If you sell a service, chances are you are wasting your time and money on marketing, but you can make it work by knowing the vital 3 factors that build a personal brand so you can stand out and become well known, well paid & wanted.
If a brand is an asset for a business, making it instantly recognisable as different from others, promising something others don’t, then surely it’s the same for a person.
Donald Trump once said “ A business without a brand is just a commodity” and that’s why, if you are sick of blending in and looking like every other consultant, coach, mentor or agent, ‘branding yourself’ as a professional service provider is vital.
You are ‘selling the invisible’ so last thing you need is to disappear into a sea of providers who all look the same.
In business it’s the 3 P’s of people, process and product. Branding for people is all about the 3 R’s.
Becoming recognised as the go-to specialist in your niche, makes it simple to naturally attract the right clients without having to convince anyone. It’s the same as the Nike tick everyone can identify, even without the brand name. Or the McDonalds brand where kids only need to see one hint of the golden arches and they ask to stop for fries.
Your personal brand is more than just being recognised in the street, it's about the brand personality and brand culture you infuse into everything you do.
Strong personal brands like Richard Branson who once said “I’ll try anything once” has a reputation as Mr Yes. His brand is positive, innovative, risk taking. He attracts entrepreneurs who admire and uphold these brand values for themselves.
His personal brand flows over into the entire brand culture at Virgin. He is recognised as Mr Yes, always open to innovation and ideas. It would be very odd if suddenly he started to become overtly risk averse and having analysis paralysis.
Your personal brand is about the brand personality and culture you infuse into everything you do.
The human brain likes what it knows and having a consistent personal brand is vital to generate a recognised and trusted brand, especially in a very cluttered space. In the 1970’s the human brain was being exposed to about 500 branded images each day, that’s closer to 5,000 today, so you need to be instantly recognised to even be seen.
The Amygdala or fear centre of the brain relaxes when it recognises a familiar face, but kicks into high alert if something is out of place, so make sure you have a consistent message and a brand story that’s easily re-tellable. It might be boring to you, but for your prospects, it’s possibly the first time they really noticed it.
Decide today, what do you want to be instantly known and recognised for?
Jeff Bezos of Amazon suggests that “your personal brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”. When it comes to providing a professional service, reputation is everything. It sets you apart and defines the kind of referrals you get.
Given that word of mouth is your best form of marketing, because it’s free, 3rd party endorsement that lasts forever and spreads like wildfire, you need to be clear about what you want people to say about you. Don’t rely on assumption here, use words to describe yourself that can be easily repeated.
What do you want others to say about you? Have you given your raving fans the right words?
The content in the about section of your social media and on your website should explain who you help and what you do for them, providing a brand story to share.
What is your personal brand story?
The human brain loves a story, it's the most natural way to to share information, knowing the story will be retained and retold to others. What is your brand story? What is the start, middle and end? What lesson do you want people to learn from it?
When you think about what you’d like to be wanted for, what comes to mind first?
A personal brand sets your ‘trust currency’ because the level of respect people have for your expertise correlates directly with how much they are prepared to pay for your services.
We are living in the age of the authentic brand and you must deliver what you promise, in fact over delivering is even better! Even Queen Elizabeth, who has made her share of poor publicity decisions, still has global respect, in fact she once said “I have to be seen to be believed” because of the respected and almost daunting aura of her personal brand.
What are you actively doing to create and generate respect for your brand?
We are living in the age of the authentic brand, you must deliver what you promise.
Writing books, sharing podcasts and video blogging are all helpful ways to earn respect, however the #1 thing you can do is follow the lead of strong personal brands like Gary Vaynerchuk who are constantly giving. Gary once asked his audience why they thought he gave away valuable advice and tips… He said of course it is “because I am building a brand”.
Consciously give your advice, tips, tools to others, speak at events, post helpful comments in Facebook groups, share action steps in LinkedIn articles, post how do videos on YouTube.
The biggest mistake professional service providers make when they think about personal branding, is that they should focus on promoting themselves, rather than promoting the transformation they deliver for their clients.
Let’s get 100% clear, personal branding is not about how much you know, it’s about how much you know about your ideal prospect.
As a human you are expected to know what’s going on inside the head of your prospect, but consumer behaviour is not one of the subjects real estate agents, travel agents, mortgage brokers, insurance salespeople or business mentors and coaches are told to learn.
The most important topic service providers should understand is why people buy from you.
Neurobranding takes it a step further and studies how the brain sees brands showing you how to naturally engage with your prospect and use the influence of the three R’s - recognition, reputation and respect.
The 3 R's of Personal Branding: Recognition, Reputation & Respect
The brain interacts with brands using memory and emotion. The decision making centre of the brain recalls of how you felt last time you saw a brand, directing your attention and influencing a buying desire.
You don’t drink a Coke because you are thirsty, you drink it because it’s a socially acceptable beverage, it’s fun, it’s lively. Why do you think this, because all of their advertising has been constantly telling you with it’s images of people gathering, having fun and being sociable while drinking Coke.
Bank brands create emotions of stability and reliability, Real Estate brands feature happy families, excited new home-owners and comfortable retirees, Insurance brands either play on the emotion of fear or the desire for safety.
What emotion does your brand generate?
How do you want people to feel once they’ve interacted with your brand?
The human brain, albeit a complex mechanism, really does want things simple. The confused mind will not buy, so make it easy for your prospects to choose you.
There are only three things the brain wants to know when it interacts with your personal brand, before it will buy your services.
It doesn’t want to know how long you’ve been in business, what qualifications you have, how many clients you look after or even what you charge.
It wants to know, like and trust you.
Lauren Clemett is the Best Selling Author of the “SELLING YOU” series of practical guidebooks Know Me, Like Me & Trust Me. She is a personal branding specialist and award winning Neurobrander, helping service providers and consultants generate more income from their expertise. For more information Click Here.
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