Branding is about “expressing your authentic self to your target audience”. It’s not about being famous; it’s about being visible to your target market.
To figure out what your brand is you need to establish these three things:
Define who you are. To begin the branding process you need to have a clear sense of who you are.
Spot your target audience. The key is to promote yourself to the right people.
Get to know your competitors. To have a strong brand, you need to know what your competitors are saying and doing within your market niche.
Defining your brand is the first step to creating a business model. You must first build a personal branding guideline that aligns with your core values and objective goals in order to place them into your business model. Ask yourself these questions: What is my vision for the company? What am I putting out onto the market? Who am I trying to reach? By answering these questions you can establish your brand and complete the early stages of brand management. Firstly, you need to be aware of your capabilities and your potentiality along with your how you can interpret them into your product or service. Your strengths will be your sales points.
In addition to that, you need to get a grasp onto what your weaknesses are. Understanding exactly where the gaps are in your particular skill sets is just as important to the creation of your brand identity. Once you have articulated your flaws, you can begin bridging those gaps. This will benefit you and your company by polishing your problem solving skills and potential conflict resolution. You have to recognize your worth as an individual before you can take on the role of a successful business owner. Know who you are, know what you bring to the table, and sell, sell, sell. If you believe that you can accomplish the goals that you have set for your business, then you are already on your way.
Try to connect with your target audience as a trusted source to solve their problems. Conduct industry research on the specific demographic of people that look for the product or services that you provide. Use LinkedIn as a tool to network with other business professionals in your industry along with mentors. Learn what kind of customers or clients that they cater to, and use this as a stepping stool to boost your business reach. Be empathetic to your target market’s needs and connect with them on a personal level. This process brings trust to your brand and trust brings loyalty.
With your newfound network, try to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Don’t try to be like everyone else. Find out what your target market needs and wants and what your competitors aren’t providing. Deliver on those skills, unique to your work experience, life experience, and personal characteristics that your competitors don’t have. Be the bright red dot in a sea of white.
Your brand is more fragile than you may imagine, so you need to be vigilant in maintaining it. One major mistake, especially one you handled poorly, and all you’ve built will vanish.