Why You Need to Know Your Client for an Effective Personal Brand
We’ve written about Knowing Your Avatar and why that is important to you as an entrepreneur. As a reminder, your Avatar is your audience, the people you are speaking to through your marketing... And knowing exactly who you’re talking to and while using your own brand is really essential when you are an influencer!
What is an Influencer?
‘Influencer’ Marketing is when any person or business owner takes the time to build a platform for themselves that is recognized by their target audience. They create and build consistent podcasts, a video show, write regular blog articles, build an email list, whatever they decide to start with, and they do it routinely so that people know who they are, what they are doing and why.
Being consistent matters in the development of your own personal brand. When you start out, you will most likely have content that consists of 70% of other people’s content that you simply share, then 20% of your own, with 10% promotional. These numbers will shift as you evolve and grow your brand.
I started my business, and kept moving forward, learning all the time. After a while, people told me I was an influencer and when I first heard this, I was hesitant to agree. Because being considered an ‘influencer’ and not simply an ‘expert’ felt like a huge responsibility to me!
The definition of expert is very clear but when someone says influencer, I think that is a little… gray. If you are indeed an influencer, that means you have the power to evoke action from people. Did I do that? When I really looked at what I had created, I was like oh hey! Would you look at that! I am an influencer!
“Side note here, I wouldn't recommend calling yourself an influencer before others start doing it, that’s just tacky. It’s perfectly okay to aspire to be an influencer, yes! Absolutely. But those who jump straight out of the gates proclaiming themselves influencers (before they have built a platform), well, bless their hearts. Don’t do that y’all!“
I chose my profession (in answer to a calling), and very early on, I decided to lead by example! I actually do what I tell people to do, and I keep moving along, never quitting. I’d say that is the key! Don’t give up! Developing your brand and influence takes time and focus.
Plant your seeds, have faith, and eventually you will reap what you sow. This is not new information, folks. This is Biblical.
Let me blow a myth for you right now.
You know how you hear “Oh, this person is an overnight success!”? Well that’s a big NO! 99 times out of 100, that person has been working their tails off for the last 5-10 years, building a name for themselves until they were noticed. That person is then given an opportunity and they step up to the plate, taking that chance for all it’s worth!
Preparation meets opportunity. You can’t just wait for success to happen, you have to put in the work.
Influencer is another way of saying “I’m an expert.”
The term influencer is used to describe people who are experts in their industry, recognized as such, AND when they ask people to take action, they DO.
I have always recommended a 70:20:10 mix of content across all media and on each channel. (70% Curated 20% Branded and 10% Promotional) This formula still holds true while you are building your platform and working on becoming an influencer or thought leader.
Once you have developed a solid platform and established yourself as an expert with a tribe who values your original content... then the focus of your content will shift.
At some point, you will be creating enough useful, branded content that it will become the 70%. Carefully chosen content from your peers, affiliate partners, and power partners will make up the 20%. I highly recommend keeping promotional activity to 10%. Too much promotion is a turn off at any stage of business!
There are three different kinds of influencers out there.
- 1Micro Influencer - typically a smaller group of people but very powerful
- 2Standard Influencer - they’ve done the work, developed their platform, have an audience but not internationally known outside of their industry. (This one is me!)
- 3Celebrity Influencer - This is where everyone knows your name, everywhere you go. These are the people of Hollywood or those who are featured on national news media or the like.
Regardless of the type of influencer you are, remember that people will know you aren’t right in your heart if you put yourself out there before you’re ready. They will see that all you want from your business is money, that comes across clear as day and people won’t respond to that for the long term. To serve equals LOVE. And if you are sharing your message, your brand out of LOVE, then there are no limits to whom you can reach and influence!
What is personal branding, exactly?
Personal branding is, at its core, how you distinguish yourself from those with whom you share general characteristics.
Think of a time when you were searching for a coach, mentor, or some other expert in their field.
Your brand is the intrinsically unique set of qualities that illustrate your value outwardly.
You must be faithful to yourself when crafting your personal brand, which has always been my approach and one that I highly recommend. There are plenty of clients out there who are looking for what you have to offer. Someone else may be selling exactly the same type of thing that you sell, but that doesn’t mean that everyone wants to buy it from them! You are who you are; own it and use it to your advantage.
My own brand is a perfect example. I started with “good enough” because I wasn’t going to let a lack of brand stop me. I made my own business card and put a little avatar of myself that I’d created using an online icon generator on there. I ordered my first set of business cards!
They didn't arrive in time for my first big meeting (of course!) So, I printed my design out on a piece of paper, cut them out, and used those to hand out. 5 years later, someone still had their paper and called me. They said they were inspired to hold onto it! I literally gave them out once and all those years later, I get a call from that very first meeting where I publicly announced my new company.
