Before you can start building your brand’s experience for customers, you need to take some fundamental first steps to define the kind of brand you want to be. At first glance, defining your brand may seem easy, but it takes some soul searching, decision making and data gathering.
To create a personal brand, you need to determine the following:
- What we stand for?
- What is our promise to our customer?
- What do we offer that’s different/unique from others in this market?
- What types of products and services do our customers expect?
- Who is our customer?
- What do we communicate?
- How do we communicate?
- What is your budget?
When defining your brand, put as much clarity as possible into how the brand and business is described, so that you can build a specific brand experience to match it. Here are three key steps to help you get there:
Make an inventory of your skills. List out what you are especially good at and what you want your customers to think of when your brand comes to mind.
What are your customers’ needs? From your list of skills, identify those that your customers particularly need. You should define your brand based on your ability to fulfill such demands.
Focus on what differentiates. It’s important for your brand to be different than other similar options available to customers. Your goal is to be different and better than your competition.
Take, for example, someone going into business as a lawyer. It’s pretty easy to define that brand — a person who practices law, right? But to build a brand around his practice, a lawyer needs to determine specifically what kind of law he focuses on and what kind of client he is targeting before any marketing can begin. That means thinking through what regions of the world, categories of law, style of service and other offerings he brings to the table.
A well-defined lawyer wouldn’t just say he “practices law.” He would be much more definitive and specific about his focus if he wants customers to see his business as a brand. So instead of calling himself a “practicing lawyer,” he may define his brand as a “compassionate attorney specializing in family law in the state of California, servicing women who need help getting through the tough times in their lives.”
Notice the clarity in the brand definition? While it’s important to be as specific as possible, you also want to be careful not to box your business in with a tightly constrained brand definition. The trick is to balance specificity, focus and differentiation with the ability to expand.