The entrepreneur

How strong is your personal brand?

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAVYAAAAJDVmNTE2OWU5LTc4MTgtNDNhMi04NDczLWMyMjUyZDQ2NTBiNAIt all comes down to your brand’s unique promise to clients and customers.

In the past, “personal branding” was just a term that was first used by Tom Peters in an article he wrote in 1997. Today, every person is considered their own personal brand. Even if you don’t understand the term yet, your personal brand refers to how others perceive you, how they consider your knowledge and skills and the things that make you unique and different from every other person out there. It’s your unique promise of value.

Part of your personal brand is the cumulative perceptions people have about you. It is your reputation, both online and off. It is what makes you one of a kind, even in the midst of all the others who have the same or similar skills. This is what makes people choose you, and only you. Your personal brand is basically your promise.

What does your personal brand promise?

Think of some of the popular brands out there and what their brand promise is. You come to have certain expectations of these brands – Apple, Starbucks, Toyota, McDonald’s, Amazon – and you will surely get disappointed if this “promise” isn’t kept. You already know what you’re going to get when you buy from or obtain the services of these well-known brands.

Ask yourself: What does my personal brand promise to my clients and customers? Why should they hire me and not the other hundred applicants for the job? Why should they buy from me rather than the hundreds of other small businesses out there? Think about what you want to promise to your clients and customers. This is where your personal brand can start.

How do you deliver that promise?

Once you’ve realized your personal brand’s promise, you now have to consider how you’re going to consistently deliver that promise. Consistency is the word here, because if you aren’t going to be consistent, then your promise is nothing.

You can’t give your best one time, and then be mediocre and forgettable the next time. You represent your brand promise by always delivering every single time. Don’t just try your best – do your best. Lady Gaga, for example, is uniquely Lady Gaga. Maybe she has the weirdest sense of fashion, but that’s what you come to expect of her, and she always delivers.

How do you make people remember your promise?

Branding and social marketing are all about visibility and being clear in who you are. To build your brand, you need to promote it by being everywhere. Have a social media presence, create your own website and show up in places where your products or services might be needed. Don’t limit yourself to the online world – target your local community as well. Check out other small businesses that may be in need of the services you’re offering. You never know who your next client or business partner could be.

Also, to help people recall your personal brand and promise, be sure that you have a consistent picture, logo and color scheme on your social media accounts, fliers, newsletter and other promotional content. This will help people associate these things with your brand, so that they will remember you. Think of McDonald’s and their classic “M” logo. Or Starbucks. Or Apple. Each of their brands really holds a promise, and it’s reflected in each of their logos.

Go the extra mile. Be helpful. Live and enjoy what you do. Go to local events related to the industry you’re in. The more you get out there and show off what you really do and what you stand for, the better for your personal brand and for upholding its promise.

Your promise is what makes your personal brand unique.

At the core, it’s your promise that makes your personal brand unique. It is what makes you stand out from the crowd, what makes people buy from you and what makes you get hired. There are many tools available to help you spread the word about your brand, but what’s important is consistently delivering on what your brand has promised.

Be memorable. Find ways to show people what your brand is all about. And even when you succeed and evolve from an individual to a small business brand, always remember that it’s still about you at the core. Your brand is associated with you and no one else. Never forget to consistently keep your personal brand’s promise.

Maria Elena Duron is a brand relationship trainer, national presenter, author and small business marketing coach specializing in helping individuals, teams, businesses and organizations apply the concepts of the book “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” in their daily business and interactions with customers. She is editor-in-chief of the Personal Branding Blog.

Maria Elena Duron is a blogger with TheBuzz101 and Appreciation in Business. You can follow her on Twitter @MariaDuron or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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