|When I speak on reputation management and personal branding, I enjoy telling audiences that as much as I wish the topic were highly sophisticated and complex, personal branding is relatively simple. There are no tricky formulas or graphs. In fact, I share one graphic (the formula to building credibility) and very few statistics.
While personal branding might be simple, it is not easy. The journey to uncover your values, create a strategy for positioning yourself, and sticking to those values at all costs is sometimes challenging.
Here are my simple ABCs for building a meaningful and impactful personal brand:
The foundation of personal branding rests on authenticity: The ability to tap into your genuine, humble, and individual human qualities from which your identity, personality, and character stem. Most of us walk around without much thought to being “authentic.” We expect that others will take us as they see us. Some of us even boast, “What you see is what you get!”
But is it? Are you living authentically — using your values, beliefs, and dreams guide you? Are you letting others know you — truly know you — or are you hiding behind a shield of appropriateness and conformity?
By understanding and exploring your passions, interests, motivators, and challenges, you can better articulate your value to the audiences who need to see you as relevant. The goal is to have control over the brand you live, how it’s expressed, and how others assign you value and relevance. Authenticity is the critical component to developing successful personal and business brands that have longevity.
Personal branding is the process of articulating your value proposition to a target audience and building a compelling reputation. In order to effectively develop and communicate a solid personal brand, we need to know who we are, how we want to be perceived, who we need to focus our efforts towards, and what results we expect to receive. These are all important ingredients in this personal branding formula. Leave one out and it just doesn’t work the same way. Holding yourself accountable can be a very daunting task! Living up to someone else’s expectations is often easier – there are consequences to not following through. But we can easily let ourselves off the hook when it’s convenient to do so. Put reward/consequence systems in place to keep yourself accountable and stay on track.
In personal branding we strive to make ourselves relevant and compelling to a specific target audience — and that’s not everyone! Not everyone you work with or network with will get your jokes, find you compelling, or feel good about you. Targeting those clients, customers, and stakeholders who will find you relevant is critical and cuts down on your marketing efforts!
If your goal is to win over a colleague who insists on holding on to their first impression of you, when you were naive and unaware of your personal brand goals (and maybe you made some mistakes in how you treated others), realize that some people will never come around. Instead, focus on building brand relevance with audiences who hold opportunities for you (i.e. your supervisor, clients, vendors, key staff) and not on people who are harder to win over and have little influence on your future.
While authenticity is at the heart of personal branding, in order to develop your own unique identity, you first must identify the genuine traits, skills, and values that make you compelling. It starts with understanding your values: What bold promises will you uphold? What do you stand for? What is so core to your moral and ethical fiber that if it were removed you would not be you? How do your values set the expectation others can have for you? Only after you understand your bold values can you begin to market yourself effectively to the audience who most needs you.
Focusing on what genuinely makes you unique allows you to grow your brand from a place of strength, while understanding and managing weaknesses. At the heart of effective brand development is clarity on your beliefs – practicing what you preach; being totally clear about who you are, what you stand for, and what you do best. Not everyone wants to be a leader, a resource for others, or a team player. That’s okay!
Only after a critical and honest assessment of your foundational beliefs can you begin to map the distance between how you want to be known (desired reputation) and how you are known today (current reputation). Only with this understanding can you begin building the legacy you desire. The discovery process is very internal and introspective, but when you start from the core, you develop a brand that sticks – because it’s genuine and compelling.
People form opinions about us based on many things – their own biases and prejudices, as well as our behavior. How we act influences how others see us. And how others see us affects the opportunities we get assigned. In personal branding, we take control of our reputation (perception) in order to craft and manage our legacy. How do you want to be seen by others who matter (your audience)? What will it take to make that perception reality? How are you behaving in person and online.
The person who seeks to be known as approachable needs to be approachable — they leave their office door open, have good eye contact, and include others in the conversation. Similarly, the person who seeks to be known as credible backs up their bold value statements with action. Behavior is where we put action to our beliefs. Or not…
I mentioned the one formula in my program: The formula for credibility. It is really quite simple: Credibility = Values + Action. You need to make it very clear to your target audience what it is that makes you special; what it is that you value and believe in that are truly assets to your personal brand.
