelligent? Funny? Serious? Opinionated? Quiet? Loud? A supporter of environmental issues? Political? Natural? Bright? Sober? Take all of your own ideas and all of your friends and consider everything. In among all those adjectives, what do you want to portray to the outside world that is true to you? What should your brand look like?
Use Business Cards In this day and age everyone should have a business card. It needs to incorporate your logo or a photo, hold all your contact details, along with your brand name (if that’s different to your name) and a brand statement.
Have a business card that can be shared via your mobile phone.
Be online! Have a website and a proper page on Facebook, a Twitter presence, and a LinkedIn profile. Create a portfolio either of your products or services so that people can see exactly what you have to offer. Show off any skills you have.
Start a blog A blog is a fabulous way to connect with people and you can build up some loyal followers. Have patience however as it can take some time. Also, be aware that you might come in for some stick. Once you have built up some followers, use your blog to showcase your expertise.
LinkedIn Use LinkedIn to its full capacity. It is a social networking tool with many advantages compared with Facebook and Twitter, not least because it manages to be entirely more professional. It has forums, job pages and all manner of business leads are on offer that you can follow up.
Facebook Have a professional Facebook page that is different to your personal one. Fill your profile out in full. Keep it clean and professional looking.
Email address Check what your email address says about you. If it’s something like ‘[email protected]’ you really might want to consider having a better one. Seriously!You If you’re out about and getting up close and personal with clients and customers then you really need to consider your wardrobe and personal grooming. Coffee breath is a no-no, as is greasy hair. So make a big effort.
Finally Once you have established your personal brand and you’re up and running online, don’t sit back and wait for your customers and clients to come to you, get out and about and take the party to your clients.