This a guest post written by Scott Dinsmore of ReadingForYourSuccess on 13 essentials when it comes to branding and influencing people. Excellent reading if I do say so myself. Be sure to drop any thoughts or feedback in the comments below, and happy reading!
How would you like to never again have to worry about making money or finding a job?
Obvious, I know. But we all have the ability to sell ourselves to anyone we want.
All you have to do is leverage the potential of Brand You.
As I have helped people discover their path and live life on their terms, nothing has carried more weight. Brand You is where it all begins.
How powerful is your brand?
I’m not talking about your business or your company. I mean you as a person.
Brand You is the most powerful and valuable brand that any one of us owns. And the beauty of it is that you’re born with it. All you need is the right positioning statement, value proposition and marketing plan and the sky’s the limit. I’d like to help with that.
There is endless talk, especially in blogs and articles online, about how to market your business, your product or your service. But what about you? All of us are entrepreneurs-CEO’s of our life. Everything we do is about sales. Making friends, finding a mate, building a business or raising money. If that’s the case then the one sale we better get right, above all others, is that of ourselves.
Brand You first struck me about 9 years ago in an Entrepreneurial Marketing course. We were given Tom Peter’s 1997 article from Fast Company called The Brand Called You. That’s when my marketing plan began and the results have been nothing short of exceptional. While the tools have no doubt changed, the concept is still just as crucial:
You are you’re most powerful brand and it will ultimately dictate your failure or success.
The brilliant news is that we get to choose.
What is a personal brand?
Your brand is your essence. It is the package that communicates who you are, what you’re best at and how you can most help others in your journey through life. It’s how you will put your dent in the world.
The benefits of a strong personal brand are endless but here are a few:
- Fulfillment-nothing feels better than knowing who you are, living it and sharing it with the world
- You will stand out in a big way-among friend, peers, competitors, you name it
- You can charge a premium for being you
- People will seek you out for work as opposed to you doing the searching
- You get to choose your projects-only do the things that are most on purpose
- There is always a market for a rocking brand-recessions become much less scary
Great. So a personal brand seems pretty important. But what do we do about it? Here are the crucial steps I’ve found to knock you’re brand out of the park. They are not tasks to be checked off as much as they are ways of life. Most cost very little money if any. The only investment is your time and creativity, and given the payout, I cannot imagine a better place to allocate resources.
13 Steps to Building a Personal Brand Worth Promoting:
1. Know yourself.
This is huge. You must have a clear understanding of your values, purpose, mission and unique strengths. This is your foundation. It will obviously evolve but the sooner you start understanding yourself the better. Keep a journel of what excites you, what questions do you love to be asked and who’s career is inspiring. Take note of anything at all that catches your eye.
Advice on this subject is endless. The best resources I’ve found are covered in The Beginner’s Guide to Being Congruent if you’d like more guidance. You can’t build a brand if don’t know your product. It all starts here.
2. Form a positioning statement.
Once you know what lights a fire in your belly, you have to concisely communicate what you plan to offer and how others will benefit. Simple as that. Make it concise. Maybe a couple sentences or so. And have fun with it. Who are you, how do you stand out and why should others care?
A sample positioning statement of mine is: Scott is die-hard adventurer, life-experimenter, writer and learner, in search of the extraordinary. He is committed to discovering your own path to personal freedom and living life on your terms through his writing, coaching and speaking.
3. Become an expert.
To show you mean business, you need credibility and social proof. This can come in all forms. It starts with actually being an expert and continues with being perceived as one. Educate yourself like crazy. Become obsessed with devouring every book, seminar, course and event related to your brand. If you did step one properly then you’ll be fueled by passion at this point. When I first got started I read a book or two a week on my topic, spent two weeks a year at seminars and courses and then spent the rest of the year putting it all to action and sharing with others. It’s still my routine. At this rate your positioning quickly becomes obvious to others.
4. Offer help.
Once you have the knowledge, start sharing it. Help friends who need it. Jump at chances to speak at events (speaking is also one of the fastest ways to be considered an expert). Let people know you’d like to offer help. I don’t care if you’re at a bar or in the office, if you see a chance to share what you know and help, do it. Anytime I hear someone talk about being confused about their path in life or frustrated about their career, I leap at the chance to listen and offer what I can. Don’t worry about charging people for it at this point. Just be generous. It’s what you love anyway.
5. Start a blog.
You need an audience and a blog is the fastest way to get one. If you have something you feel strongly about (and we all do) then this is by far the most high-leverage and far-reaching tool I’ve found for sharing it with the world. There are thousands of people who want to hear what you have to say. Get it out there. Your audience is waiting. For guidance, ProBlogger is a great place to start. Pick a URL that is inline with your brand. You can also use your name depending on the focus.
Either way you should also buy your name’s URL and at the very least direct it back to your site. For instance right now www.ScottDinsmore.com redirects to my blog and business, Reading For Your Success. A blog is an excellent way to make introductions and follow up with new contacts too. I notice what’s on their mind and find an article I’ve written that relates. Think of your blog as your living resume at the least and your voice to share your brand with the world at best.
