How Personal Branding Connects With People
When your personal brand is closely tied to your business, sales promotions techniques can be adapted to showcase your expertise, increase awareness and motivate your audience to act.
Everyone has a personal brand, whether they embrace it or not. Accepting your strengths, what you love to do, and positioning yourself creates much happiness for you and your peers.
Marketers know that despite all the time and effort invested in a corporation’s brand image, at the basic level people connect with people.
Ads for Dos Equis Beer feature the most interesting man in the world and encourage people to stay thirsty.
Oprah Winfrey, a brand on to herself, bought a 10% stake in Weight Watches and aligned her personal struggle with the brand, the value of company shares skyrocketed.
A small beer brand from Mexico and a mature brand in the diet industry are able to ignite interest among their respective audiences by getting personal. They created an immediate and deep emotional connection.
These examples also show two sides of the personal brand spectrum. The Dos Equis dude is a totally fictional character that ties into a sense of power that men crave. Oprah’s endorsement and relatability to the Weight Watchers’ brand provides people with emotional security and the confidence to follow her example in their personal struggle.
How To Brand Yourself
We all have many facets to our lives. Consider the thing or things you want people to think of when branding yourself as the ‘go-to’ person or the authority on a topic.
Think of some big names in business whose early years shaped their future.
Oprah was fired from her first TV anchor job for getting too emotionally invested in her stories
Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star for lacking imagination.
Rather than change what they knew to be true about themselves, they embraced it to achieve great success.
When I started out in marketing I worked in New York for various sales promotion agencies. When I got the opportunity to work as a Marketing Manager my inclination was to use this knowledge to create motivating promotions that moved the needle. I was ridiculed for being too promotion oriented and not paying attention to the larger brand message. This was true and it was a great opportunity to expand my skills and knowledge, which I embraced.
However, I truly enjoyed the challenge of creating promotions that motivated people to action, and I inadvertently branded myself that way. Overtime I had the opportunity to work with every major financial and travel industry loyalty program as a marketing partner. From this knowledge building experience I launched numerous successful loyalty programs as part of project teams.
As consumer wants changed, we adapted and launched more initiatives using emerging technologies that generated significant results. Incorporating the skills and knowledge I learned about product branding into the loyalty programs made for better results. I soon became the “go-to” person in many marketing-planning sessions across diverse industries.
Now I’m not comparing my success to Winfrey or Disney, however I am comparing how I took what I liked to do, and was good at… and running with it.
Creating Your Brand Image
The reason I mentioned Dos Equis beers most interesting man example is because it is a fictional, created image about the way he lives his life. A series of comically presented adventures were used to create an image.
While this is an interest catching campaign, long-term your followers want to know the true you and what you stand for. Launching your personal brand as if you are the Dos Equis man may get attention.
However, being vulnerable and sharing your true self establishes your credentials effectively. It gives you a foundation to build upon as you expand your skills and knowledge along with increased opportunities.
Oprah has been able to connect with people across a wide-spectrum of interests based on a lifetime of hard work and perseverance. The many elements of her story grew from her skill in interviewing her guests and sharing her deep understanding and personal vulnerabilities, which people in similar circumstances related to.
Sitting on national TV holding a guests hand, crying along with them and injecting a relatable experience from her life showed her vulnerability and true self. Her ability to move her guest out of their trapped existence and find a better path made her show appealing to many, who may have also felt stuck. Many products, charities and partnerships have been developed as an extension of her personal brand.
Before developing a personal brand statement, jot down all the things that progressively brought you to where you are today. People relate with you when you open up about your true self. Sharing your successes, along with your failures makes you real and relatable. It also provides content to share your experience as you instruct others about your area of expertise.
Clarify Your Personal Brand Focus
How do you want to people to identify with you. What area are you an authority on, or what are the characteristics you want to be associated with your personal brand? Once you identify this ’focus’, look at your life story and all the areas that support your journey, which made you who you are.
This story not only makes you more real, vulnerable and relatable, it is the doorway to creating an array of sales promotional techniques to drive awareness and revenues.
Arnold Schwarzenegger came to the US to apply his ‘focus’ as a bodybuilder to become a movie star. Moving toward that goal his 1975 run for the Mr. Universe title was featured in a docudrama about the world of bodybuilding. The production company ran out of funding. Arnold, along with his co-stars raised funds to launch the film two years later. This was the beginning of a huge movie star career. He has profited from numerous movies, books, theme park attractions and multple other promotional sources. He gained clarity about his personal brand and applied that to ever-evolving goals. Here are some ways to brand yourself and use sales promotion to drive awareness, sales or donations.
Personal Brand Product Sampling
You don’t need a production studio to develop a 2-minute videos about your specialty. Many people get started using a recording from their iPhone. What you do need is content that is honest, sincere and of interest to your niche. Break down your story into smaller pieces. Create a video that serves your audience. When people relate to your story and learn something that moves them forward, they connect.
Distributing a personal brand video to your customer base using emails, blogs and industry partner sites is effective, because it is quick, informative and brand building.
If you want to work toward a developing larger audience, there are numerous platforms to post videos, such as: YouTube, Viemo, FaceBook, Daily Motion, Twitter, Instagram and many others.
When I want to learn something new, or get more information on a topic, I often watch a quick video and I am made aware of numerous resources and people who have expertise in the field I am searching.
Write an article to post on ezine, a chapter in a book shared by other experts, a guest blog post, a press release and/or all the above.
Recently I was working with a client that wanted to learn about crowd funding for a project he was involved with. I steered him to my article Crowdfunding Launch Begins With Promotion to get him started. Now I am working with his team to develop their product strategy and pre-launch plan.
Delivering copies of your content to targeted audiences builds awareness and confidence among your niche to consider you as the authority. This technique is not new. The technology to deliver it helps you deliver it a broader audience is and it’s expanding.
Having said that there is nothing like a gift of a book that provides people with a step-by-step process while tying in your personal story to build trust among your peers. Isn’t that what people in academia have been doing for years?
Speeches, Panels and Appearances
For years I have been watching Peter Greenberg, the Travel Detective, make guest appearances on news programs speaking about issues, deals and opportunities for Travel. How did he become the ‘go-to’ guy? A little research indicated that he was involved in TV show development and responsible for popular shows such as MacGyver and Thirtysomething. He moved on to become a correspondent for Newsweek and combined his skills and knowledge to focus on Travel. He has written numerous books and now has a significant personal brand. Where can your accumulated skills and knowledge and your love of something move you in this direction?
Contests and Sweepstakes
Recently a popular author of marketing and self-help books ran a contest to pick his next cover design. He had a large following and his fans were eager to participate to pick one of four designs. I don’t recall the prize details or the winner, but I do remember how he engaged his audience and involved them in the content of his material.
If you are your own business and want to gain attention a giveaway, fashioned around your product or offer, works to build awareness. Even if you are the product. Theme it around an issue that involves your prospective followers. Make it fun, provocative, and interesting and you will capture their attention.
I voluntarily signed up for multiple sites developed by experts in their field who send me weekly emails about their topic. Their content is so informative that I always pick up new information and ways to apply it in my life or business.
What they distribute is the above-mentioned product samples that give me just enough information to want more. I am often lead to their resource page. I have also consulted, partnered or hired some of them when the time is right. The constant stream of communication builds awareness and a form of loyalty that causes me to learn about them and build trust.
Tooting your own horn has become an art that requires some effort to start steering people in your direction. Once you identify the thing you love to do, create a personal brand statement and move forward from there.