Then you need to walk the talk. You need to live those values in everything that you do in order to earn credibility. If you want to be known as honest and that’s something that you really value, then you’re going to demonstrate honesty. You’re going to be honest. You’re going to attract honesty and transparency. After doing this, you will earn credibility and a reputation for someone who is honest.
Your personal narrative is the way you communicate, internally and externally about your value. If you’re filled with fear and self-doubt, that undoubtedly is reflected in how you come across to others. Becoming aware of how you promote and communicate your passions and values directly impacts how others will appreciate you.
Do you use the wrong narrative when talking to others (or yourself) about your plans and your vision? Maybe the reason people see you as difficult to get along with is because you complain about your work day, instead of celebrating the fact that you have a job and are contributing to the organization? We can easily look outward to find reasons and excuses for missed opportunities and to explain our shortcomings, but it could also be we’re telling the wrong message in the first place.
In branding, we drive towards legacy – the reputation we create for ourselves today and the way we will be remembered by clients, patients, colleagues, and our community a long time from now. We pay attention to how our actions, marketing, relationships, and products reflect our values and our vision.
Across all mediums — from in-person networking to social media, from body language to image to your messaging and elevator pitch — are you consistently articulating your value and demonstrating action towards that value. That is how you build consistency for your personal brand.
Acknowledgement lida360.com ( I is Lida a world authority on Personal Branding )
2. Fill the compete profile – About page, Cover photo, Profile Pic ..etc
a. Try to write a good introduction and make sure that you used good set
of keywords (SEO TIP)
b. Contact info is a must
c. Links to the website and other channels as well.
3. Search for your competitors pages or pages similar to you. Analyse them.
4. Search for your industry influencers. Add them or follow them. It is a way to
let them know that you are present in google plus. If required say hello.
5. Important and useful point is google plus pages can participate in google plus
6. Search and join relevant communities of your industry and be active.
7. Google plus page can even start a community. Having a community of your
own and making sure valuable conversations to happen can be a good reason
to improve your visibility across your industry and brand value.
8. Make sure to do atleast one post a day.
9. They say, Pictures speaks 1000 words. I say picture with a caption or a note
speak exactly what you want that picture to speak.
10. Associate your other social networks accounts with google plus in links
section in profile page.
11. Go to settings page and customise the tabs you would like to have in your
12. Google plus had a benefit, you can customise to whom you are sharing a
13. Another important feature, hashtags. We already know a lot about hashtags.
Google plus has another perk with hashtags. It automatically adds few more
hashtags which it feels related to the post and the author of the post can
always edit them. It is called ‘Related hashtags’.
14. Similar to Twitter it also has trending hashtags.
15. Don’t forget to promote your google plus page through other social
sites like twitter and facebook.
16. Update Google plus cover photos regularly.
This information is more generalized rather than specific strategies for those industries named, but any industry can use the below information.
Increasing online presence of a brand is best done through a combination of social media and SEO. For the SEO side of things, your website should appear in the first search results for your brand name. To achieve this, you want to make sure that your website includes your brand name, as well as information about your brand and the services you provide. This is especially the case if your URL is not your brand name. Google may have a hard time figuring this information out so you will need to help out with content, title tags, etc. Incoming links to your site using your brand name will help out as well.
On other sites, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, etc make sure any company account or main employees are using your brand name and information about the brand in their bios.
Make use of other types of media. Don’t stick to textual content. Use images, videos, podcasts or webinars. Use videos and video sitemaps on your website.
If using YouTube make sure your YouTube channel has information about your brand included in it.
Sites like Slideshare can be used to create informative slides about your brand and services.
Use sites like Pinterest to pin images that may reflect your brands values or services – just don’t make it too branded – use images that would be interesting to a variety of people outside of your company.
Flickr can be used to house images of your offices, office parties, etc.
Use press releases to highlight important company achievements or new product/service offerings.
Guest post on popular sites in that industry to get your brand name out there and show you as an expert in the field.
Make use of Google + and the rel=me tag.
As far as SEA – I am not sure what you are referring to. Search Engine Advertising perhaps? Like PPC? If so,make sure you bid on your brand names and you may also want to look into bidding on competitor brand names and keywords.
