A brief guide to building a strong personal brand

A brief guide to building a strong personal brand

I planned to hold a personal brand monetisation training from August 18 to August 19, 2017. The training required a pre-qualifying process so I could assess the readiness and disposition of participants to help me customise their learning experience.

After going through all the responses, I realised that going ahead with the training would be like sowing precious seeds on a new farmland without first clearing the weeds and ploughing the soil. Almost all the applicants had unrealistic expectations. Except for two people who were willing to have a gestation period of 30 to 90 days, others wanted to start making money as early as right now — and that without prior experience.

One of the respondents particularly stressed the fact in such a way that it was practically impossible to misinterpret his expectation. When asked “How soon do you expect to start making money?” He responded, “Immediately, I mean right now.” He is looking to make 450,000 naira per month but is only willing to work two hours per day.

How do people perceive you? Do they see you as someone who genuinely wants to create value for them or someone who simply wants to make money off them?

As I write this, the average skilled worker in Nigeria earns 50,000 naira per month (The vast majority earn much less with minimum wage at 18,000 naira) and works eight hours per day but my ambitious friend believes there must be some magic system that will allow him to make nine times the average monthly salary with only one-fourth of the work. Wow!

Someone else wants to make 10,000 to 25,000 dollars per month while also putting in two hours of work per day. With five working days in a week that’s an average of 250 – 625 dollars per hour as a newbie. On the other extreme, another intending participant is willing to work 20 hours per day but is not quite clear on what returns to expect. How can anyone possibly work for 20 hours every day?

Since over 92 percent of respondents didn’t seem to know the first word about brand monetisation — or even the basics of making money in other legitimate ways apart from earning a salary or selling physical products — I saw the need to discuss personal branding on a general level instead of having a closed session with a select few.

What exactly is a brand?

Strong personal brand
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A brand is a promise or a perception of what people can expect from you. Nothing more, nothing less. Someone might come up with a complex and more impressive definition but in the final estimation, a brand simply paints a picture of what people can expect from a product, business or some other entity.

Your personal brand is thus a perceived image of who you are and what people can expect from you (You may want to read that again). What comes to mind when people hear your name? What values do you represent and what emotions do you evoke? What solutions can you be expected to provide? What problems are you likely to create? What perceptions do you project? All of these constitute your personal brand.

Your personal brand is a perceived image of who you are and what people can expect from you. Click To Tweet

Let’s have a few more illustrations. What comes to mind when you think about Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries? How about Winners Chapel and Daystar Christian Centre? If money is not an issue would you prefer to order your laptop from Amazon or Jumia? How would you compare Donald Trump to Barack Obama? What do you expect when you see Lai Mohammed on television?

Your answers to the foregoing questions reveal how you perceive the entities in question and that perception is consequent on the brand that they have built over time — consciously or unconsciously.

Six questions to get you started

Everyone is building a brand but not everyone is building it on purpose, in line with an identified vision and a defined plan. The starting point is to recognise this fact and deliberately set out to chart your path. Answering the following questions will get you started in the right direction:

1. What value do you have to offer and what problems are you poised to solve?

2. How are you different from other people in your niche? How will you communicate or demonstrate that uniqueness?

3. What emotions do you evoke? How do you want people to feel after having an encounter with you?

4. What transformation do you offer?

5. How do you want people to perceive you? For instance, do they see you as someone who genuinely wants to create value for them or someone who simply wants to make money off them?

6. What adjectives would they use to describe your brand personality? For instance, do you want to come off as friendly, helpful, assertive, authoritative, cooperative, glamorous, old-fashioned, bold, conservative or dependable?

Creating a personal brand is about understanding the unique qualities that make you special and communicating this specialness to the right people through multiple channels.

These questions will help you define your vision, create your brand positioning story and develop a mission statement that clearly communicates the essence of your brand. Your mission statement will sound like, “I help people do this so that they can have this and become that.”

For example my personal mission statement is helping entrepreneurs and professionals take charge of their lives so that they can find fulfilment, create more margin in their lives and achieve financial freedom.

Whether I’m building a website, writing a blog post, sharing on social media, or teaching people how to leverage digital tools for more profit and impact you will find that mission statement reflecting in all that I do.

Creating a personal brand is therefore about understanding the unique qualities that make you special and communicating this specialness to the right people through multiple channels.

A strong personal brand will raise your visibility and give you competitive advantage. Click To Tweet

You can then proceed to monetise your brand by packaging and showcasing your uniqueness in ways that will help you achieve your mission statement while creating value and delivering benefits that people are willing to pay for. If you prefer to receive expert guidance instead of applying these tips on your own, send me a message so I can notify you when the opportunity opens.

Why you must act now

Everyone should be serious about creating a felicitous personal brand. Personal brands are not just for the business owner seeking to win more clients. It is that special something that makes you distinctive, gives you a competitive advantage and determines how you’re perceived in the marketplace.

A strong personal brand will raise your visibility and put you in a better position to attract the right opportunities, receive better remuneration and fulfil your personal aspirations.

Question: What’s your most important takeaway from this post? What would you like to add or ask? Let’s hear from you in the comments.

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