What is a brand? And why is it important to build one?
A brand is the identity of a company. Jeff Bezos even made it simpler, your brand is what people are saying about you when you are not in the room. Every business needs to have a brand no matter how small it may be.
According to Gary Vaynerchuk, building a brand for your business is the single most important thing in business. Our personal brand is a great asset by which we can grow our businesses.
It is the signpost that clients see which attracts them to us. It tells them everything, from what we do, what we can do, to what we cannot do. In as much as it may be intangible, it has so much power to make or unmake a company. Most often someone would be willing to do business with Tony Elumelu than some other banker.
So long as you have access to the internet or offer some kind of product and service building a personal brand is a necessity and not an option. Your brand is your unique identity that distinguishes you from your peers and competitors.
When you have a solid personal brand, it is a great asset to your business. Your business would get a lot of exposure from your personal brand. For example, people may not know your business, but if they get to hear that the company is owned by you they’ll be willing to patronize your business.
Some benefits of having a good personal brand
- It gives you credibility
Imagine two people offering the same kind of product or service. Individual 1 and Individual 2. You don’t know any of them personally. So you decided to visit their social media pages. Individual 1 has no information on his page relating to the service you’re looking for, all you see is regular everyday posts, nothing professional.
Then you visit Individual 2’s page here at first glance you see a professional picture. His bio tells you what he does and his posts reflect the same. Who would you patronize? Of course, individual 2, because there is a visibility of his brand.
- A strong personal brand helps you to gain the trust of your customers.
With your brand, customers know clearly what to expect from you and what not to expect. They get to know your results and level of professionalism and hence are willing to do business with you even in challenging times.
- Recognized as an authority in your niche.
A well-established brand conveys the message that you are an authority. Your brand positions you as a go-to person in your area of expertise. With a good personal brand, you rarely need an introduction. You’ll be one of the first people to come to mind if someone is looking for a service in your area of expertise. For example, if you talk about public speaking Brian Tracy comes to mind and when you talk about personal coaching Tony Robbins comes to mind.
- You get media coverage:
Because the media desires to always put out credible information, having an established brand makes it easier for the media to always gives you coverage and refer clients to you because of your credibility. Everyone wants to be associated with greatness remember.
- More Customers and Recommendation.
Because your brand echoes your results you would not have to do a lot of convincing before you get clients. And satisfied customers would heartily recommend you to others. Customers would be willing to take a risk on you than someone with a less established brand.
- Premium Pricing.
Having a formidable brand gives you the advantage to charge a premium price without any cause of alarm. Because you’re seen as an expert and highly sort after clients will be willing to pay any price to get your service. Your results speak for themselves.
Below are 7 steps on how to build a successful and outstanding personal brand.
1. Choose a Niche: To build an outstanding brand, either a personal brand or a business brand the first thing to do is to decide on what particular problem you want to solve, in other words, the particular service you want to render. After deciding on that, you have to research and understand how others in the niche are trying to solve the problem. Having an understanding of how your niche works helps you to build a unique brand that is distinct from other existing brands. Understanding your niche in and out equips you with the ability to offer .
Things to consider when choosing a niche.
- Choose a niche that is in line with your passion.
- Check the profitability of your niche.
- Research your competition.
2. Become an Authority in your Niche: Diversity is good and it is not bad to have some knowledge on a lot of subjects, but to build an outstanding and unique brand requires that you become experts in your niche. This implies we must have a significant amount of detailed knowledge and understanding in our area of expertise.
There should be an established fact that you’re undoubtedly a go-to person when it comes to your niche. Becoming an authority in our niche requires that we build our capacities learning from the best and other experts. You can select a handful of them from which you learn from.
For instance, personally, I am closely learning from Brian Tracy, Gary Vaynerchuk, Jay Shetty, and Simon Sinek just to name a few. This may come at some monetary cost, but it is worth the investment. We must also endeavor to continually increase our knowledge on the job, listening to podcasts, watching youtube videos, attending conferences, and reading articles.
Things to do to become an authority in your niche.
- Network and connect with other movers of your industry
This not only gives you exposure but you get to learn from their rich reservoir of experience s. As Jim Rohn repeatedly says you’re an average of the 5people you consistently spend time with. You get the opportunity to talk to them about your challenge, listen to their insights on topics, and observe them while they are at work.
