You are your own billboard - What marketing message are you sending to your clients?
Director of Nationwide Networking
Think you need clever marketing techniques to take your business to the next level? Not according to personal branding specialist and image consultant, Ben Angel. Here, Ben reveals how your personal branding and image can make all the difference…
To attract new clients to your business, the next step you take isn’t necessarily in the way of snazzy marketing techniques – it’s bigger than that. So what is it and what do business consultants and professionals need to know to stay ahead of the massive changes that are about to occur in the realm of marketing their services? It’s personal branding!
What is personal branding?
Personal branding is your own personal signature that is unique to you and to you only. It leaves an impression on those people you come into contact with. It could be positive, negative or indifferent. But whatever it is, it must be memorable in such a cluttered market space that you, as the individual, stand out and stand out for all of the right reasons.
It’s a dog eat dog world out there and if you want to stand out and attract new clients you’re going to need to lift your game and develop your own individual brand. You are literally your own billboard after all, aren’t you?
We’re running out of ways in which we can differentiate ourselves from one another. I guarantee that what is unique about you is also the same selling point hundreds of other consultants are currently pushing. Simply conduct a Google search on your competitors and you’ll see what I mean.
This then ultimately leaves us to focus on our own individual personal brands to instill positive impressions that assist in converting more prospects. We literally need to see ourselves as a complete package and ask ourselves if that package is marketable and will it be attractive to prospective clients?
To develop this package and your own brand, the following needs to be carefully considered:
Creating the Package of You – The first person you need to sell yourself to is you – and if you don’t like what you see then why will others? Clearly define who you are as a person in your field, what’s unique about you, personality traits, your image and the way you manage clients. Identify these clearly – are they marketable or do you need to groom yourself to become so?
Visibility – Developing your own individual brand is phenomenal, however if you’re not being seen, you’re not going to be attracting new clients. Networking is one of the most cost effective ways to brand yourself effectively to generate referrals. Attend the same networking events consistently so everybody recognises you. Be the first to introduce yourself, start conversations and be the person that everyone loves. If this isn’t you, work on it. It is a skill that can be learned. Other ways to make yourself visible are via YouTube, Facebook, blogging and local papers.
Consistency – Whatever exposure you can get is fantastic. Consistency is king. If they don’t see you, they forget you! Get out there in your marketplace, write articles and have your picture plastered everywhere. If you receive media exposure, plaster it all over your website and send the link to the article to your clients. Leverage the hell out of it.
Relevant/In front – The ideal personal brand is someone like Seth Godin or Richard Branson. They always remain relevant and in front of their competitors in the market space in which they play. Think leader of the pack in your industry and you have a brand that is saleable.
Culture – Know the culture of your industry and be willing to push new boundaries and ask the questions everyone else is too afraid to ask. It is important that you stand for something as a person and as a personal brand. By doing so you may potentially polarise those around you into two categories – those that are raving fans and those that can’t stand you. This is the perfect situation to be in – after all, is there any one person on this earth that everyone loves? I very much doubt it – even Oprah has her critics. Critics are a healthy part of ongoing development. If no one is criticising your work, then no one really cares enough about what you do.
Image – What you wear will ultimately determine how people treat you and how you treat yourself. Don’t attend business events dressed like everyone else in the room. Men, wear a stand out tie, women wear unique pieces of jewelery that people are going to gush over. The minor details make the major differences in the memorability stakes.
Reinvention – Part of building your personal brand is reinventing yourself on a regular basis to ensure you stay current and relevant to your ever-changing, ever-growing consumer base. Watch videos on YouTube to observe what the rest of the world is doing. There is a wealth of information available at your fingertips online that will assist you in gaining the cutting edge. Artists such as Kylie Minogue and Madonna have continually re-invented themselves over the years. Why should business consultants be any different? Clients want to know that you’re innovative, leading the pack and the best in your field. A failure to reinvent is a failure to market yourself effectively.
These are all key aspects of branding yourself as the complete package that your clients want to buy. Focus on these and you will find that you attract new clients at the drop of a hat. Fail to do so and you’re just going to be another business consultant looking for just another client.
Ben Angel is a personal branding specialist and image consultant and was featured in the Herald Sun on 26 June 2008