REPOST: 5 Ways to Distinguish Yourself With a Personal Brand

Personal branding influences how professionals and businesses market their expertise and services to clients and partners. The following article from Entrepreneur.com provides tips for creating an effective personal brand:

Image Source: entrepreneur.com

Personal branding has become an essential part of entrepreneurship. Your brand affects the reputation of your business as much as it does your professional career. Whether you deliberately pursue fashioning one or not, your personal brand affects how you market yourself to those around you.

Your creation of an effective brand helps other professionals think of you first when they hear about a new business opportunity. Whether you need to impress a new investor or convince a client that your business is the best choice for a new project, your personal brand will influence how successful you are when you sell your professional capabilities.

Your personal brand paints a picture of who you are. It encompasses all your characteristics, from the way you dress and the look of your business cards to how you handle conflict — and everything in between. It results from how you see yourself but adds up to how others perceive you.

Don’t let your personal brand develop by accident. That leaves too much to chance. Instead, purposefully determine and cultivate the best brand for yourself as you navigate your career. Ask yourself, How do I want my peers to consider and remember me?

Use these tips to ensure that your personal brand sends the right message.

1. Write down how others describe you.

Think about how you want to position yourself before you create your brand.

What types of comments and feedback have you received from clients, colleagues and acquaintances? What words do they use to describe you? The qualities that others associate with you — such as intelligence, charm, kindness and humor — can become a core part of your brand.

2. Develop a tool kit.

Every aspect of your brand should consistently reinforce the message and reputation you want to convey. Create a website, blog and portfolio, along with social-media profiles, to accentuate your brand and better market yourself.

If your professional photograph is outdated, hire a photographer to take a new head shot. It can be included in your branding tool kit and used when you’re invited to speak at events or featured in a newspaper or magazine.

For the shoot, select a classic outfit that complements your hair color and complexion. Your photograph should reflect your professionalism and credibility.

3. Choose a car carefully.

The type of vehicle you drive is a personal choice. Though you may think of your car as simply a means of transportation to get you from one point to another, it says a lot about who you are and what you value.

People are often attracted to cars that mirror their self-image, whether it’s practical, luxurious or sporty. Whatever car you choose, keep the interior and exterior clean. A poorly maintained or cluttered car can send the message that you’re disorganized or irresponsible.

4. Invest in personal stationery.

It’s easy and inexpensive to create your own branded stationery. Invest in quality. Opt for paper of heavy stock and choose a color that best complements your brand.

White and ivory business cards are common choices for professionals in traditional and conservative careers, but brighter colors can be eye-catching and convey a more creative tone.

Purchase personalized thank-you notes on 100 percent cotton paper. Though more expensive than thermographed or lithographed stationery, the look and feel of engraved messages will lend a more stately impression.

Get in the habit of sending a personal note whenever someone does something nice for you. This will also enhance your personal brand.

5. Imbue your workspace with your character.

You spend a good share of your waking hours at your desk. Investors, clients and colleagues can glean a wealth of information about you from your office. A workspace devoid of any personal items will make your desk seem barren whereas a cluttered desk filled with stacks of paper and sticky notes may convey disorganization or a lack of discipline.

Don’t be afraid to decorate your office with a few personal touches. And if clients regularly visit your workplace, keep it neat and tidy.

Gotham Brand is a New York-based full service branding firm founded by Spiro Baltas. Get more tips on branding and marketing here.

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REPOST: Attention Brands: This Is How You Get Millennials to Like You

The most effective way for brands to attract and win the support of millennials is by talking to them in their own language. Melissa Hoffman discusses this topic at length in the following Adweek.com article:

How can a brand get that coveted millennial nod? It’s all about talking to them in their own language.

“Ever since youth culture became a defined concept, marketers have been using the unique values of youth as an ‘in’ to young consumers,” according to a study from Havas. But in the 1950s and ‘60s, that essentially meant being against authority and the establishment. But that, the study says, is no longer true of the younger generation. Millennials “have less of an interest in rebellion and revolution” and tend more toward problem-solving, the study notes.

They also have a different relationship with their products and the brands that create them, said Norty Cohen, founder and CEO of agency Moosylvania. “This is a group that will adopt brands,” he said. “If you can create a friendship with these consumers, you really take it to the next level. They will go to great lengths to support you.”

In its study, Hashtag Nation, Havas notes that this loyalty aspect is very good news for marketers: “Today’s youth are significantly more apt than their elders to recognize—and value—the role brands play in their lives.” But this can be a tricky relationship to maintain, the study notes, as 40 percent of respondents ages 16-24 complain that brands don’t take them seriously enough.

“Brands also need to recognize that they’re now dealing with a generation of consumers who are much savvier than their parents were at that age,” the study concluded. “Young people have an innate understanding of marketing and of their value as consumers. And they’re significantly more likely than older generations to believe they have the capacity to help a brand succeed or fail. And why would they think that? Virtually every day they see some evidence of the power of ordinary people to effect change, whether it’s using Twitter to foment a rebellion in the Middle East or using social media to compel a company to behave better.”

In its 2015 study, Moosylvania benchmarked qualitatively what brand characteristics mean the most to millennials.

Initially, Moosylvania’s Cohen said, marketing “was all based on sort of this militaristic approach: Here is your target, blitz them with media. And now what we’re finding is they don’t want to be blitzed. … The tonality has to be in the zone of what’s on this page making people look good, keeping them entertained,” he said. “It’s all about this friendship piece.”

And how can marketers move into the friend zone? “There’s a lot of personal interaction with this demo. They’re going to look at any kind of social endorsement. TV still has a place, as do magazines.” And, he said, millennials love experiences, whether they’re in-store or app-based or video or experiential.

Innovation in this space is helping some new names into Moosylvania’s top 50 millennial brands for 2015. Macy’s was one of them. “Macy’s is doing all sorts of predictive analytics,” Cohen said, adding that Ralph Lauren is doing same. He added that their marketing is “very personalized and about making you look better, making you feel better.”

The Yahoo/DigitasLBi/Razorfish/Tumblr study included a list of tips for content marketers trying to reach this dream demo:

  1. Set the mood. Give them a repository for a particular emotion, or bond over a universal human experience.
  2. Help them escape by giving them a glimpse of the good life, inspiring them, and “reinforcing the millennial values of embracing life and finding happiness along the off-roaded path to adulthood.”
  3. Fuel creativity and play with absurdist mash-ups, artistic installations and carefully curated memes that are the tight fit for a brand’s attributes.
  4. Spotlight pop culture, especially using nostalgia nods, superfandom and celebrity musings.
  5. Help them succeed with how-tos, lifehacks and any content experience that makes them feel smarter.
  6. Help them discover things and see topics in a new light, which “taps into millennials’ desire for discovery.”

Image Source: adweek.com

Spiro Baltas is the founder of Gotham Brand, a full service branding firm. Get more branding tips here.