Wednesday, November 1, 2017

What is Your Brand?

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you're not in the room.” - Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon. Mr. Bezos' quote expresses the truth about branding. It's about personal connections and human emotions. Good branding increases the value of your company, and makes acquiring new customers easier. So, let's discuss how to create and promote your brand...
Your brand represents the sum of people’s perception of your customer service, reliability and reputation. Branding yourself means to develop a unique professional identity and message that sets you apart from others in your industry. Building a brand helps you to create trust with your target market, and it helps to create loyalty so your customers continue to keep coming back and provide referrals. Since your brand is in the eyes of others, you must promote and portray your brand in the way that is easy for them to understand, and how you want to be known and remembered. Here are the 4 things that are most important to your prospects and customers:

Who are you?
Your brand starts with you since it is you. Start by taking an objective personal inventory. We all think we know ourselves pretty well. However, a personal inventory is an essential step in building your brand. Start with your passions: What makes you want to dig deep to deliver? What are your talents? What areas don’t interest you? Where are you weak? Understanding what you are best at is understanding you and your brand. Then, you should be able to briefly introduce yourself in layman's terms, not with business titles and terms, so it's easy for others to understand. As for me, "I am an information technology consultant with my own company, Princeton Technology Advisors".

What do you do?
While “What do you do?” may seem synonymous with “Who are you?”, it really is more of the next step of defining your brand. So, the answer must be different. Most people respond to that question with what’s printed on their business card. Starting with your job title can be presumptuous because it tells the other person that you assume s/he knows what it means. That person may not. Instead of defining yourself by your role, do so in terms of how your role impacts the others: Your clients. That does a better job of opening the door to a conversation. For me, I say, “I provide information technology solutions and training to small business and non-profit organizations with little or no in-house technology resources.”

Why is what you do important to others?
In the end, you may be working to serve your own needs. To that end, and to be successful, you need to serve others. You need to demonstrate to your clients that you provide what they could not provide for themselves. You need to define for your clients the types problems you understand uniquely well, and the solutions you can deliver uniquely well. What I offer that is important is, "I help make it easy for you to understand the meaning and value of the technology your organization needs".

Promote Your Brand
Once you create your brand you need to build and promote it. You should be writing, teaching and speaking about your areas of expertise on a regular basis. Write articles for professional journals, social media sites and blog sites. Speaking and teaching engagements are opportunities to be seen and heard. Start small and keep building. You may not land high-quality engagements immediately. But if you keep at it, you'll build your following and get invited to speak at bigger and more notable venues. People will begin to develop the confidence that you are the expert they must engage with if you write, teach and speak about your areas of expertise.

Show your audience that you have expertise in your field and that you are willing to share your knowledge with them for their benefit. Then, people will be saying wonderful things about you when you are not in the room.

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