Make sure your landing pages reflect the same look as your website, color, font, language, etc
The Benefits of Quality Content and Genuine Social Engagement
With every algorithm update, Google is making SEO more and more complex. The company has expressed its desire to improve the quality of their search results, filtering out spammers and content of lower relevance — but how that ‘relevance’ is determined is becoming increasingly difficult to understand to a definitive degree. The elements that are regularly highlighted by Google are ‘quality content’ and ‘genuine engagement’.
The issue with quality content is that it’s less scientific. Less certainty in the process means more research, more work and, ultimately, more investment to ensure best results for your online presence. This can be a frightening prospect for companies — you can’t just go…
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What The Best Brands Will Do In 2014
The pace of change, disruption, and fragmentation in many industries can sometimes overwhelm even the savviest and experienced of us. There is a very solid level of know-how and experience required to successfully drive marketing and brand strategies and to execute in excellence. Even more so in the future.
Let´s have a look at what I think the main focus areas and aspirations of successful brands will be in 2014:
Being Best in Product and Services Development and Delivery
At the heart of successful marketing and branding is – and also in 2014 and beyond will be- a great product and/or service creation and delivery. Successful brands, products, and services will have a higher level of personalization in order to become more relevant and meaningful to consumers. Besides rational features like quality, price, customer services, etc. the brand decision process will become more emotionally-driven. Strong brands will identify and communicate appropriate emotional values to differentiate themselves and to establish close bonds with consumers and customers. More than ever, and to actively engage today´s high-expectation consumers, brand will need to be more focused to develop products and offers which grow the whole category they´re operating in and not only their own products.
Being Best in Collaboration
In 2014 organizations and marketing managers need to quickly position themselves in this new open, and more collaborative economy. An economy characterized by speedy change and permanent disruption. On the one hand, brands from different industries will work more closely together. From R&D to joint marketing initiatives. On the other hand, the phenomenon of consumers co-creating content and products, and sharing ideas will continue to grow. For instance, Airbnb topped 10 million guest stays since its launch and now has 500k properties listed worldwide.
Being Best in Retail
Brands, being confronted with showrooming, e-commerce and cost-conscious, always connected consumers, need to make retail more relevant to consumers and customers by combining off- and online elements into one single multi-channel distribution strategy. They need to deliver direct brand-to-customer interaction with the help of innovative technology (e.g. touch screens, sensors, interactive cameras, Wi-Fi- and 4G-connectivity, LCD screens), by providing opportunities to experience products (see, feel, touch, smell, hear, taste) before and during the purchasing process, by providing easy-to-understand and stimulating product presentations and merchandising solutions, by offering expert staff, consultation facilities, samples, etc. Good examples are Nike, Wal-Mart, and Ikea.
Being Best in Communication
Content is king. That´s nothing new anymore. Still, many brands seem to confuse quantity and quality, since there exist so many exciting communication channels and platforms. Just writing up keyword rich blog posts and some articles don’t cut it anymore. Brands have to say something meaningful and insightful to customers while entertaining them at the same time.
There is a great need and opportunity to develop unique brand experiences that engage consumers deeply and comprehensively, that stimulates word of mouth, and that generates a lot of user-generated content. Further business impact will come from very targeted niche communities from co-operations with credible and influential brand advocates.
Utilizing storytelling techniques – while getting away from the transactional relationship – is a very powerful technique and will help to create a strong emotional bond with your customer. Storytelling, although one of the main business buzzwords in 2013, is nothing new and is very much at the core of every great brand´s DNA. Videos, pictures, and songs will become more dominant in the future. Working best they will be blended into one consistent story (e.g. P&G´s Proud Sponsor of Moms). Some weeks ago Instagram announced that it would join the visual playing field, alongside other messaging apps like Snapchat and WhatsApp to enable consumers to share personable moments. On top of being compelling, your content needs to do two things. One, create an emotional connection with your brand, and two, drive customers to action.
Speed and Spontaneousness will be crucial, too. Real-time communication and feedbacking means to interact and to respond quickly to any relevant occurrence, question, etc. Brands can use e.g. Twitter feeds during certain TV shows, sports events, etc to communicate live and instantly with existing and potential new customers. It will take planning, flexibility, humor, creativity, and courage.
