August 8, 2011
Have you ever tried to hammer a nail with the heel of your shoe? I did once, when I was a kid and didn’t have a hammer handy. It can be done, but I can assure you, it’s difficult – very, very difficult. So too is trying to build a business without branding yourself.
So, what exactly is personal branding?
In essence, personal branding is the process by which business people differentiate themselves by identifying and effectively articulating what makes them different or unique from their competitors – what makes them stand out from the crowd – a sort of personal USP (Unique Selling Proposition), if you will. This is especially important if you’re a service provider in a competitive field.
Why is personal branding so important?
Because if you don’t stand out from the crowd, that means you’re just like everyone else – a white jelly bean in a jar full of white jelly beans. And if you’re just like everyone else, why should customers or clients choose you over your competitors? Answer: They shouldn’t, and they probably won’t!
Using myself as a real-life example, let me illustrate the importance of personal branding, and how it can make you stand out in a crowded field.
My name, “David Jackson” is a relatively common name. To make matters worse, there are many other David Jackson’s with business websites who have been online a lot longer than I have and are far more established.
But if you type “david jackson marketing” into Google without the quotation marks, I rank at the #1 position out of nearly 3 million pages. And if you just type in the name “david jackson” without the quotation marks. I rank #4 out of over 42 million pages. That didn’t happen by accident. That happened because I was relentless in establishing my personal brand.
When I created my website 3 years ago, my #1 objective was to have people associate my name with marketing – consistently solid marketing advice and quality marketing articles. And I was relentless in pursing that objective. Mission accomplished, but I’m not resting on my laurels.
Today, I’m just as relentless in trying to hold on to my top Google ranking. The numerous published articles on my site, as well as top authority sites keeps me highly visible, as well as provide the search engine spiders with plenty of fresh, quality, relevant nourishment.
And what are the overall results of all my hard work? Well, because of my personal branding efforts, I’m so busy with my consulting business, I’m actually turning clients away. Such is the power of personal branding and relentless execution.
Following are 5 profitable reasons why you should establish your personal brand:
1. Gain Expert Status
Without branding yourself, people will not perceive you as an expert. You will simply be another carnival barker in a sea full of carnival barkers. Branding yourself will give you expert status (provided, of course, you really are an expert) – and a much bigger megaphone.
2. Credibility and Trust
With the advent of the Internet and the world-wide dominance of Google, nowadays, as a business person, you are pretty much your Google search results. Let’s face it, any responsible person considering doing business with you is going to do their due diligence and search for information about you online to see if you’re legitimate and trustworthy. And if they can’t find you, or have a hard time finding you in Google’s universe, guess who’s going to get their business?
That’s right, if your competitors are more visible than you are in the search results, the perception will be, they’re more professional and trustworthy than you are. That means they’re going to get the business you could be getting. The best way to prevent that from happening is to effectively establish your personal brand – stand out in the crowd.
3. Gain An Edge On Your Competition
Earlier, I described personal branding as “the process by which business people differentiate themselves by identifying and effectively articulating what makes them different or unique from their competitors – what makes them stand out from the crowd – sort of a personal USP (Unique Selling Proposition).”
I also said, “If you don’t stand out from the crowd, that means you’re just like everyone else – a white jelly bean in a jar full of white jelly beans. And if you’re just like everyone else, why should customers or clients choose you over your competitors?”
Well, by effectively establishing your personal brand, you automatically become a black jelly bean in a jar full of white jelly beans. You stand out!
4. Increase Your Value
Establishing your personal brand will increase your perceived value and give you the ability to charge higher fees – provided, of course, you’re good at what you do. This will automatically increase your income. And if you are really good at what you do and your clients are satisfied, they will refer you to other clients. Higher fees, satisfied clients and referrals…This personal branding thing is sounding better all the time, isn’t it?
5. Gain Confidence
As you become more and more successful because of your personal branding efforts, you will also become more confident. This confidence will be obvious to everyone who comes into contact with you, including potential clients who will be magnetically attracted to you because of your confidence.
In closing, I didn’t write this article to teach you “how” to brand yourself. I wrote it to educate you on “why” you should brand yourself. If you want to learn how to brand yourself, there are personal branding experts far more qualified than I who can teach you about personal branding. One of the absolute best is Dan Schwabel (PersonalBrandingBlog.com).
There are also some excellent books on the subject. Two of my favorites are You Are a Brand!: How Smart People Brand Themselves for Business Success by Catherine Kaputa and The 10Ks of Personal Branding: Create a Better You by Kaplan Mobray.
David Jackson is a marketing consultant and the owner of Free-Marketing-Tips-Blog.com – Powerful, free marketing tips to help grow your business! http://free-marketing-tips-blog.com