Personal Branding has a few definitions, a great one from is from William Arruda and it states that your personal brand is “your unique promise of value”. Unique promise of value means that you will deliver a product or service to others in a way that only you can do. That clarifies what your brand is all about, but what about the other part to your personal brand – your name? Your brand will only truly be personal when it’s about you and only carries your name.
A strong brand (product, service or personal) will have created awareness in the minds of its target audience. Look at the big brands out there, who hasn’t heard of Sony, Skype or Ford? And did you ever hear of Donald Trump? What you want to achieve is name recognition. You also want customers to know that you have their needs, wants and desires in mind.
Once you have achieved strong brand awareness, you will notice that people have an idea of who you are even before you have introduced yourself. Your reputation will precede you, just like the saying goes. By having name recognition status, you will have saved a lot of dollars in marketing spend and a great deal of time prospect canvassing and networking. You will be able to position yourself correctly with decision makers, whether they be customers, investors, business partners or even new employers.
Your brand awareness
Branding yourself is sometimes easier than branding a product or service – for one we already have the brand name, namely what your parents gave you. This name will already have some level of awareness with people around you, this tends to be stronger the bigger network and more experienced you are.
The first action you want to take is asking yourself what your brand recognition is and how the name is perceived. Do it like the pros and put together a little focus group. This can be made up of friends, family, customers, business associates etc that will be able to say what they feel when they see your name. This is a simpler form of a 360 degree type assessment, which can be useful as well for a more holistic look at yourself.
Questions to ask
One of the best questions you can ever ask yourself is this what people think when they see your name.
• How do they react?
• First impression?
• What attributes can they list?
• What value is attached to the name?
• Good, bad or neutral?
• Respect, envy or indifference?
• Love or loathe?
• Warm feeling or shiver down the spine?
Now that you have the answers from your focus group, you should have a fair idea of how your name is perceived. Oftentimes evoking a good/bad reaction is better than a neutral as it at least brings out emotion which you can turn around. You will get input on what needs to change, whether it’s behavioral with you or the perception of others.
If you have the resources, you could take this further and get a new focus group together of people that don’t know you, but might know OF you. Whatever they say will be very interesting as well as they form their opinions from a distance and that is when most information gets distorted.
Achieving name recognition in your industry or field can be a great asset as your brand equity is more than just you (you can now build a business around your name for instance). It will save time and effort when you need more customers, an investment or a new job.
The flip side to the coin is that when people know you they will expect greater things. You are now in the spotlight and you will be publicly scrutinized, almost like a celebrity or politician. By getting your name out there, you have upped the ante and you have to raise your game – which will obviously benefit your brand even more if done right.