A strong brand results from a clear definition of the strengths particular to you or your company and the audience that will benefit from working with you.
Someone will always be faster, stronger, more knowledgeable, younger, older or more experienced than you. But that doesn’t mean that they will necessarily “win out” over you. Because nobody has your particular combination of skills, talents, abilities, knowledge, experience or expertise. And maybe they don’t hustle, network, promote or communicate as well as you do. Maybe they haven’t as clearly identified what it is, with their particular mix of traits, they can offer a buyer.
This is where branding–both personal and business–comes in. A strong, well-defined brand is a powerful marketing tool.
Branding is the process through which you objectively “decipher” what you offer and to whom. Ultimately, you want to determine what your specific strengths and weaknesses are and who the audience is for those strengths; who could benefit from working with or hiring you. A person or company with a strong brand continuously reinforces the value they offer and what differentiates them from the competition.
Once you’ve deciphered your “brand positioning” — the products or services that best fit with an audience who has the need and budget for your offering? You develop a marketing strategy that will effectively reach that audience.
And if you think you’re weak in certain areas? Don’t make excuses, make improvements. Take classes, sign up for webcasts and podcasts; read, watch and listen. Use volunteering as an opportunity to learn new skills or tackle new projects. Research the competition, join a mastermind group, find a mentor willing to help. Do what it takes to build your brand, improve your position and hone your “expert” niche.
If it’s difficult for you to objectively decipher your personal or business brand, you can ask others — interview your friends (ask them to be honest), clients or customers and colleagues. Find out what their perception is of you — and your strengths. Work with an outside consultant who will provide a professional, objective assessment and strategy.
Be rigorous in your examination. You ultimately want to clearly distill what it is that “makes you different.” Then publish content that sets out your particular strengths, preferably focusing on a defined “expert” niche that can be illustrated with representative testimonials, recommendations, case studies and “success stories.”
The clearer you are on your particular strengths and how those strengths can be deployed to benefit potential customers…the more powerful your brand and the bigger the return on your marketing.
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About the Author
Martha Spelman is an SBEC mentor. She is a Los Angeles-based branding and marketing expert and author of The Cure for Blogophobia: How to Easily Create, Publish & Promote Your Business Blog. You can find out more about Ms. Spelman on her website.