6. Make your appearance congruent.
Today most of us have at least a few windows through which the world can see us. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, you business, your blog, the way you interact socially or the way you interact professionally. It is impossible to keep these separate. The first thing most recruiters do is Google the candidates name and check their networks. It’s the quickest way to weed someone out. I do the same when I first meet someone.
A good brand portrays a consistent image throughout every market. The same goes for yours. This doesn’t mean your Facebook page has to have nothing but head shots and it doesn’t mean you use a picture from you bachelor party in your LinkedIn profile. They will of course have different feels but stay consistent. When in doubt, ask yourself “if I were looking to hire me, would I want to see what I am about to post on my profile”? Be sure all your social networks communicate your brand in some way. Even the signature on your emails. If nothing else, point people to your personal website or blog. Give them a way to keep learning about you.
7. Be who you are.
Do not try to be someone else even if you think that’s what someone wants. In the short term this could possibly win you business or friends, but remember that authenticity is almost as obvious as inauthenticity. If you aren’t being you then you missed the point in the first few steps above.
8. Recognize opportunities to strengthen your brand.
These are everywhere. Maybe you write an article for someone’s site, speak at an event or jump on a seminar. If someone needs an interview on your expertise, be the first to sign up. Search these opportunities out. More people could use your help than you think. And these actions have multiple effects. They enhance your social proof, you become more of an expert and they make you more likely to have similar opportunities in the future.
9. Be generous with your goods.
I keep a pile in my office of the two best books I’ve found to help someone achieve personal freedom. If I ever come across someone whom I think would genuinely benefit from them, whether they’re a close friend or new acquaintance, I don’t hesitate to give out a copy. I am not looking for anything in return. Just knowing that I’ve likely helped them on their adventure is enough. The generosity will stand out and it will surely come back to you.
10. Ask for help.
Many problems you are sorting through have likely already been solved by someone else. Don’t be afraid to ask. It shows your interest and dedication to your field. And asking for help can be a very cleaver way of building rapport with an otherwise difficult to approach person. People naturally get fulfillment out of being able to help someone else. Many of these interactions will grow into relationships. Nurture them, learn from them and keep them close by. We all need some unbiased coaches to keep us on track. I call this group your Personal Board of Directors. It starts with asking.
11. Build your tribe.
Some use the word network, but tribe is way more fun. Wake up everyday wondering who new and exciting you are going to meet today. Walk around expecting to cross paths with such a person. Put yourself in situations and events that will allow this to happen. Speak about your brand with excitement and notice those who resonate with it. Make it a priority to remember their name and followup with an article you’ve written or a book you’ve read that they might benefit from.
Be on the lookout because you won’t just find these people at networking events. More likely it will be in line at a cafe, on the bus, at a happy hour or while out exploring the world. Find a way to start a conversation. One of the easiest is to comment on a book or article you see them reading. Never Eat Alone is by far the best resource on building you’re tribe that I’ve seen. The world is built on relationships and you can never have enough.
12. Learn to communicate.
Knock-out communication will set you apart in any setting. Learn to build rapport with others. Become an excellent writer (your blog will help tremendously with this). Take a public speaking course (Toastmasters is a sweet inexpensive option). Take on projects or volunteer opportunities that push you to be a better communicator.
A few years ago I was set on becoming a better speaker so I took a side-job as a speed reading teacher. I got to learn to speak, teach, pick up an invaluable skill in reading faster and I further built my brand of life-long learning. Find things that check multiple boxes if you can. They are everywhere as long as you’re looking. An awesome place to start is with Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. If you’ve already read it, read it again.
13. Be remarkable.
Anything short of extraordinary gets forgotten. If you do the 12 things mentioned above, you will be well on your way. Be the most passionate person in the room. It’s contagious and people love that. Be the one people talk about when your passion comes up. Take every chance to stand out and be extraordinary. Building a rock-star brand comes down to doing the things that others won’t, and occupying a space in the mind of those around you- your customers, personal and professional. Take every chance to stand out and you won’t be disappointed. Either will they.
Life is all about the story.
Everything we do adds to our story. The job you decide to take or the job you didn’t get. The way you treat your friends and what you share with others. The skills you learn and the skills you teach. This becomes your story and your story is your brand. Do things that are in line with who you are and you will become a product and person worth promoting.
Your brand is being built whether you’re doing the building or not.
If you aren’t building it then someone else is. If you bounce through life with little understanding of yourself and the impact you want to have on the world then that will be your brand. Others will see it and come to expect it. If you are careless with your brand, now more than ever, the world will remember.
Unlike a business, you cannot just launch a new product if things go south. This is not a dress rehearsal. There is no higher business or personal priority than your brand. It’s your core. Your essence. Your legacy.
It’s the foundation upon which you will build your entire professional and personal existence.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to start building. Because as soon as you need your brand, it’s too late. The best time to begin was likely years ago, but the second best time is right now. It is an insurance policy that you will always be surrounded by the people and projects that make life invigorating.
Why not be remarkable and leave a legacy? If you don’t, someone else will.
So how about it BGB’ers? Are you being remarkable? Laying the foundation for a legacy? Are you building your brand or allowing your brand to build you? Drop your thoughts in the comments below, and if you enjoyed this post I’d love it if you’d share it.