Quick: Think of three famous people.
What comes to mind when you think of each one?
Chances are that each of those people represents specific things in not only your mind but that of others too.
This is the power of a person’s individual brand, or personal brand.
Anyone remember (or more accurately, who can forget) the 2016 U.S. presidential election battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump? Regardless of your viewpoints, each of those two candidates built extremely distinct personal brands. What those brands represent is a different topic, but there’s little question that their personal brands played an enormous role in their campaigns. You could even argue that their personal brands were bigger than themselves.
Here’s the newsflash: you don’t have to be famous in order to have a personal brand. Everyone, including you, already has one.
When people think of you, what comes to mind? Is that what you’d like them to think? Is it consistently represented through everyone who engages with you?
In the same way that corporate brands are built, individuals can build their own personal brands. All great brands personify simplicity, clarity, and alignment.
In his book Brand Called You, Tom Peters famously pointed out that “we are all CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc.” When his book was published in 1997, “mass media” meant traditional broadcast media that were centrally controlled and managed by powerful corporations. The average consumer had little – if any – access to get their message into the market.
“To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”
— Tom Peters
Fast forward to today when digital media dominates and applications like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, SnapChat, Twitter, and YouTube have revolutionized the media landscape and “mass media” has taken on an entirely new meaning as the masses control much of the dialog about brands and their reputations in the marketplace. For your personal brand, this shift represents a tremendous opportunity, but also creates challenges that require you to proactively manage your brand and reputation.
Here are 6 guidelines to build a compelling personal brand.
1. Focus on “Why” instead of “What”
Why should your audience care about you? Why should they listen to your story? Wrestling this question to the ground requires you to go to a deeper and more emotive level of engagement by articulating not just what you do, but more importantly, why you do what you do. Most people focus on “what” they do but your audience wants to know “why” you are different from other people and “why” it matters to them. The “why” must speak to your core purpose. Why do you do what you do?
2. Start with the Mind of Your Target Audience
Your brand story must be simple, clear and aligned with your audience’s needs and wants. It must resonate with your audience in such a way that he or she wants to be a part of your brand story.
3. Simplify an Issue or Problem
Does your “why” solve a problem? Does it articulate why your personal brand matters or the value that you bring to your audience? Most people have neither the time or inclination to figure this out on their own – this question needs to be answered through your “why”.
4. Stir Emotion in Your Audience
Give people a reason to care, a reason to pick you and a reason to stay. People don’t buy from making logical, rational buying decisions. They make emotional decisions and then justify those decisions by rationalizing them with facts. There is a huge difference between whether your audience views your story as just another transactional relationship or a story that emotionally connects with them.
5. Strike a Chord that Prompts an Internal Question or Reflection
What do you want people to think when they interact with your personal brand? People will be more engaged if they can relate to your story rather than listening to fact-laden statements about your credentials and accomplishments.
6. Make Your Audience the Hero of Your Story
Compelling stories resonate when the audience can put themselves at the center of the story. We must make the audience the hero while the brand assumes the role of a mentor. When your goal becomes participation rather than control, the hero is more likely to let you into their world.
Creating a compelling personal brand can be challenging. It requires honesty, authenticity, discipline, and an artistic eye. Always remember to ask yourself: does your personal brand story pass the test of simplicity, clarity, and alignment? Is your story so compelling that it can transform your listener into a storyteller on your behalf?
Learn how you can harness the power of Transformational Marketing to bring simplicity, clarity, and alignment to your personal brand’s story, strategy, and systems. Download our free ebook now!
Photo credit: VH1