What do Coca Cola, McDonald’s, and Apple all have in common? Unforgettable brands.
It’s these brands, crafted carefully for decades, that help make those companies instantly recognizable in an increasingly competitive world.
You might feel you’re running your business in a completely different world than those multinational corporations. But they offer plenty of cool insights into what it takes to develop a killer brand – even if you’re just a freelancer or solopreneur working on your own.
There’s a lot of confusion on this topic, but a personal brand can serve you no matter how small your business is right now – or how big it becomes. It can grow with you, help you get customers, and build your authority as a leader in your niche.
Why Your Brand Matters
Branding is key, but it’s also widely misunderstood.
What is a brand anyway?
A brand simply is “how you appear to the world.”
Your brand is the sum total of your reputation, the emotions you create, the symbols you use, your name, and much more.
Bottom line: your brand is the way others perceive you in the marketplace. It separates you from everyone else.
A lot of freelancers and small business owners don’t worry about branding at all. They’re (understandably) busy just trying to market and build relationships with customers. They write off branding as something they’ll tackle later, once they’re in the “big leagues” and making lots of revenue.
Here’s the deal, though. Even if you don’t pay attention to branding, you’ll still be branded by your customers and the marketplace. Ever since you started doing business, people have been perceiving you and coming to their own conclusions.
How to Build a Brand from Scratch
Taking a bit of time now to proactively shape your brand helps make it a lot easier to maneuver going forward.
Every personal brand is unique. In fact, that’s one element that makes them unforgettable.
With that said, here are a few key ingredients that appear in any strong brand – regardless of your industry.
1) Consistency | Being consistent makes people see you as reliable – a huge part of any successful personal brand.
2) Authenticity | Being authentic takes a lot less work. It also makes you more interesting because there’s no one quite like you.
3) Visibility | Attention is hard to come by online. In a world with zillions of distractions, you have to earn it.
4) Vision | What are your personal values? What are you passionate about? Whom do you want to serve?
5) Credibility | Don’t underestimate the impact of credibility by association. Whom you hang out with online can shape others’ perception of you.