The day after that big meeting, the real cards came. A few months (and clients) later, I went to a local designer, showed them my design and we gave it a slight upgrade. I used that for a long time (2010 until 2013). Then I decided it was time to go big. I went to a branding agency in Richmond as I was planning my move to Denver; it felt like a good time for a solid re-branding.
My core brand hasn't changed over time but how I've needed it to serve me has. After I moved to Denver, I needed speaker one sheets and other media items that I hadn't considered in my earlier iteration of our brand. I discovered that my fonts, while great online, looked old-fashioned and didn't work at all in print. My new graphic designer (Kaylie Hall at 68 Designs) helped us develop a full and purposeful brand that is capable of scaling with me as a speaker and with our company as a whole. We may add to it or make tweaks over time but this brand is "the one."
Download your Free Personal Branding Cheat Sheet to start developing your brand identity, right now!
Your Avatar Informs Your Messaging
Now it is time to ask yourself these questions.
We all know that perception is reality, to some extent. Once you map out how you want your brand to be perceived, you can strategically plan how to build and manage that persona.
Make sure you create a reasonable expectation for yourself; don’t try to change yourself or expect to suddenly become your perfect self. You are expected to be human and therefore fallible. Whew!
Your Personal Brand is your colors, fonts, pictures, logo, and more...
You get to decide what you like best, and use it! I spoke earlier about how my brand has changed over time and become exactly what I wanted. It sure didn't start out that way; it took me some time to build and to decide how I wanted to be perceived. I had to figure out how to present myself consistently. Most brands have standards, creating a consistent look and feel across all platforms and media.
I want you to think of Target. Every time you see that red and white target or the little dog with the bullseye over it’s right eye… you know exactly what’s coming. It’s also the same red every time and, the same fonts.
You don’t have to get as creative as Coca-Cola and create your very own font, but do choose which ones you will use and stick to them. You can keep your standards as simple as you like or get into great detail.
You probably already wear the same style of clothes to work each day and tend to use your favorite color palate… just take it a step further a purposefully define your style and then carry it over into all your collateral.
Have consistent colors, fonts, and more when you’re posting on social media, your blog, or any other outlet of your choice.
This is important because you want to begin teaching your audience to look out for your brand. If you keep changing it, they won’t recognize your brand when you’re trying to market yourself and become known.
People know me based on my business card and the little character I created that looks like me! When I meet someone and hand them a card, the first thing out of their mouth is “Wow, I love this card!”. I was very particular on the colors I used, the fonts, and I wanted to have a little fun with it too.
Your personal brand should resonate with your avatar.
It should appeal to them somehow. It needs to speak to their core values and what they desire in their business and/or life.
Last year, I talked about discovering the burning desire of your avatar and defining how you could meet that desire. I believe that process starts with your brand. The “burning desire” is the light at the end of your avatar’s tunnel, something they truly want for their life. It could be anything from time away from their business to moving into a new office space. Whatever it is, your brand’s voice needs to communicate to your audience that you’re the expert (the Influencer!) and you know exactly how to help them achieve their goal!
When you are consistent with your voice and your brand, you garner trust from your audience.
They know you, they recognize you and your voice. They trust that not only do you provide value, you want to help them achieve the things they want most out of life. Think back to earlier in this show when I mentioned that serving equals LOVE. If you are putting out all this amazing content, capturing your audience’s attention and have a consistent brand all while sharing your message out of love and the desire to help others succeed, there are no limits to whom you can reach and influence!
Special Guest Chantelle Adams
Chantelle Adams is a Professional Speaker, Speech Stylist, and Courage Igniter. She has delivered over 800 speeches in just 5 years and added more than 6 figures to her business through speaking. Now she teaches women entrepreneurs, authors, thought leaders and changemakers how to own their story and have the courage to share it while turning their message into a movement! Thank you for joining us, today, Chantelle.
Chantelle tells us how story marketing is vital to business growth and building relationships with influencers.
Chantelle has provided a free gift: 21 Ways to Get Booked to Speak
How do I know if my brand is appealing to my audience?
Listen. People will literally tell you… if you let them. If you aren’t getting feedback without asking… try asking! If no one enthusiastically proclaims that they LOVE your brand, then you likely have more work to do. (You don’t want people to feel “meh” about it.)
You Can Do This Branding Thing!
Remember that your personal brand consist of your colors, fonts, logo, face, and more! This teaches your audience how to recognize your voice and your brand when you’re marketing and promoting yourself. Your brand should be communicating your avatar’s values, showing them how you can help them achieve their dreams and goals.
Building a personal brand that resonates with your audience takes time, some deep thought and probably, some help from others around you! Don’t expect this to happen overnight. This is a process, not a destination...
I have a question for you.
Do you want to see the old brand side by side with the new one that I am talking about?
Answer me on your favorite social channel. If I get enough people who want to see the side by side I will share it with you!