Have you been wanting to start your own business? Or maybe you already have, but you need a way to stand out among your competitors? Either way, if you haven't thought about the importance of personal branding, now is the time.
If you're not familiar with what the term "personal branding" means, it's a way of making yourself unique and memorable as a business (or business person). Not only was I an advertising major in college, but my Master's degree is in mass media, and my doctorate is in communication studies (including persuasion). Because of my education and my own personal experiences as an entrepreneur, I have some ideas to share with you about how to brand yourself so you can carve your own niche and have your customers not only remember you, but keep coming back.
Here are 8 ways to create your own personal branding:
1. Design a unique logo.
Logos are everything. There is even a board game out where in order to win, you have to identify the most company logos. For example, if you just saw the golden arch but not the words "McDonald's" underneath, you would still know which company it belonged to. The same goes for Coke, Nike, Izod, Wendy's, and the list goes on. You need a logo that represents who you are, and it needs to be memorable. You eventually want your customers to be able to identify you by only your logo.
2. Create a tagline.
I learned the power of a tagline (sometimes called a slogan) while I was studying advertising. An example of a tagline is Nike's "Just do it." Or McDonald's "Just lovin' it." Your tagline must encapsulate who you are and be catchy. When I was creating my business tagline, I struggled with how to represent who I am and what I do. But finally I decided on "Success from the Inside Out." I chose that because that's exactly what I do -- teach people to be successful by first looking within themselves. Once you work on yourself as a person, the rest of your life will fall into place. So you need to think about what YOU do and how to represent yourself with a tagline.
3. Give yourself a catchy title.
I am an expert on the TV show Living Dayton, and one of the other experts has branded herself "The Digital Diva." She knows all about technology and how to market businesses online. I don't think I remembered her actual name for a long time because all I knew her by was "The Digital Diva." Think about it -- that's a lot more memorable than "Jane Smith," isn't it?
4. Have a mascot.
I know another person who is a motivational speaker. For a long time, he had a "mascot" that he called "Danny the Evil Duck." It was a small, red, devilish rubber ducky. Why? Who knows? But everyone remembers Danny the Evil Duck, because they always asked him to bring the duck out at his gigs. I think he eventually retired Danny, and people were actually upset. Danny was part of this guy's branding. I'm assuming he got successful and famous enough that he thought he didn't need the duck anymore.
5. Start a podcast.
Most people know that in order to be a successful business person, you should have a blog. But not everyone has thought about starting a podcast. Podcasts are really popular these days. I even had my own for a while. They're pretty easy to do, but you need to make sure you have the right equipment -- especially the microphone. You want it to sound as professional as possible. And then name your podcast something similar to your tagline or catchy title.
6. Weave your branding into everything you do.
Get business cards with your logo and tagline. Get stationery. Get t-shirts, pencils, magnets, and anything else you can think of. You want to have a consistent theme with your branding. So make sure that nothing -- and I mean nothing -- goes out to the public without the branding. That means every email, blog, podcast sessions -- you name it.
7. Host Facebook Live or Periscope sessions.
Facebook Live is relatively new, but Periscope has been around for a little while. If you're not familiar with either, it's basically hosting a live video session. You go live, and your audience can watch. You can do this in addition to your podcast, and maybe make these shorter. Perhaps running a Q&A session would be helpful for your customers. Or simply shorter versions of your podcast.
8. Become a walking billboard.
I have a friend who is very successful in a network marketing company. I always tease her and call her a "walking billboard" because she never leaves her house without wearing the company's t-shirt, hat, or other paraphernalia. Why does she do this? Because it generates conversation -- and ultimately business. If she's checking out at Target, the cashier might say, "Hey, I've heard of that company! What is it all about?" From there, she gives a sales pitch and invites her to a mixer. Then she follows up until the person joins her team. It might sound kind of strange, but let me tell you, it's highly effective.
The business world is competitive. But that doesn't mean that you can't stand out and thrive. All you need to do is put a little thought into how to be different, and how to have customers recognize you without even thinking. I hope these tips help you as much as they have helped me!