In a recent discussion in a class I was teaching about marketing strategies for social media, I was asked whether it was a good idea to keep your personal page separate from your business page. My response may or may not surprise you, but I said that I believe that you should have both a personal page and a business page but you should expect to be cognizant of your brand on both pages because others in the marketplace will not separate the two. They see life and business co-existing as they should because they are interconnected and you are you all the time in both venues.
Once you enter the public domain, you have to recognize that there isn’t any separation. Public figures are seen as such and everything that they put into the universe is being viewed as a sum total of their brand equity. While you can monitor how much private information you share, you should expect personal information to be consumed at the same rate as business related information.
Because a brand is how you illustrate your beliefs, confidence and esteem to others through your image, information and influence, it is important to be clear that personally and professionally you are one. I think it is also important to mention that you are your brand – your name, period. Your products, services, companies are sub-brands of you, the main brand. A lot of entrepreneurs and small business owners miss this and as a result they struggle to send a clear brand message into the market. And most importantly, please know that a brand culminates into an experience.
It is possible to ensure that you maintain an image that you can be proud of and one that can advance your positioning and market capture abilities. I have 5 simple strategies that I will share with you now to help you do just that:
R – realign your personal vision with your professional vision, image and goals.To do this, you want to take the time to think about your brand. Initially you want to define your brand so that you can prepare to unleash it. To define your brand, get clear on what makes you unique from others in the marketplace. I say start by writing down the words that you feel represent who you are and desire to be in the market. Then you want to expand on your initial definition by creating power statements that include the words you’ve determined must be a core part of your branding strategy. Lastly, be sure that you are ready to do the work; to be the brand you desire by clarifying internally that alignment is present.
1. What is the vision of your brand?
2. What is the mission of your brand?
3. How will you know that you’ve accomplished the vision and mission of your brand?
4. What are the five words that best describe the brand I want to represent to be seen as my truest, most authentic self?
5. When my brand is as I’d like it to be, how will I feel?
O – organize people, places and events that will support the brand you’re building. Associations can make or break your brand so be clear about how others affect your position and do not be afraid to disassociate from those who are unworthy of being connected to your brand.
1. Which organizations should I join to further establish my brand imprint?
2. What events should I attend so that I can extend my brand?
3. Who are my centers of influence and how do they affect my brand?
C – create an emotional response for others through your brand so you can grow your brand position, create brand equity and deliver your brand experience. To make your brand real for other people, your goal MUST be to create an experience for them through how you offer yourself, content, etc to them in the marketplace. One of the things I do, is to imagine my brand as if it were content…what tips, advice and title would you give it so that it creates an experience for the receiver of the content?
1. What about your brand creates an experience for others? How can you do more of that?
2. How will you articulate this to the market?
3. Who will benefit the most from your brand?
4. How will you reach them?
K – know the big reason why your brand must be visible by asking yourself the following questions:
1. What does your brand stand for?
2. Who do you want to be known as?
3. What do you want to be known for?
4. Why is it important that others get this message from you?
5. What will happen when they hear and receive your message in their lives?
When you have a powerful brand, your company and your name will become one in the same, there will be no separation (This is your goal.) Don’t be fooled, people are looking at your overall image: hair, clothes, shoes, makeup, presence, website, business card, brochure, emails, etc. They’re taking it all in and from your presence, deciding if you are worthy of their business. 55% of an exchange is based on your appearance; 38% of an exchange is based on your tone of voice and behavior; and 7% is based on the words you actually say.
To ROCK your brand, truly ROCK it, take the time to answer the questions I pose above and focus on creating consistency online and offline so that you can be clear in the way you represent yourself personally and professionally each and every day.