Being Best in Using Customer-Focused Technology
Mobile technology and communication will become even more important. Already now half of all social interaction happens on mobile platforms. In consequence all brand communication must be designed based on a mobile-first perspective. Responsive design has almost become a basic requirement, and it’s important to tailor each piece of content to the device or channel where it will most likely be viewed by the consumer. Mobile technology will soon replace all other communication devices as the predominant means. No doubt, in 2014 we are going to see a huge increase in location-based marketing.
Other key technologies are Streaming and On-Demand media. They are rewiring the way consumers think and process information. People are getting used to having everything customized and delivered instantly, when and where they want it.
Also Cognitive Computing will further evolve, i.e. systems learning and interacting naturally with people. Rather than being programmed to anticipate every possible answer or action, cognitive systems are trained using artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to understand and to predict. Applying this to marketing will help managers to better understand and communicate with customers.
Being Best in Data-Driven Customer Experience and Customer Services
Big Data was one of another major buzzword in 2013 in many organizations around the globe. It´s a fact that with today´s technology we can collect, analyze, and process tons of (consumer) data to better understand consumption patterns, to evaluate commonalities and differences, to anticipate trends, and to identify new business and product opportunities. The real task, however, is to use all of these information – and by respecting possible and legitimate privacy concerns – in a way as to match them with real consumer wants and needs in order to improve the experience of your customers: e.g. new wearable devices likeSamsung´s Galaxy Smart Watch to improve personal health.
The key is not merely measuring what happened, but trying to predict future outcomes, i.e. to understand why and how it will play out in the future. Analytics have to go from passive to active.
Moreover, collected and stored data need to be used to establish personal, trustworthy, and – most importantly – respectful relationships with existing and new customers. Big data needs to to be seen as a vehicle to dramatically boost an organization´s customer obsession and not its capability to spy on consumers and customers. Companies must implement whichever needed security measures to avoid discussions like currently happening at Target.
Being Best in Corporate Social Responsibility
Companies clearly should make some 2014 resolutions to ensure their CSR and sustainability efforts start off on the right foot in the new year. While it’s more or less standard practice for companies to address the environmental and carbon impacts (e.g. resulting from their operations and products) time has come to take a closer look at how climate change (e.g. storms, floods, resources scarcity) could impact the company from the outside in and across their entire supply chain.
With the gradual depletion of many resources some organizations are e.g. intensively searching for novel alternatives to the materials currently used in their products. An evolution and necessity which will need to be more widely applied. One example is Nike which already some time ago has started to research for more sustainable textiles by partnering with the U.S. State Department, NASA, etc. Other good examples are Coca-Cola and Nestlé.
Leading brands will further stimulate employee engagement around CSR by having already started turning to gamification or micro-volunteerism to make engagement easy, fun and personalized. German airline Lufthansa has been running for some years a company-wide initiative called HelpAlliance which supports nearly 40 projects in 19. Responsibility for a project of this kind is always assigned to an employee of Lufthansa. These employees donate their free time to helping people in developing economies. In return they receive some support from the company for THEIR project.
Finally: The Need of Having the Right Organization, Processes, and People in Place
Misaligned organizational structures and processes often hinder the flow of information and know-how across across brand, marketing, and business goals. There needs to be a close integration between traditional marketing programs and digital initiatives on the one hand and between marketing and other departments on the other hand. As brand managers for the most part are responsible for the overall performance of a brand, and most recently also for an increasing volume of content and messaging, moving forward they should also have the digital marketing managers within their teams and having them report into brand management.Brands need more active senior leadership support and focus than ever. Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) are in an ideal position to help facilitate and advance these efforts.
There is also a strong need for an improved alignment and reorganization around agency selection and management. It is known that more traditional agencies often still lack digital expertise (which normally they would not admit). As a consequence brand marketers are managing not rarely various agencies at the same time. In the future this would need to be simplified and streamlined to improve efficiency and effectiveness of the marketing teams.
Last, but not least, when hiring for marketing and branding expertise, it is advised to look for a top technical skill set (e.g. candidates having a very solid marketing basis, first comprehensive digital branding and media experience) and core characteristics such as the ability to cross-communicate, to connect to business goals, to show strong backbone, to be willing to convince senior management to implement new methods, and to be willing to permanently learn and to constantly educate the business.
Marketing and branding in 2014 will require more than ever the integration of marketing into all business efforts and departments, including customer experience, design, sales, and product development.
