This post is part three of a three part series on personal branding. Part I defines what is a brand, Part II helps you identify your own personal brand, and this article shows you how to change your personal brand name and make it better.
We have established in parts I and II, that, just like products, people have brand names too. This is especially the case if you are trying to gain new clients and working to connect with them in person and online. Deciding to take control of your brand means giving yourself agency to convey to others exactly what you want them to think of you.
Tony Stark was the face of Stark Industries, known to the world as the master mind behind weapons of mass destruction, but he changed all that with the creation of Iron Man. Unlike Tony Stark, for some of us it is impossible to build a full metal, armored bodysuit intended to fight off evil villains to change the perspective the world has of your company (also, most of us don’t have a Pepper Pots dealing with crisis management). This doesn’t mean that the power isn’t in our hands to do something about your reputation. Put these five steps into action to create your “Iron Man” brand.
Be Honest. You already have natural qualities; there is no need for you to fabricate who you are to others for them to believe in you and your brand. Personal branding is all about highlighting the qualities that are true to you. You don’t have to fake your personality to create a powerful personal brand. The best way to create a true following is to leverage your already existing positive traits. Being honest about who you are is the only way that you can be open about the true foundation behind your company. For example, if you are an introvert you don’t have to pretend being an extrovert. Instead, highlight your superior listening skills or your compassion for your customers.
Make More Friends. If you want to work on or highlight certain personal qualities, find others who already personify them. For example, perhaps you are a graphic designer and want to build your brand around your attention to detail. In fact, you want your business to portray the same exact thing. The surest way to learn how to do that is to find people who already have a well-established personal brand around the same idea and be a “grasshopper”. Become a student of their craft and make observations on how they personify their brand. Sometimes your “brand models” might not even be aware of how they themselves carry their brand, but pay attention to the language they use, the platforms they choose to connect with people, the way they conduct themselves in public, how they interface with clients, and other ways they personify their brand. Once you understand their personal tools – create your own!
Make A Good First Impression Every Time. Making a good first impression isn’t something you can buy with money, and despite the attempts we make to present ourselves professionally to the world using online platforms and media, there is nothing that can replace the impact of a face-to-face meeting. As the facilitator of a business networking group in New York, I get to work with successful industry leaders and meet new highly successful professionals every month. Even though meeting very impressive c-level professionals can be nerve wrecking sometimes, there are a few things I always remember: maintain a firm handshake, stand tall, speak clearly, and always smile. Being a friendly person is key. Take every opportunity you get to make the best first impression you can, you’ll be an expert at meeting new people in no time!
Nail Down Your Pitch. One sure way of letting people know who you are is by telling them. People won’t always remember everything about you or what you say, but if you package yourself nicely for them, they will remember you better. Prepare a 90 second “bit” on who you are, what you do, and what you’re looking for.
My Pitch: “Hi, I’m Michelle Vallejo, creator and founder of Marketing Like A Millennial. Marketing Like A Millennial is a growing resource database of information for brands and concepts wanting to take a fearless, relationship-based approach to business development, personal branding, and digital public relations. I am looking to make connections with small businesses, startup companies, and passion driven concepts around the world.”
Never Stop Growing. Creating and improving your personal brand is a lifetime affair. No matter what your personal brand is, keep it going, make it lively, and have fun exploring ways to highlight the strengths of your personal brand to enhance it. Most importantly, never give up and always believe in yourself.
Do you have a question about where to go from here? Need to reassess your branding strategy but aren’t sure where to start? Feel free to get in touch with Marketing Like A Millennial today, or ask Michelle a question on Twitter or Facebook and she’ll point you in the right direction.