Whether you work for an organization or for yourself, you are a brand. If you haven't fit time for personal branding into your work life balance, you're going to want to make time — as soon as possible.
Today, in my Miami Herald Business Monday article, I spoke with a variety of experts who offered up lots of advice for how to go about creating, building and sustaining a brand. See below:
(above: steve stock, president of Guy Harvey Inc, a strong South Florida brand)
Just weeks ago, in Midtown Manhattan, about a dozen bright colored exotic cars emblazed with “It’s So Miami” were lined up at a makeshift taxi stand. As New Yorkers and tourists snaked for miles in line for a free ride in a red Maserati or yellow Lamborghini, they were given Cuban coffee and coconut juice to sip on. The event, a media hit, was organized by Turkel Brands in a strategic move to brand Miami as a hip town with unique cultural contrasts that New York doesn’t offer.
It was simply the latest effort by the Miami agency that has spent the last two decades solidifying the brand Miami as a culturally interesting and exciting town.
But along with branding Miami, Turkel has created buzz for himself as a branding genius, publishing a blog, speaking at events and writing books about how to create a brand identity or make an existing one more valuable. “In the last few weeks, I have had offers to sit on boards. They said they want to have my brand associated with their organization. I’ve never heard that before. That says to me, in the real world, things are changing.”
Today, whether you are an individual or business, an employee or an owner, developing a strong brand is imperative. The marketplace of products, services and content is like a crowded New York City street and your prospective buyer is deflecting thousands of messages competing for a person’s attention.
Destinations like Miami know this. Businessmen like Bruce Turkel know this. They have pushed through the crowd to gain awareness for what makes them special. They are branded, much like the cross-trainer you wear with the distinctive swoosh on the side. And now, you and the business you work for must be branded, too.
Here’s why: Half of employers say they are more likely to hire candidates that invested time in developing a strong online brand, according to Personnel Today. A strong corporate brand image can increase a company’s stock price by an average of 7 percent, according to a Yankelovich study. And, 85 percent of buyers go online to research purchases. At some point, you and your business category will be Googled and your digital brand will sell your unique strengths and distinguish you from the pack.
But branding yourself or your business can be trickier than you might think. Experts say you need to define your audience, find a niche without making it too narrow, and come across as authentic. “Your brand has to be about your audience and what is relevant to them,” Turkel says.
BRUCE TURKEL’S SEVEN POINTS THAT BUILD YOUR BRAND
1. It’s all about them. People care most about things that affect them. In order to reach them, you need to communicate in a way that informs them “what’s in it for me?
2. Hearts then minds. People make decisions based on emotions and justify their decisions with facts. To get someone to pay attention, you must get them emotionally involved.
3. Make it simple. Today’s world is a busy, confusing place. To make an impression and an impact, your message must be succinct and digestible.
4. Make it quick. Things happen so fast these days that if you take your time, no one will wait around for you to explain your entire message
5. Make it yours. A message is truly powerful only if it is associated with you or your product. Make sure that the message you’re presenting belongs only to you
6. All five senses. Conversations involve all the human senses. To communicate effectively, be sure that you’re engaging as many of your audiences’ senses as possible.
7. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Conversations involve all the human senses. To communicate effectively, be sure that you’re engaging as many of your audiences’ senses as possible.