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Personal Branding 101: How Healthy is Your Personal Brand?

Everyone has a personal brand – whether they realize it or not. A brand isn’t something that you decide to create… it just exists. Your brand can be defined simply as “what your market thinks of you.” When it comes to branding, perception is reality. Wal-Mart may not actually have the cheapest products on the market – but their brand says that they do. Rolex may not actually make the highest-quality timepieces – but most of their market thinks that they do.

The question I want you to ask yourself today is simple: does your brand represent you properly? Does it position you in the best possible light? Are you happy with the state of your personal brand… or does it need a makeover?

To help you get a more accurate sense of how you and your business are perceived by your market, below is a short series of diagnostic questions. If possible, ask some of your trusted customers or clients to answer them. If that’s not possible, seek input from business associates, as well as friends and family that know your business. You may be surprised to learn that your brand is perceived differently than you expected!

Five questions to ask:

1) Describe my personality in one word.
2) Describe my approach to business in one word.
3) What sets me apart from my competition?
4) What are the three best reasons to do business with me?
5) What are the top three benefits of my products or services?

Now that you’ve gathered this data, take a look. Overall, do your results match your expectations? Are you satisfied that your audience perceives you in the way that you want them to?

Specifically, have the key elements of your personality that you want to emphasize been communicated? Has your audience picked up on your intensity, your attention to detail, or whatever the case may be?

Have you communicated your points of differentiation properly? This is arguably the most important factor when it comes to personal branding – separating your business from your competition in the minds of your audience. We often refer to this as creating a “category of one” – differentiating your business so effectively that nobody else is truly competing for the same share of the market.

Finally, have the benefits of doing business with you, including the specific benefits of your products and services, been communicated accurately? In order to gain a new client or customer, you must make an argument as to WHY the consumer should choose you. The answers to questions four and five should give you an idea as to whether these arguments have been clearly communicated.

If this exercise has helped you to determine that your branding efforts are on the right track, congratulations, and keep up the good work!

On the other hand, if you’ve discovered that you and your business aren’t being perceived in the way that you want to be, don’t panic. A personal brand is a living, breathing entity – and you can change the way you are perceived with time. If you’d like to learn more, or if you’d like help with this process, please get in touch with me today!

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