The terms personal branding and branding have become buzzwords. A lot of people are missing the key benefits of building a strong brand. The number one asset in your business is your brand. It’s not your database.
It’s not your price. It’s not your product. It’s not your location. It is you. You are the biggest advantage. What you do may not be unique, but you are. That is why putting your personality into your brand is so important. You’re not a niche or an industry that is without competition. The only difference between you and your competition is your brand.
Sure, your price may be the lowest, but how long will that last? Your product may have a benefit that your competition doesn’t offer, but how long will that last? At some point, your competition will match you. The one element they cannot match is your brand. There are a lot of businesses that make shoes, but there’s only one Nike.
When my accountant does a good job, I say, Hey, Dave, you did an awesome job. I don’t say, Hey, CPA Services, blah, blah, blah. You really did a good job. Now your customers are the same. You’re the one creating and providing the value. Your product or service is the avenue you used to provide that value. Having a strong brand beats the heck out of selling.
Do you think that once Oprah’s brand was established, she had to go around convincing people to be a guest on her show? Now, brands that are well positioned in the marketplace have less selling to do. They have a relationship with their target audience and a high level of trust with them as well. You begin to attract prospects rather than spending all your time searching for them.
Brands can make people pay more for one thing than another. Branding is what makes me drive past Kmart. While going straight to Target, I’ll sell the same stuff for the most part, but I have a different perception of each of them. My trust level is different for each of them. Women in some strange dudes buy approach purses because the emotional association with that brand because they buy a similar purse much cheaper.
Yes, but it wouldn’t be a coach. Therefore, in their mind, it wouldn’t be as good. People are willing to spend more money on a brand they trust. Do I want a drink? A nice coal country mist or a Mountain Dew? Country Mist is a generic brand of Mountain Dew. But I have zero trust in that brand just because it’s cheaper doesn’t mean I’m going to have a sip.
Plus, it gets annoying when brands get too cute with spelling their name. Spelling country with a K makes me worry about their education.
It isn’t kool. People also stick around longer with brands they trust they’re more likely to become customers for life. One of the reasons they stick around longer is that they are more forgiving of your mistakes and everyone makes mistakes.
Amazon.com is a phenomenal brand. However, like any brand, it’s not perfect. When selling begins on a book on Amazon, it was targeted at pedophiles. People were in an outrage, and rightfully so. After getting hit with bad publicity and getting an earful from social media world. Amazon removed the book. Their brand suffered a black eye, but today, known as an issue with purchasing from Amazon People are forgiving the mistakes, especially when they have a good relationship with the brand.
Another wonderful benefit of branding is that people buy more from you Tom Hanks is one of the greatest actors of all time. His fans will watch any movie he’s been in, regardless of what the movie is. Why? Because they trust him. And they’re familiar with him. Heck, I even set for the movie The Lady Killers just because Tom was in it.
Branding works in any market. Big, small Home Depot and those are the two biggest brands in the home improvement space. Although they’re a large brand doing very well, there are still several small home improvement stores in my town here, and they’re also doing well. Their market is small and their brand is small. They have a great reputation and relationship with their audience.
A strong brand gives prospects a comfort level, so they actually pre-qualify themselves. They respect you and know if they are a fit with your brand. Even brands that are focused on mass producing products can and do benefit from personal branding. It’s still real people at the company creating those products and providing those services It’s easy to abandon a faceless brand.
Let’s face it, the corporate voice doesn’t work well anymore. There is no gap between traditional corporate branding and personal brand. Personal brands can co-exist with the company brand. Richard Branson is a founder of Virgin, one of the world’s largest brands. He is perhaps the most visible and well known personal brand within a larger brand. Richard has allowed us to get to know him and his dreams for the world, because the followers we have for him, we have a fondness for Virgin as well.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC, really understands how personal branding can connect with their fans. They are encouraging your followers to tweet as much as possible. Dana White, president of USC, is giving them incentives for doing so. They understand that personal brands from their fighters reinforce UFC brand overall. They’re giving their fans a chance to connect and engage with their favorite fighters.
Your desired outcomes for your brand are to establish your personal brand as an authority in your field. Showcase your credibility and build real relationships and trust with your target audience. The world doesn’t need another corporate brand. It needs you. We need your input. We need your advice, message, and solutions. Even if you own a large business, with lots of employees and still real people promoting your product and real people buying it.
People do business with people. They connect and engage with people. Corporate branding is no longer an effective strategy. Today, people connect with your personality, content and values. The big benefit of having a powerful brand is that you attract businesses rather than having to chase people down and beg for it. The more well-known you are, the more successful you will be.
Some branding experts will tell you to let your audience define you. That is dangerous suggestion because they may put you in a box you do not want to be in. It’s on me to make it clear what my brand is about. If you don’t define it, they will, and they could screw it up. Personal branding is extremely effective in 99% of the strategies you can implement to build your brand are free.
Your brand works for you or against you, but it always works.