If you’re in business for yourself or operate in a small company, often times the outward brand that customers see is YOU. So did you ever consider yourself a brand? Ok, so you’re not Michael Jordan or Danica Patrick, but to your customers you are the face of the company.
Holding that type of sway in the minds of your customers can be a lot of stress for most mortals to cope with. But branding yourself as an extension of the business doesn’t have to be difficult. Nor does it have to be an “all about me” proposition that positions you as some high-horse riding, better than you, stuck up braggart.
To build your personal brand without alienating others, just follow these 4 simple rules:
- Be True to Who You Are
You may start with some pre-conceived notion of what a successful person thinks or how they act or what they say. But don’t let others sway you from who you really are at the core. Smart marketers know the propensity for clients to sniff out bogus remarks and cast off counterfeits faster than you can say ‘Albert Talton.’
The truth of the matter is that it’s much easier to build a genuine brand when you’re in fact being, well…. genuine. So be who you are. Talk how you do. Write with your own style. And let your glorious inner-self shine. The world is filled with copycats and disingenuous people. So be yourself and let THAT become your forthright, inner brand. Your customers, at least the ones you actually want to do business with, will find it refreshing to work with an honest Abe, straight-shooter like you. So skip the drivel and let your unique qualities glow.
- Give Them Your Stats
The hardest things to dispute are cold, hard facts. So when it comes to building up your personal profile to be a believable brand, just give it to us straight. Don’t embellish what you’ve done with some fluffy prose you think I want to read. Just say what you plan to do for me and how you’ve accomplished this for others in the past. Point blank, period.
Thinking about the multitude of people adding “Guru” or “Expert” next to their job title makes me want to puke up a hairball. Simply tell folks the truth about your experience and the specific achievements you’ve attained and let the naysayers try to chip away at that. Guess what, they can’t. So leave the word “Ninja” out of your elevator speech and let your stats speak for themselves.
- Share the Success
Imagine holding a conversation with someone who can’t help but claim credit for every major accomplishment that’s ever happened in his or her industry. If you’re like most people, you’d politely excuse yourself before your gag reflex becomes overly noticeable.
As my 1st grade teach used to say, “Sharing means caring” so why not share your successes with the people who helped get you there. Your personal brand is strengthened each and every time you acknowledge that you wouldn’t be in the position you’re in today without a little help from those around you.
Your customers will find a deep affinity with you when you begin to credit others and not yourself. Sounds like reverse psychology but it’s true. Just think of how many “I invented the internet” jokes you’ve heard over the last decade and don’t be that guy.
- Keep Things Modest & Courteous
You’ve got skills and you know it. But there’s a fine line between knowing what you have on the inside and forcibly projecting that onto others. If you want your branding message to be received by those you care to influence then start by giving something of value. The best way to attract a tribe is to take care of those in your circle. The act of giving unto others leads to an open door that allows people to not only see, but feel your true worth.
And when it does come time to share your accomplishments, focus on tempering your speech so that it comes across as humble. Show a little sensitivity in how you appear to others. Being modest doesn’t mean hiding your achievements. It simply means directing the focus off WHAT you did and shining a brighter light on WHY it means so much to you. That’s a tact people can relate to.
Conclusion: When building yourself as the entirety of your business or simply the face of the company, keep these simple rules in mind to avoid turning people off. Use these as a guide to sell yourself without alienating those around you.