By Priya Sarkar with KS Ramanan
OK, so we are assuming that you have the basic elements of building your personal brand in place by now; you’ve done a reality check, created your roadmap, double-checked your competency, brushed your communications…. And you’re all set to run!
But, your brand is as good as how you market it. Correct that; building your personal brand is all about marketing it, else it’s not a brand. You may have all that it takes and can happily hide your light under a bushel, but then it’s not a ‘brand’. The American Marketing Association defines marketing as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”
So, you see your brand effectively gets built only when marketed, and that’s why we have a full article devoted to it!!
What do you want out of marketing?
When you envision a brand for yourself, ask the question what you want marketing to do for you…
- Will it get you ready recall? This is the single largest reason to market yourself or your brand. In a world abounding with a million choices, you want your offerings to be noticed and remembered. So, apply this filter to any marketing tactic that you want to use and you will know if it’s the right one.
- Will it enhance your credibility? There is marketing and there is marketing…. For gimmicks, for publicity, for recall, for credibility and a hundred other reasons. All of them are right and valid, but if it does not serve the purpose closest to your brand promise, it may not be worth much.
- Will it help you commercially? If you want to monetize your personal brand, marketing is an important way to do it. So, go for the right kind of marketing that gets you customers, clients etc..
- Will it bring an emotional connect or loyalty? Don’t ask this question early on in your journey… this phase happens some way down, so looking for this at the wrong time may be doing yourself a disservice.
How do you market your brand?
Now, this is tricky! Unlike a commodity, it’s a little sketchy how you ‘market’ a personal brand that may not be commercial in the strict sense. If you are running your own enterprise or have a bespoke brand, you could have a logo or a visual identity and a bunch of marketing material. But, what if you simply want to create a distinctive identity for yourself or establish your credentials strongly with your audiences?
Then here are a few marketing avenues for you –
- Seek out ‘image-appropriate’ opportunities: depending on who or where you are, find the platforms that give you the right visibility. If it is at the think-tank meeting of your company, or at a conference that caters to your area of expertise or a media platform where you can be seen and heard with the right people in your field, you need to zero in on these opportunities where your presence ‘markets’ you!
- Create a strong social media presence: using the right social media platforms in the right way can really help you spread your brand further and easier. Your social media presence is not just about holiday pics and smart one-liners but about sharing views and ideas that complement your personal brand.
- Work your network: word-of-mouth endorsements work wonders for you. This is non-paid marketing, and if you can get people in your network to recommend you or speak highly of your skills and attributes, you are in a strong space!
- Create your signature style: Seldom does a signature style fail to generate quick recall. It could be a font or format you typically use, it could be a little squiggle or graphic you use to sign off, could be distinctive colors you use in your materials or even your dress, characteristic greeting, anything that begins to stand for you and you get remembered by.
Read further >>> Using content marketing to build your brand
What marketing do’s and don’ts to watch out for?
- Marketing needs to be used carefully and considerately. Be there, but not ‘in-your-face’. Being selective in your ‘appearances’ makes you more sought-after. Being every place, every time, all the time may NOT be a very good idea!
- In due course you will learn to pick and choose the most impactful forums, where a little goes a long way; target these.
- Be consistent. Don’t be so whimsical in your style or your content or your appearances that you become erratic. Being erratic is equivalent to being unreliable.
- Know your audiences. It may be the same brand, but different strokes resonate with different folks. So, tweak your message and medium accordingly, else there could be ‘brand recoil’ versus brand recall!
- Quality of material and punctuality, responsiveness and respectfulness in all interactions will always win the day.
- Your brand effectively gets built only when marketed!
- Zeroing in on what you want out of marketing will help you determine your best medium.
- Effective marketing requires careful thought to frequency, consistency and audiences.
Coming up next week: K S Ramanan’s illustrative true-life account of a leader who is publicity-shy and what this is doing to his Brand!