CEO, Green Cheese Media Group, Inc., Sr. Partner Brand.gineering and Best-Selling Author
Actually, the future of communication for brands will be creating your own immersive content networks that use stories with theatrical/dramatic structure (The word “story” is so overused. Most of what I see is bad storytelling, not all stories are created equal) and those brands will start dominating over TV or media networks. Nobody cares about advertising and almost everything I see from most major brands is still a sales pitch with a very thin story. Smart brands will be sponsoring entire customer immersive affinity story-based networks.
North67 Internet Marketing
Definitely brand collaboration but to the next level. 2014 will see the continued growth of social collaboration. Successful brands will embrace their social followers not only from a customer service standpoint, but as part of their culture and desire to respond to new ideas. In other words “Know Thy Audience” and respond to your customers needs.
Brand Ambassador, Donna Karan at Saks Fifth Avenue
Andreas, will you say more about brand storytelling in 2014? To what degree do you think it will intersect CSR?1 Reply
Business Designer & Architect
2013 was the year of stabilisation. I expect to see new categories in 2014 and possibly the birth of a new organisation, which will have us all talking.1 Reply
PRSSA National Diversity and Ethics Subcommittee member/ Arrow Online Managing Editor/ I.P.Director at Riverfront PR
Agreed! I’ve been trying to think what will be the next big thing in terms of apps/software and it’s hard! I think one of the big companies – Google, Apple, IBM,Microsoft – will come up with something that will blow us away once more in 2014.
11 hours ago
Demand Generation and Digital Marketing Manager
Great article! I may be biased, but this seems to be the piece that will allow brands to really move the needle in 2014: “Being Best in Data-Driven Customer Experience and Customer Services”.
Contracts Administrator / Key Account Executive at Gulf Engineering Services Ltd
You’ve captured all the main aspects and i believe that having the right organisation, processes and people in place would definitely be an area of consideration this year as we see more organisations transforming through mergers and buy-outs.
Proven Sales & Marketing Leader | Optimizing Performances & Driving Growth
Thank you for sharing such a great article and thoughts Andreas as we are rapidly approaching 2014. Given the growing focus on the customer experience, we shall see the rise of the CXO (Chief Experience Officer) to lead the experience and further drive revenue. Also, in a more customer-centric world, real-time marketing (particularly conversations) will play an even bigger role to reinforce the customer experience. Last but not least, would you agree that big data will get smaller to enhance the customer experience? I am referring to using big data and data mining to get more personal (targeted) with customers (as compared to consumers) in ways that make the experience even better.
Financial Consultant at Hewlett-Packard
Great article. Bring them solutions that help to position them in achieving the exemplary attributes mentioned in this article. If you have customers who do business with these brands (or want to); help them by connecting the dots!
Senior Project Manager, Gov Healthcare Solutions at Xerox
Good one. Being best in retail – “deliver direct brand-to-customer interaction with the help of innovative technology” I think organization should be more and more mobile capable and focus more on branding and positioning using mobile advertisement and positioning.
Marketing with results
It is good that almost every industry is starting to adopt the best in retailing practices. Nobody likes a hard sell. People like to be consulted and to get advice. Even car dealerships are starting to pay salaries and no commissions and this goes down to more comfortable buying experiences and less likely to scare a consumer away. Being best in communication is not just about storytelling anymore. It is about cross senses communicating. People want to hear and not just read about the product. If they can go somewhere and see the product along with a desciption and hear something as well it is even better. The more senses you can engage the better the sales will be. Social Media should be utilized in a big way and not just to get your name out there. Social Media polls, and comment sections that are actually read and responded to when appropriate all bring about better experiences. Company’s should monitor the media regularly. Too many allow vulgar comments to be put up on social media sites and just allowed to sit there. This is a big turn off and makes a site less friendly. Consumer comments can impact a facebook post or linkedin post just as much as the initlal post/article can. Personally, i think all public comments should be moderated before appearing to everyone is a must. If you do not have the time to edit your posts than you do not have the right organization/process in place.1 Reply
Marketing VP/CMO, Agency Strategist, Growth Catalyst
Good insight, but as a former CMO I see a different challenge ahead. Over the past 5 years, marketing leaders have been deluged in learning how to shift their focus from selling cycles to buying cycles. We’ve implemented content marketing, drip campaigns, WOM, lead nurturing, etc. — all geared toward “helping people buy” instead of traditional selling. The problem? The rest of the C-Suite hasn’t been attending the same shows, reading the same books, or watching the same Webinars. The result is a disconnect as the C-Suite still expects Marketing to execute e-blasts, sales promotions, and self-serving PR to support the Sales organization in “making the numbers.”
