How To Develop Your Own Personal Brand
The next time you go shopping for groceries at your favourite retailer (whoever that might be) use the opportunity to have a good look around and to see what products in the shop really, really stand out and are instantly recognisable. One product that has a brand identity that will not change and will probably never decline and fade away is the instantly identified Heinz Baked Beans tin with its distinctive colour, type face and prominent place on the shelf; consumers instantly know what the product is and what it represents. It has a unique and instantly identified presence.
All strong brands boast the three Cs: Clarity, Consistency, and Constancy. These brands deliver on their brand promise every day with everything they do, and they are constantly visible to their target audience — the people who are making decisions about them. Heinz beans are quality amongst their rivals and whilst not being the cheapest offer attract huge numbers of loyal customers.
The three Cs help you express your personal brand with confidence and energy, so you want to be sure to build them into your communications plan.
Clarity: Crafting a clear message
Strong brands are clear about who they are and who they are not. Achieving clarity is often the hardest part of the communications plan because you may have a hard time deciding what you stand for, especially early in your career. Clarity comes from understanding and embodying your unique promise of value.
Often, the clearer your stand, the more enemies you will have. What holds many people back from taking a stand is knowing that some people will not like them or agree with them. But strong brands have a clear message, and you need to have the courage to communicate yours.
Having a clear message doesn’t give you permission to act in an unprofessional or unethical manner but it does mean that you clearly communicate your message and stick to it. This can be a very empowering process as you become clear about what you stand for rather than being blown in different, often conflicting, directions.ss
Consistency: Presenting the same message every time
When you are clear about your message, you want to deliver the message consistently no matter what communication method you use. Every time you send your message, it needs to be perceived in the same way.
Politicians and famous actors do this particularly well, crafting their image so that they become instantly identifiable and so that they present themselves in a standard manner. Your clothing, your words, your tone of voice, the graphics you use in your written communications . . . all these items can help you send a consistent message, so it is essential to consider all of these things and build them into your personal message. Never soil with inconsistency.
Constancy: Designing a plan so that people hear your message frequently
Strong brands are visible to their target markets so you need to make sure that you stay visible regularly. Customers and contacts are fickle people and their attention will quickly move on when you suddenly become less visible, or even invisible to them! It is not good enough to simply think that people will remember you – they won’t!
Developing and then delivering on your communications plan helps you stay visible to your target markets. This can take a number of different paths perhaps starting with a well-designed email letter or update sent out regularly BUT this has to stand out from the mass of emails that your customers and contacts will receive. Another option might be to become a serial blogger and get your presence out that way.
You must find a medium that works for you but one that you enjoy taking part in; consistent messages take time so you need to have a real passion for using your communication channel as once you start using it any failure to continue with it results in limited consistency. People’s attention will move on and you are back to the beginning of the process again.
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