What exactly is a brand?
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.
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 I have to offer and what problems am I positioned to solve?
2. How am I different from other people in my sphere of influence? How will I communicate or demonstrate that uniqueness?
3. What emotions do I evoke? How do I want people to feel after having an encounter with me?
4. What transformation do I offer?
5. How do I want people to perceive me? For instance, as a businessperson, do people see me 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 my brand personality? For instance, do I want to come off as friendly, helpful, assertive, authoritative, cooperative, glamorous, old-fashioned, bold, conservative or dependable?
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 may sound like, “I help people do this so that they can have this and become that.”Most people don't realise it, but everyone is building a personal brand. The question is, are you building it on purpose? Click To Tweet
For example an aspect of my personal mission 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.
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. This could be through books, coaching programs, services, speaking engagements and several other channels.
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.Building a personal brand is not the exclusive preserve of business owners. Your personal brand is that special 'something' that differentiates you and determines how people perceive you. Click To Tweet
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.