Who needs a personal brand? Everyone.
The good news is, you’re already well on your way.
Whether or not you realize it, you’ve already got a personal brand. People have formed perceptions about you and your business based on your presence, positioning, offerings, and behaviors. But is it the image you want to be portraying? Is it working for you?
Today’s increasingly competitive landscape is forcing brands to take a closer look at themselves and discover fresh, creative ways to earn hard-won trust and to stay relevant.
The people have spoken and they’ve done so with their purchasing power. The mass market has chosen direct contact and more personal connections built on emotion & trust over broadcast marketing and one-size-fits-all offerings. They crave real connection, not faceless transactions.
Trusted, mighty brands are built around a framework of authenticity. Infusing your personality into your brand supplies it with the emotional resonance and response you need to stay ahead of the game and stand out in a today’s over-crowded marketplace.
I call this Persona(l) Branding. It’s about putting the persona in personal as you build your matchless individualism into your brand.
So how do you use your persona(l) brand to develop a trustworthy business?
9 Keys to Building a Trustworthy Brand
That’s a term I made up awhile ago to fill a Dictionary void. I was never able to identify just the right word to describe the act of engaging in unadulterated authenticity. But now, there it is.
Each of us comes into this life with a set of intrinsic gifts. Along the way, events and experiences shape our perceptions. This unique combination of circumstances are part and parcel of our mission. And they comprise our most valuable asset — our own, one of a kind persona.
True confidence is born of authenticity. You know it, customers know it. You just can’t fake originality. Confident brands have a subtle, yet distinct swagger. They know what they do and how to do it well.
Work to maintain a healthy level of poise that’s proud, not boastful. Everything about your brand should ooze with confidence, because if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will either.
Everything you do has an ‘end-game’ result in mind, and your right people know this. While you don’t have to broadcast your agenda, don’t mask or try to divert attention from it, especially when you’re asked directly. It feels disingenuous and makes people give pause. Honesty is always the best policy and the baseline of all truth.
Customers need to know that you genuinely have their best interests at heart. That you care about their results. They need to understand and believe that you aren’t in it for the money or the status, but rather for the real desire to serve. How are you showing concern for your right people?
Accountability provides instant credibility. When you put your name and face on your brand, not only does it feel more personal, you become culpable. People know they can count on you to live up to your promises and deliver.
Create a communication portal thats as easy to find as it is to use. Your contact information should be displayed prominently on every page of your website, blog and social media. It shouldn’t take people more than a few seconds to figure out how to get in touch with you.
Stay connected. Make yourself available to answer questions, receive compliments, and address criticisms. Unanswered queries run the risk of creating their own assumptions. And they might not be the ones you want out there.
The greater the longevity, the more stable you appear and the more confident people tend to feel about working with you. But credibility isn’t just the amount of time you’ve been around, it’s about how consistently you’ve adhered to your core values and promises during your tenure as a brand. Reliability and a sense of predictability add a layer of comfort to potential clients. How persistent are you when it comes to living core values?
What do you bring to the table? Consider both your hard skills and your soft skills. Being able to understand and articulate your experience and how it relates to your offerings is paramount when iterating the unique value of your personal brand.
Creating value today means something far more than providing a superior product. It also includes the entirety of the experience with the brand. Your business is tethered to the emotional response consumers have when they think about your offerings. Everything you do should be shrouded in quality and excellence, because when it comes to your one, precious brand- only the best will do.
Despite what you may have heard, past performance is an indicator of future results. Meet your right people head-on with positivity laced, mutually beneficial offerings that fill a void in the marketplace. Something that addresses their goals and pain-points, offering just the right combination of quality, value and reward.
A proven track record speaks volumes. Producing exquisite results will earn you a long list of happy customers and brand evangelists. In this emotionally driven economy, third party endorsements are far more impactful than your own first party advertisements. You earn these recommendations by having a brand worth bragging about. Sprinkle your brand seeds in the right fields and others will help cultivate them.
Brands become and stay emotionally relevant when driven by endorsements vs. advertisements. Try as you might, you cannot advertise your way to success. Direct efforts wield their own weight, but to create truly powerful messages that pack a punch, you’ll need some third party endorsements. Some good PR. When a current or former client endorses your work, they’re putting their own name on the line. The confidence they place in the brand tells a story all its own.
Ultimately, a brand is perception, and to a prospective customer, that perception is reality. There’s no better way to be believable than to be who and what you are. Live your truth and the trust will follow. Personal branding is no exception.
What are the pillars of your personal brand? Have you experienced the power of persona? I’d love to hear your story in the comments.