How do you BRAND YOU? Step 1
When we think of the word Brand in business, we think of large corporations. Monstrously large captains of industry well known with a high level of recognition. So many of them do it so well that you only need to see the swoop check mark and you know who it is and what they are about and who their customers are and why you would want to be one. But we never think of ourselves as a Brand, yet personal brands are not a new concept. If you read poetry in school, I am almost certain you could differentiate the prose of Shakespeare to Poe. If I just say the name Beyonce, you already know what that pop diva is all about and the type and quality of her music. If I were to ask you to go to a movie directed by M. Night Shyamalan, you would know is was going to keep you on the edge because that is what he is known for. You have a brand you just might not be aware of it and all you need to do is tap into it in order to define it.
So what is a brand?
I have read so many definitions but it all boils down the this one simple sentence. A Brand can be defined as : Unique ____ that identifies a ___ and differentiates it from the competitors. You can fill in the blanks with lots of things for example; copy/service, logo/product, image/company, sound/band, look/model, symbol/company, prose/author, etc…. You get the idea. So when we say brand yourself in business, this is what we are talking about. Your unique identifiers that differentiate you from everyone else. In other words, who you are and what you stand for. I have both, a personal brand and two consumer product companies that I own and run with two unique brands. I was also the key creative and co-founder of a non-profit. I have helped others create brands from the ground up and I have helped some evolve a brand for established companies. So I think it is safe to say that I am very keen on brands and what they mean. I have experienced firsthand the importance of having a solid grasp of your brand from the beginning of an enterprise.
Easy to brand a product
In some respects, branding a product or a service is a tad bit easier. Probably because the product or service already has some form of identity based on its role in service. For example if I said that I was starting a tea company, there is already some pre-conceptions you can make towards branding and even in defining the customer (we'll save market share for another post). How about a car company? A training company? Once you pick the product or service then it is a matter of asking more defining questions. Let's stick with the tea company. We would ask what kind of tea? Is it a diet tee, a bedtime relaxing tea, a pleasure tea, a detoxifying tea, etc… Then once that was narrowed down we would start asking a couple of other questions like is it lose leaf or convenient bag? Sold in bulk or subscription or buy when you want it? Who do I think will want this tea? With these few simple questions I can actually start to define the brand and it is all central to the product.
So our hypothetical company is a Green Tea that is known for its detoxifying and weight loss benefits. Our tea is sold in convenient single use pouches and so that you never need to worry about running out, you can subscribe and we will deliver it to your door every month rain or shine. BOOM. I can take that and run with it. So could you. Easy to see who would buy it and why and what triggers to pull to get people to want it. Piece of cake, but people are a bit more complicated.
The Why and the What of you
You are not a bag of tea! How would you even begin to brand yourself? The process is the same but the questions you need to ask are different and require looking deep inside yourself to answer. When I work with my clients, we go deep and get real which isn't always easy. But in the end the brand matches and makes building a business so much easier. Here are a few question you can start to ask to begin the process:
Why are you? What makes you different? What makes you alike? What motivates you? Why did you choose this path? How did you get here? What is your passion? What intrigues you? What makes you smile? Frown? What gets you defensive? What causes stress? How does the world around you view you? What are you good at? What do you hate to do? What do you find yourself always doing?
When I work with my clients, I tend to go way back into their past. Why? Because so much of who we are today is the sum of where we have been from the very beginning. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has heard the we spend a lifetime getting over our past. I tend to believe our past helped shape us and there is little to get over when you keep the positive and use it as your strength. As an adult, I can honestly say that all the experiences (good and bad) have made me. Once you finish this step, you will be ready for step 2.
But what is you don't have a company
For those of you in MLM or Affiliate marketing, building your own brand separate from the product or service you are selling is paramount to your future security. You do not own the company you are selling and at any given time, the owners of that company can change policy and procedure which will affect you.
For many people who sign on to one company, they often sign on with others. It's a more solid way to leverage their future since they do not own the product or service company. So having your own brand and leading with that instead will help you secure a long and happy future. You should own the relationships you create while building your network of customers and down channels.
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