By Mitchelle Carson
Being a successful entrepreneur in this day and age requires a lot more than commitment and a solid business plan. If you take a moment to think of your favorite brands, you can easily come up with key elements that are associated with their reputations. The elements might be a logo or specific colors, how they treat their customers, or an idea that each brand is centered around. This “mental picture” of a brand is usually the result of a carefully executed branding strategy. Personal branding for entrepreneurs is vital in order to have a flourishing business, and for that you need to put in the effort to create a unique reputation of your own.
Identify your brand. The way your brand is perceived by the world is entirely up to you, but first you have to identify what exactly your brand is all about. When there is so much competition, especially online, you need to make sure that you set yourself apart from the rest. Your brand might be focused on luxury, organic products, or maybe it caters to a certain lifestyle. The concept of your brand is what the aspects of your business should be completely centered around. People will choose your brand over competitors when they feel an emotional connection, so you have to make sure your values and ideals are clearly projected and felt.
Strengthen your business relationships. In all businesses, the power lies in the hands of the customers and public. Without them, your brand simply cannot grow. Building strong ties with customers creates a loyal following which benefits both you and your customers. Personal branding for entrepreneurs entails much more than creating a recognizable brand image. You have to be willing to listen to past and potential customers and adjust yourself according to the demand and need. Personal touches and superb customer service make a world of difference. When customers appreciate you and form an emotional response to your brand, they will be sure to sing its praises and rave about its customer service. Additionally, connecting and networking with others such as fellow entrepreneurs or journalists is very helpful. Maintaining a business relationship is important because it makes people more likely to do business with your or want to recommend you either through the media or through word of mouth.
Make sure your personal branding is consistent. Personal branding for entrepreneurs needs to be harmonious if you truly want your business to thrive and succeed. Having an amazing website or great logo just won’t cut it anyone. It is crucial that all aspects of your business should complement each other. For example, if your website has one logo and your business card has a slightly different one, it will confuse customers immediately. The purpose of creating a logo in the first place will be entirely defeated and will be useless. Make sure all ads, flyers, cards, and online material has a unified concept or theme that will instantly identify your brand and make it recognizable. That doesn’t mean that everything must look exactly the same, but the aesthetic of everything you use for promotion should be cohesive.
Expand your branding through use of social media. The use of social media has completely revolutionized the way we do business. There has never before been an avenue like social media where you can instantly reach a worldwide audience to promote your brand or build business relationships. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram have created a new way for businesses to form relationships. Now, entrepreneurs have the opportunity to directly communicate with customers and hear their concerns and feedback. At the same time, social media allows entrepreneurs to network with other like-minded individuals that they never would have been able to otherwise. Social media platforms make advertising and promoting your brand a breeze, and allow you to have complete control of the way your brand is perceived. Interestingly, just by having an online presence can lead to huge amounts of promotion with little effort on your part. Unlike “real world” advertising with paid spokes models and celebrities, you can have free promotion if any well-known individual mentions your brand online. The benefits of personal branding online for entrepreneurs is simply endless.