When you think of company brands there are probably a handful of specific names or logos that immediately come to mind. You probably think of the golden arches of McDonald’s, the Nike Swoosh, or the Apple with a bite in it. These are all examples of some of the most recognizable brands in the world.
Whether you realize it or not, there are other thoughts that come to mind when you think of these logos. Nike’s logo brings a sense of competition and quality athletic wear. McDonald’s usually brings memories of delicious food and happy meals. The Apple logo makes you think of innovation and new technologies.
The power of a brand is that it easily and instantly creates a certain feeling for the consumer. The brand can make the consumer feel happy, cool, or trusting. Unsurprisingly, companies spend a lot of time and money trying to get their brand just right.
The Importance Of Branding
By definition, branding is a marketing practice in which a company creates a name, symbol, or logo that is easily identifiable to that company.
However, the importance of branding goes much deeper than just creating a snazzy logo with coordinated colors. A company’s brand is what customers will immediately associate that company with and it will be what comes to mind when they think of that company. A company’s brand is what distinguishes it from other companies and creates a memorable impression on the consumer.
So why is branding so important? Simply put, a strong brand can help in the following areas:
1. Improving Brand Awareness – Creating an easily identifiable brand can help customers remember and recognize your company.
2. Generating New Customers – A good brand has no trouble creating a referral business from satisfied consumers. Once a brand has created consumers, positive word of mouth will help bring in new ones.
3. Retaining Customers -Brand loyalty is one of the top reasons that consumers keep coming back to the same companies. If you have strong brand loyalty you’ll keep consumers for life.
4. Creates Trust – Once customers are familiar with a company and its products/services, they will trust them to provide the same level of service again. This is what helped Amazon become such a dominant force.
5. Increases Business Value – Lots of companies are highly valued simply because of their brand. Take Tesla for example. They recently became the most valuable car company in the U.S. even though they don’t sell nearly as many cars as Ford or General Motors. Tesla just has a much stronger brand.
These are all areas that are improved when a company understands the importance of branding. But branding is not just limited to companies. Every single person has their own personal brand. Your personal brand is what people think of when they think of your name.
Why You Need A Brand
Let’s focus on #5 for a second. Branding increases the value of the business.
Strong branding is the reason that a pair of Air Jordan shoes can cost thousands of dollars whereas New Balance shoes go for much cheaper. Strong branding is also one of the reasons that Starbucks (out of thousands of other coffee chains) rose above others to become the global leader in their space.
Consumers know that when they buy a pair of Air Jordan’s they will be top quality and will win the respect of their peers. They also know that when they visit a Starbucks, the atmosphere will be cozy and the drinks will be delicious.
When it comes to personal branding, the big question is what do you want people to think of when they think of you?
Let’s look at some of the main reasons why you should create or work to improve your own brand.
1. Increase your value – As mentioned, name brand products always fetch higher prices than off-brand products. You want to be a name brand product because you’ll be able to demand a higher price. This is easier said than done, however. You can’t just spike your prices for no reason. Instead, focus on offering a higher quality of work.
2. Charge higher prices – If you have a strong brand as an influencer and content creator, you’ll be able to command higher prices from companies.
3. Name recognition – You want your name to be quickly associated with your brand. When people think of you, they should think of your brand and the values it exemplifies.
4. Creates a stronger following – There are millions of coffee shops out there. What makes people keep going back to Starbucks? There are a lot of answers but essentially it’s because it has become a habit for them. They like the drinks and know what they can expect. The same can be done for your followers where people just get in the habit of visiting them.
5. It’s easier than you think – With all of the resources available on the internet (social media, Linkedin, online courses, etc.) you have everything you need to improve your personal brand. Use your social pages to reflect and reinforce your brand. Or use sites like uDemy to learn new skills.
Creating and maintaining your personal brand is essential in today’s society and can be the difference in your creative efforts on social media.
How A Personal Brand Helps Your Career
Similarly to building a reputation, building a personal brand will take quite a bit of time.
The good news is that the work you do to build your brand is usually front-loaded. By front-loaded, we mean that you will have to do a lot of initial work but will see dividends from that work for years to come.
For example, say you invest money to buy a higher quality camera and take trips out into nature to shoot for your Instagram page. At first, it may seem like you’ve just spent a lot of money and are wasting your time. However, higher quality photos will inevitably result in better-looking pictures. This will bring more people to your Instagram page and grow your following. As this happens, you will look more valuable when companies come to work with you.
Consider This – Once individuals have risen to high levels in a company and have a proven track record of success, they start to get headhunted by other companies. For example, arts and crafts retailer Michaels hired Ashley Buchanan to be their new CEO. Ashley was the former Chief Merchandising Officer at Walmart as well as the Chief Merchandising Officer at Sam’s Club.
These are all big-time positions at huge companies. Is Ashley getting these positions because he applied on Glassdoor or Indeed? No. He got them because he has a strong personal brand and a track record of success and professionalism. Other companies are paying attention to what he’s doing and want to get him on their team.
The same is true for influencers. Once you’ve reached a certain level, you start to become famous for just being an influencer. We’d bet there are already people out there who you only know because of their social media pages.
5 Steps To Creating Your Brand
So now that we’ve identified the importance of creating and improving your personal brand, let’s take a look at some ways to go about getting started.
1. Identify your main values/interests – These will be the core foundation of your brand. Essentially, decide what you want people to think of when they think of you. Are you a hard-worker? Do you have a good sense of humor? Do you love the outdoors? Once you’ve identified your main values, make sure that you’re carrying them across all aspects of your pages.
2. Learn New Skills – Whatever your niche is, think about how you can improve on your work. This goes deeper than just taking better pictures. If you learn new things or try new products, you can pass your newfound knowledge on to your followers.
3. Think of your social pages as a business asset – Social media is a powerful tool. Go through all your social pages and make sure that the images and messages on them are reflecting the personal brand that you’re trying to build. Every time you post something, take a moment to think about how it’s going to impact your brand.
4. Network – Both in social media and in person, go out of your way to meet new people. You never know where your next opportunity will come from and more often than not, it will come from someone new. The more new people you meet, the more opportunity you have to improve your own life and help others. For a much more detailed guide on networking, click here.
5. Create a high standard for your work – Create standards for what you think is acceptable for your pages. Go through and delete anything that you think doesn’t meet those standards. Now maintain this standard as you continue to create new content.
We hope that you found this article useful in creating your own personal brand and hope that you use it to help further your career! If you have any questions or comments feel free to let us know below!