- Practice! Practice! practice! because practice makes perfect.
Research has shown that you become what you repeatedly do. When Lobby Bryant was asked how he became so good, he said it was because he practiced a lot mostly more than his competitor. Because he believes that achieving success is maths, just put in the work and the results will show. And according to Malcolm Gladwell in his debut book the Outliers, you’ll become an expert at something if you are able to spend 10,000 hours doing that particular thing. Thus the 10,000-hour rule.
- Mentor Someone
Nothing helps you gain a grounding in some knowledge than teaching and sharing it with others. You can also gain a fresh perspective from your inexperienced mentee.
Stay up to date on the trends in your niche. Trends are fast-changing that it is quick for a product the was raining a couple of months ago become obsolete.
- Lastly, dress the part.
dressing the part helps you to create a good first impression. Many people have testified of how they got a contract or an open door because of their appearance.
3. Be Extremely Value-Driven: A customer will only repeat business with a company if they have received the value for which they contracted them. To be an outstanding brand requires that at every transaction customers or clients receive a little value above what they actually paid for. Jeff Bezos expressed it better when he said the customer is a god and must be treated as such.
Notwithstanding the fact that if not all, most of us (companies) enter into business to make a profit. We cannot make profits at the expense of our customers and employers. We have to be known as a company that treats it’s, workers and customers, well. Today many big corporations like Amazon, Wallmart, and Zara among others are having their brands tinted because of employee mistreatment.
How to deliver value to your customer.
- Your customer should be the center of focus and not the money you make.
Because if the customer is made the center of attention automatically the money would come. As Henry Ford succinctly puts it, a business devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.
- Tailor-make products and services to the taste of consumers.
Customers would only be willing to patronize a product if it meets their needs. So don’t develop or create a product you want instead create a product the customers want.
4. Make Yourself Visible: Customers should be able to find you without much stress and search. We are fortunate to currently be in a social media world where with little effort and at a little cost we get exposed to millions of potential customers. Create an online presence and market your brand. Families and friends can be of help in this regard, we just have to leverage them to reach their circle of influence.
Things to do to become more visible online
- Use a professional profile picture on your social media accounts.
A professional picture is relative if you offer corporate services you put a corporate picture there. But if you are an engineer or architecture and offer engineering services then you put a picture that will tell what you do.
- Have a bio, and let it include what you do; the service and product you offer.
- Create a business or personal page and a Facebook group.
- Run ads.
- Join and participate in the discussions going on in FB groups in your niche.
5. Build a Unique Brand: Its okay to learn and borrow ideas from others but it is not okay to be a copycat of another brand. There should be that unique touch and signature you give to your brand that makes it outstanding and differentiated from other companies providing similar services.
Already we are in a world of fierce competition so not having a unique brand is like shooting yourself in the foot. For example, in the fast-food industry although Mcdonalds, KFC, and Burger king provide very similar products they are still very distinct in their brand.
Being a copycat of another brand only makes you second fiddle. So no matter how undifferentiated the products or services we provide are, we still must find a unique way to deliver our services. Because this is the only way we can make any significant impact and profit in the market.
How to build a unique brand
- Have a vision for your business.
It is from your vision that you derive your uniqueness. Let your vision drive you more than the competition. Otherwise, you become like everyone else.
- Have a mission.
- Have a business logo and tagline.
6. Be Consistent and Transparent: Our offline lives and values must be consistent with our lives online. We have to be authentic in our services and deliver what we promise. We must also have transparency because without transparency people find it difficult to believe you. Perhaps you may be doing things right, but the fact that clients have some doubts about you complicates things. Stay true to the core values of our business consistently over time.
7. Be Patient: Building a successful and outstanding brand is not a day’s job. It takes time, months, maybe years. The most important thing is to remain consistent and staying true to the core purpose of the business. There are already existing brands in your niche so it may take some time to get the attention of your customers. Nonetheless, a continuous delivery of top-notch and unique value to your customers over time will give you a breakthrough in business. There are numerous examples from which we can learn from, Africa’s Alinko Dangote, Amazon (Jeff Bezos), Tony Robbins, and Jay Shetty among many others.
Remember as Oprah Winfrey said if you become excellent you become unforgettable.
The importance of building a brand cannot be over-emphasized if this article resonates with you don’t forget to comment, like, and share with your family and friends and let’s all grow together.