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Personal branding — more important than ever

These days personal branding is more important than ever. Whether you’re in a large company or a solopreneur, you must differentiate yourself from your peers, and definitely from your competition. 

The most important thing to remember is that Branding is Not About You.

The biggest mistake people make is focusing on their services when describing themselves. For your personal branding to be effective, the focus must be on your ideal target clients: their problems, concerns, and issues. Using this as a foundation, you can develop the key branding messages that hit the sweet spot with your ideal clients. 

 

Here’s an exercise. Answering these questions with help you craft messages that will resonate with your target audience: 

Business Goals: How you brand yourself must line up with your business goals or you’ll be wasting money on your marketing efforts.  

Do you want to beef up your overall company identity or penetrate a particular market?

Which areas of your business do you want to grow? 

What existing or new services or products do you want to promote?

Ideal clients: These people need to see themselves in your branding messages: 

Whom do you want to reach with your marketing and PR efforts? You need a clear idea of who your ideal client is so your messages will resonate with them. 

Think specifically of one of your ideal existing clients and climb inside their head. What is this client most concerned about, what problems do you help solve for him or her?

Ok, now we get to you. Keeping in mind your target clients and what’s important to them: 

What are the benefits of the services you provide? 

What do your clients value most in service—professional expertise, lower cost, on-time performance, quality, personal service? 

Differentiators: What makes you stand out from the competition? What do you have to offer that your competition doesn’t, such as special expertise, a unique niche, a package of services, a one-stop shop? 

In answering these questions you’ll see that themes will emerge, centering around the problems you solve and benefits that you bring. These themes are the basis of your personal branding messages. 

The next step is to use these messages across all your marketing activities: on your website, in a video, in your marketing materials, in speeches, in case studies, in your newsletter, on LinkedIn, in pitches to industry media, and of course, during lunch with a potential client or key referral source.