Branding is about creating a positive impression by communicating your business’s values, character and attributes to the world, but the process isn’t just effective for businesses. Branding can be successfully applied to you and your career. Personal branding helps you define yourself and create a professional image that leaves people with a positive perception about you and your work. For small business owners, it can be even more important to ensure that your business brand and personal brand are aligned.
Consider Objectives and Goals
Take the time to think about not only your business objectives and aspirations, but also your professional ones. Develop a business strategy that helps pave the way to achieving those objectives and goals, then create a personal strategy that complements your business aspirations. Determine your strengths and weaknesses and those of your business. Look at tactics, such as professional development and learning opportunities, which can help you in areas that need improvement. Consider how improving these skills may also help address challenges you face within your business.
Define Characteristics and Qualities
Take the time to reflect on what you want your business brand to convey to your customers and outside audience. Make a list of descriptive words that embody the essence of your business brand, such as leadership, expertise, innovative, genuine, loyal. Then consider whether these same words can be applied to your personal brand. The goal is to determine your business’s attributes and intertwine them into your personal brand. Develop a personal brand based on clearly defining who you are and who you are not. Do the same for your business, ensuring that values and characteristics are aligned.
Establish a Presence
Once you’ve developed your personal and business brand, create a strategy to promote them. Whether it’s through networking opportunities or building an online presence, be sure to promote your brand and professional image consistently across all mediums. This includes any social media tools you use outside of your business, such as a personal Facebook page or twitter account. Remember that as a business owner, how you conduct yourself personally can and will impact your business brand.
Ask for feedback and evaluate the effectiveness of your brand. Are the messages and image you want to portray coming across effectively. Take advantage of online survey services and look to loyal customers for feedback on your business brand. Ask your personal and close colleagues what they see as your personal strengths and values to determine if their perceptions match the impression you want to portray. Be realistic and honest with any feedback you may receive and be proactive with reinforcing your personal and business brand.
Remember that your brand, whether personal or professional, is a fluid thing. It’s important to re-evaluate how you convey your image and what that image conveys. Taking the time to align both your professional and business brand is important to strengthening your reputation, developing relationships and building trust and loyalty with your customers.
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