CEO at TransgressiveX
Interesting article – thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. In a simply summary, it looks to me like it’s all about how well brands and their owning companies (which increasingly are visible and inspected) exchange value with their various stakeholders: consumers of course, but also recognising that a brand’s role is personal and social and societal.
Sales and marketing at Barclays Capital.
When a product, service or organization is all about the functional benefit, this is not enough for them to thrive in 2014, they must add emotional and self expressive character to whatever they are doing in order to survive in the coming years.
SEO Consultant Kansas City, MO NetGeniusLive.com LLC
Hopefully the biggest brands revisit their online /off-line holiday season strategy…I recommend a budget that lowers overall investing in brick and mortar operations. This years’ brick and mortar holiday sales revenue dropped by 20%. I predict a large number of brick and mortar stores to start offering dropshipping programs to get their world wide web revenue up.
Marketing Executive at TEC
the future of branding is increasing day by day.. but we cannot neglect the importance of customer loyalty factor .. good communication after sales services all the things important to build brand .and emotional attachment too .but the monetary factor have a greater impact .. people are having dual trand they are risk taker but as far as risk aversion .. price sensitivity.replica marketing and non-traditional channel are the biggest threat for the company.. as IT improve the communication but still their is alot more improvement demanded to deal with it
Helping companies display their brands and products at Exhibitions, Events and in Retail environments across Australia.
Great comment and some fantastic thoughts to ponder as we approach the new year. I know in the Exhibition and Events industry many of us will take on some of the challenges raised.
The 25 Biggest Brand Fails of 2013
- “Will you please stop?” That was Sioux Falls, S.D., lawyer Scott Hoy’s desperate plea to viewers in this commercial. But stop what, exactly?! The year’s most confusing ad was also, it must be said, one of its most strangely enjoyable.
- No One in Sioux Falls or Anywhere Knows What the Lawyer in This Ad Is Saying (adweek.com)
- Super easy rice cooker recipe: KFC rice! (en.rocketnews24.com)
- Third-Ranked KFC is Winning the Fast Food Battle in India – For Now (euromonitor.com)
- Greenville Police At Scene Of KFC Armed Robbery (witn.com)
- KFC Canada to launch new Select restaurant concept to woo younger crowd (business.financialpost.com)
- The Cool Guide to Fast Food (thehotwire.wordpress.com)
- Marketing insights: KFC = Kentucky FAIL Chicken (digitalsurgeons.com)
- I SURVIVED… McDonald’s Poutine (gruesomeviews.com)
- Amazon Faces Christmas Nightmare As Workers Strike (huffingtonpost.com)
Very few companies can successfully become integrated media companies like RedBull for instance. Interestingly the media model itself changed over the last few years as we’ve seen with the success of the Huffington Post, BuzzFeed and Upworthy which all have in common that they don’t produce all the content they publish. Content curation is the common keyword to these post Web 2.0 new media rockstars. In preparing this talk, I considered the alternative curation creates for brands and highlighted a few case studies of successful implementations that leverage content curation as a way for brands to become media.
- 12 Experts Share Top Curation Tips (theprcoach.com)
- Your 5 Minute Guide To Shine On The Web With The New Scoop.it (business2community.com)
- Inventing the future of publishing through human curated big data (huguesrey.wordpress.com)
- ‘Humanrithm’ and curation: Scoop.it launches new iteration (socialmediaslant.com)
- Scoop.it Launches iPad App Version of Its Social Curation Platform (semanticweb.com)
- Scoop.it raises $2.6M to turn anyone into a publisher (venturebeat.com)
- An idea to help you create content – even if you can’t write (businessesgrow.com)
- An Idea to Help You Create Content – Even if You Can’t Write (business2community.com)
- Reuters – Scoop.it Raises Funds (pehub.com)
- Publishers’ Big Hits: 2013 (digiday.com)