Do you know the difference between personal brand identity and brand identity?
Brand identity is the essence a business wants to personify to its consumers, and can be broken down into several fundamental components: name, logo, color scheme, tagline, mission statement and even typeface. If for nothing else, brand identity is the forward facing media of a respective business, not to mention the sentiment it evokes from prospective clientele. That said, brand identity has become synonymous with a physical objectivity — one that trades visual aesthetics for the reverence of a subject audience. At its core, brand identity is the visual component people associate with a company.
However, I digress; I am not here to instill the importance of brand identity, but rather personal brand identity. Not to be confused with it’s more objective counterpart, personal brand identity is more subjective in nature and up for interpretation. However, said interpretation is a double edged sword. It’s not enough to simply portray a personal brand identity, you must portray the right one — there in lies the key to utilizing personal brand identity to your advantage. Let me explain.
Creating a lucrative brand identity has more to do with yourself, and less to do with a respective logo or color scheme. If for nothing else, a personal brand identity should be just that: personal. I maintain that the best brands — those that illustrate a specific narrative — sell an individual’s character first and a product second. But I digress; rebranding your business has nothing to do with inventing a fabricated persona, but rather the inherent ability to convince the majority that you are, in fact ,where you belong. You could very easily argue that the formula for a well-devised brand identity is not in the business itself, but rather the individual running it.
When it comes down to it, personal brand identity and trust are one in the same. The two are interchangeable — synonymous, if you will. In building a personal brand identity you want to build trust in a company name. Once there is a correlation between trust and the person running a business, opportunity will present itself.
Let’s take look at what you might need to build a personal brand identity:
Identify Your Mission Statement & Service Vision: As its name suggests, a mission statement is an admission of what your purpose in the industry is. Clear and concise in nature, a well-devised mission statement is what you hope to convey to the rest of the world. Why are you in business? What is pushing you to realize your goals? While most would immediately admit to starting a business for the money, I encourage you to dig a little deeper.
Your mission statement should place your customers ahead of your own monetary aspirations, as selflessness is the surest way to strengthen your personal brand identity. Only once you have placed the needs of the many ahead of your own can you even begin to assume you have their trust. However, it’s not enough to simply say how you intend to enrich the lives of those you serve; you must exercise proactive efforts to do so. Trust me, actions speak a lot louder than words. Essentially, you must tell your clientele how you intend to serve them and proceed to do so, exceeding expectations habitually.
For what it’s worth, trust is the very foundation on which every single successful business is founded. It’s worth noting, however, that trust is rendered moot in the event it can’t be tied to a specific brand. It’s not until people associate a brand with trust that the benefits of personal brand identity begin to take shape.
Analyze Your Subject Audience: I maintain that you can’t build, or at least strengthen, a personal brand identity without an intimate knowledge go those you intend to serve. If for nothing else, people buy into businesses they can relate to, and you had better believe it’s hard to relate to someone you are otherwise unacquainted with. It’s absolutely imperative that you analyze your target audience and familiarize yourself with the very thing they covet. Only once you know your audience can you begin to build your personal brand identity, as their needs will dictate your future plans. Not surprisingly, your business strategy should revolve around the needs of your customers, and that can’t happen until you are confident you can provide it.
Few things are more valuable to a business than the relationship it has with its own customer base, and the only way to foster a symbiotic relationship is to listen to what they have to say. What is it they want? How do they want it? Perhaps even more importantly, what are you willing to do to make sure they get it?
Do everything in your power to understand those you serve, and — for the sake of your business — be sure to deliver it. In doing so, you will develop an inherent correlation between your personal brand identity and trust; the one thing no business can do without.
Again, trust is the one thing you want your personal brand identity to be associated with. Nothing, as far as I am aware of, generates trust in a brand more so than delivering on promises. Research your audience and find out what it is they really want. When you uncover their true priority, only one goal should come to mind: over-deliver.
Service Aptitude: The advent of technology has leveled the playing field for nearly every industry. What was once considered impossible a mere 10 years ago for large conglomerates can now be carried out by small, first-time business owners. That said, it’s safe to assume everyone in your particular industry is capable of a lot more than you may even give them credit for.
Competition is more prevalent than ever before, which begs the question: How do the truly great companies set themselves apart from the rest of the pack? The answer is simple, and relatively underestimated: customer service. If for nothing else, great customer service is the tiebreaker between two evenly matched companies, and there is no reason your company shouldn’t come out on top.
Do everything in your power to demonstrate world-class customer service, and I promise you your customers will take note of your efforts. Better yet, the better you treat those you service, the more inclined they will be to reciprocate their appreciation. It’s entirely possible that your personal brand identity will become synonymous with the one thing business owners covet the most: trust. There’s that word again.
Building a personal brand identity has more to do with building trust in a single individual than it does with the brand itself. It’s worth noting, however, that personal brand identity is the foundation on which brand identity is founded. No company can hope to build a truly great brand identity without a selfless figurehead representing everything the company intends to stand for. That said, if you hope to build a strong brand identity, you should start with yourself and work your way out. Only then will you be able to realize your brand’s true potential.