People like Michelle Obama, Narendra Modi, Oprah Winfrey have become popular and grabbed a position in your heart not only because they are good at what they do but also because of their personal branding statements that communicated better.
To understand this better, let us ask you a few questions.
- What comes to your mind first when you think of Bill Gates?
- Even after the presidential tenure has ended, why is Barack Obama still close to your heart?
- Why does an influential person like Narendra Modi prefer to wear similar suits while on an outreach?
- Did you know Mahatma Gandhi wore a suit?
Well, each of these influencers followed a personal branding strategy that you are probably less aware of. Not because Michelle was the first lady that she became popular, she created a personal brand in such a way that none can ever forget her.
Whether you are a business owner or have a normal profile but wanted to remain outstanding, you need to focus on building your personal brand TODAY!
Branding yourself is extremely important! Remember, the stardom that people mentioned above have achieved today was not done overnight.
In this post, we share a list of GUARANTEED principles for personal branding that worked for them.
Choose a niche
When it comes to personal branding, you CANNOT be a jack of all trades. It is important to narrow down what you wanted to be known for.
Bill Gates was well-known as a business magnate as well as a philanthropist. If you ask us how he became popular playing 2 roles simultaneously, it was because he linked them up through his social venture and invested in projects that empowered people.
Hence, choose a niche like fashion, minimalism, cooking, makeup, environment that you are comfortable with and this is the FIRST STEP TO BRAND YOURSELF.
Your goals vs Your identity
Did you know that your identity is directly influenced by your goals?
If you wanted to be known as a philanthropist, then your goals should probably be similar to the ones here.
- Arranging free medical camps for X people within October 2019
- Setting up a tuition center for the underprivileged from Y village
This goal alignment is important to build your identity.
For you to be branded as a costume designer, your goals and action plan should be aligned. If they are not aligned, it is impossible to create a personal brand as you wish!
What should others know about you
This step is extremely important.
When your goal doesn’t match with other’s perception, your personal branding strategy is a FAILURE.
To understand this better, let us take the example of Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi.
When he was the chief minister of Gujarat, his reach was not as wide as now as he has invested in his personal branding.
He wanted his followers and party members to know that he is an efficient administrator. To enable others to develop this understanding, he followed a personal styling tactic to prove him unique and communicated with his followers through all the media platforms available. On top of these, his campaigns were designed in such a way that they reach the international audience.
He maintained consistency even after being declared as the prime minister. He developed merchandise exclusively for his brand and networked with leaders around the world. The aggressive cross-marketing strategy has helped him to remain successful and consistent to date.
Now, in this case, make it short. Pick three traits that can define you. For instance, you can expect others to call you as kind, intellectual and helpful. This definition can add shape and clarity to your personal brand building process.
Nandini Swaminathan, an award-winning fashion blogger, says:
Identify the one aspect that makes you as a person and a professional to stand out. It could be anything from a personality trait, to colors you identify with, to a certain mood or vibe you are known for. Adjectives that best describe what you stand for can be a way to take a particular direction, to begin with.
She chose fashion as her niche and built her brand – Sartorial Secrets.
Note: Don’t combine too many things under one roof.
Create a value proposition
Ask yourself – why should others follow you?
When there are so many others who can be followed, what makes you unique? What message are you trying to convey?
For instance, Brian Dean, one of the most popular influencers in the field of internet marketing and founder of Backlinko, makes it clear that “higher rankings and more traffic” is his desire. Adding value to this mission, he creates videos to make it feasible.
As a result, people who are interested in SEO and digital marketing follow him to gather tips and insights.
Build the message that you wanted to convey and plan your strategy accordingly.
How to choose the right social media network
There are innumerable social media platforms that you can use but it is important to find out what works for you.
If you are a photojournalist wanting to convey a message through photos, you may have to restrict to Instagram, Flickr, and Facebook.
If you wanted to interact with your followers through videos, YouTube is the best.
If you are a brand owner wanting to share industry insights, LinkedIn works well.
Make sure you choose not more than 3 of the social media platforms to interact with your followers as it can turn harder as the follower count increases. You can also restrict to one!
Michelle Obama, for instantly, largely makes use of Twitter for communication followed by Facebook.
Follow a branding routine
Being consistent is the key to a successful personal brand.
There are certain YouTubers who connect with people once a week through a video. There are also influencers who post almost every day about their daily events. And all this in the same niche!
When you miss the routine, you automatically lose your followers and give way for competitors to overtake you.
Similarly, make sure your image does not become ironical in each platform. For instance, some people tend to be casual on Facebook while professional in LinkedIn. These contradictions can confuse your followers.
Naiya Sehgal, a fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogger, says –
Branding routine for an influencer firstly involves building up of trust with their audience, one should know their audience, their likes, and dislikes and must create content accordingly. Coming up with ideas and experimenting definitely adds up. Another important aspect is to stay active and your followers must relate themselves with what you share.
Connect and promote shamelessly
Shameless promoting and shameless selling work!
For instance, if you are a dancer who is just trying to build your network, it is absolutely fine to go out of your way to promote yourself. You can either visit a local community meetup and exchange cards or even associate with other influencers and ask them to speak about you. Now, it is a win-win situation and you get additional followers!
Build your network
Your network is your net worth.
Did you know commercial brands would like to pay influencers who have a good network? So, how can you do this?
- Be a part of online and offline communities.
- Constantly interact and reconnect with people.
- Give them value before you expect something from them.
- Keep it transparent.
- Constantly reinvent yourself and make your network feel proud of the association.
If you look at the earlier days of influencers, you can see that they built it slow but steady. So, don’t be hesitant.
Find out how Praveen Kumar Rajendran built his personal brand – Case Study
Assess online vs offline image
Let’s take the example of Oprah Winfrey.
Her online image clearly tells that she is a host and an actress and the photographs and videos stand as pieces of evidence.
Adding to this online image, her dressing has also reflected her professionalism and elegance. If you look at the dressing of Oprah Winfrey, she has always chosen elegant and chic wear that portray her niche and the message.
Several years ago when the online image was never a topic of concern, it was the image portrayed by media that stood important. Let’s take Mahatma Gandhi as an example.
He once wore a suit when he was away from India where he completed his degree and began his practice. However, when he decided to quit non-Indian influence in his life, he also altered his dressing and chose to wear a dhoti and display his simplicity. This did not vary at any instance and it was consistent throughout.
So, make sure you stand to your promise!
Organize Q&A sessions
Are your followers happy following you? Find out by organizing Q&A sessions.
A good example to organize a Q&A session is to set an AMA session every Saturday where your followers get a chance to interact with you. Doing this can tell you where you stand and where you will have to work better.
If you have already tasted success, you can venture out by participating in television shows where you can meet your followers in person and answer their questions. This is a healthy practice to build a relationship as well as improve your worthiness and credibility.
Look at your reputation report
After having done all of these, it is time to look at your reputation report. Do the following:
- Google your name and find out if it conveys the right information
- Identify negative comments and sort it out quickly
- Assess your growth over a specific duration and reflect on the success/failure rate
- Revisit the branding strategy
- Study if your existing audience can help you build your audience for the future
Bonus: Spy your competitors (secretly)
This last section is a bonus and a PRO trick!
Sometimes, it is okay to spy your competitors and find out their branding techniques. Following this activity, you can either alter your existing strategy or directly duplicate their strategy.
You can get considerable success by following this tip!