Each and every product of Apple is fantastic. They are simply awesome, isn’t it? The pre-launch sales of such products are in billions. Can you tell me the reason for this? They do not perform any kind of high profile marketing, but still their products are widely accepted and appreciated. It is because they have created a brand for themselves. It is the excellent process of branding that makes this possible.
Branding is the process with which you create an image for your products. You give identification to your products. You make your people believe that your product is the only product in the market which can help them solve their problems. People believed that Apple iPod is their only solution for good music listening.
Imagine if you could create a brand for yourself. Think yourself as a product placed alongside your competitors in a showroom. Customers check you along with your competitors. Tell me, what is the most determinant decision making factor in here? Obviously, it’s the quality of both the products. But, let’s say, both you as well as your competitors have equal quality. Now what is the factor that control customers’ mind? Yes, it’s the presentation. It is the packaging that will make customers attract buy you over your competitors. This is what we call personal branding.
Personal branding is the way you market yourself to the world. Your personal brand is what people think of you, what identifies and distinguishes you from your competition. With personal branding, your customers recognize you as their only problem solver. You have your genre and personal branding is the way to be the king of your genre.
Many of you might not know that the term personal branding origins from an article that Tom Peters wrote for Fast Company, called as “The Brand Called You” . This article basically gave us the first view of personal branding. The snowball effect kicked off and today, personal branding is taken as the most important consideration while building a profile. You have many personal branding experts that give you their best tips to create a personal brand. Actually, the idea of personal branding was always in the environment. What used to be called as reputation building, credibility building, personal marketing, is now referred as personal branding, thanks to Tom Peters.
Personal branding is very important in today’s competitive labor market. Personal branding is extremely critical for your career so that people can easily identify you from the rest of the bunch. With personal branding:
- You can deliver your message clearly to your target prospects.
- You can gain that very special customer credibility.
- You can strengthen user loyalty.
- You will be able to create a connection with your target prospects.
- You will be able to motivate your buyers.
Personal branding helps you achieve the above mentioned targets, with ease. You are able to create a separate market place for yourself.
Two segments highly benefit from successful personal branding, one is the obvious business market, the second is the student market. Let’s see how personal branding delivers to each one of them.
Personal branding is a very powerful tool when it comes to business. I cannot give a better example than the man himself, Steve Jobs. He started and successfully ran a business. Not only did he create a brand for his products but also create an effective personal brand for himself. Techies were just crazy about him and his products. Steve Jobs created such a strong personal brand that led his Apple to new success. Personal branding helps you stand out from the rest. It lets people believe that you have the best solution (over your competitors) for their troubles. Here are some reasons why you should create a personal brand for your freelancing business:
The biggest advantage of personal branding is that it allows you to be unique so that your prospects can differentiate you from your competitors. Your personal brand helps your target customers to identify from a pool of peers. It gives you that extra competitive edge which is required for success.
The entire business of selling any product or services narrows down to presentation. It’s similar to a restaurant business. The food is almost same everywhere. But restaurant owners use their interior design and customer service to create a personal brand for themselves. Personal branding helps you to influence customers’ perception on you as well as on your competitors. Create that awareness for your products or services with personal branding.
Personality in Business:
The ultimate goal of personal branding is to be known for who you are, what you stand for and what you do for others. Your brand is deeply rooted in your authentic personal identity. Your brand is a reflection of your values, opinions and beliefs. Your online as well as offline brand should be a reflection of value that you can add to your customers and people in your network.
Personal branding allows you to become a leader/expert in your market. Become the first one to come to mind when your prospect needs a problem solved. For this, you definitely need to create a long-lasting and a rewarding impression. Trust, respect, admiration are the crucial elements that you get from your target market.
More Sales in Less Time:
A strong and an effective personal brand attract more and more customers in less amount of time, hence providing an increase in sales. You have become an expert or a leader in your market. People will quickly recall your brand each time they face a problem. Once you have a strong brand, you will be able to pick and choose your clients. You can charge them for a desired amount of fee.
Let us see what personal branding has in store for students.
Before telling you how personal branding affects students, take a look at this Microsoft Reputation Study which reveals that 70% of human resource professionals have rejected job candidates based on the information they found online (mostly on social networks). This alone implies the extreme importance of personal branding, especially when you begin your professional career. Check out some of the advantages that personal branding provides for students.
Get a Job:
The competition is cut-throat. The labor market is tough. Employers want best of the best for their companies. Employers are looking for a differentiation. They are searching for a unique factor in their prospects that can add value to their company. This can only be provided and conveyed through an attractive personal brand. You can do this by creating a brand for yourself via online resume or an excellent portfolio. The above research clearly implies the cruciality of online personal brand when it comes to jobs.
Show your passion/interests:
A personal brand is a way to show off your passion and interests. It is a place to highlight your expertise and experience in the chosen career path. Students find it very difficult to align their passion with the skill set. Personal branding makes it easy to collage. Employers prefer experienced prospects more than fresh graduates. Showing off your skills, knowledge and expertise in the correct manner can get you that required job.
Effective personal branding makes you more and more noticeable. People regularly see your name in the internet. This piques interest in them. They would definitely want them to create a relationship with you. You will get more and more request. You can personally choose the most relevant people who could profit you in present or future.
Social Media Presence:Social networks are slowly becoming the online dictionary. More and more businesses are also making use of social networks to recruit people. Hence, it is very important to maintain a strong and a professional social media presence. People should get a sense of professionalism every time they see your profile. Make companies urge to employ you with personal branding in social media.
This entire guide is totally dedicated to personal branding for students. So we will keep the entire focus on students and how they should create their very own personal brand.
Students can use personal branding to showcase their unique ‘X’ factor. It is process of staying unique from the peers. An impressive resume may get you noticed but an all-round online presence can land you on a job interview on its own. Creating an online student personal brand is a very easy task. For those who don’t believe, here are the best and the simplest tips.
The first thing that you need to do is to Google search your name. See what pops up. Make a list of all the social networks in which you are active and also which you neglected. With a number of growing social networks, you never know the amount of information that is just present online about you. Some may attract an employer while some may reject your resume. Your task is to filter out all the unwanted online information.
Deactivate all the long forgotten accounts. A prospective employer may find something unprofessional or embarrassing on your old blog. The next thing is to filter out the contents of your social networks. You do not want your employer to see you in a rave party. Remove all the unfortunate tweets, comments and questionable photos. Basically erase all the unprofessional content from your public accounts. Do not keep anything that you think can repel your employer. For those who doubt, read the fact where 91% of employers using social media to check out potential candidates and 69% of those rejecting a candidate based on their findings. There are a number of examples where people have lost their job because of their social media updates.
The next important thing is to begin the process of self-promoting on social networks, forums, and search engines. Be sure that your account shows up in searches. This is crucial when two persons have similar names. Optimize your account so that employers first click on your account, rather than clicking on your competitors’. Join various social media sites, groups and other niche networks. Promote your brand by generating various interests among your niche members. Popularize your online presence so that your potential employers could find you.
This is the area where many students commit mistake. They fail to maintain a level of consistency across all the social networks. In here, you need to decide your brand message and make sure it’s consistent across all the social networks. Your brand message should convey your interests, personal strengths, experience, and future goals. Your brand message should be the answer to your employers’ question “Why should we choose you?”. Your brand message differentiates you from the rest of the herd.
Use the same name and a professional picture across all the social networks, blogs, portfolios etc. Your brand message should be consistent in all the methods of self-promotion. Avoid typos, grammar and punctuation mistakes in your profile.
You have begun building your personal brand. Now is the time to expand your network by making connections with other contacts that belong to your niche. Build relationships with likeminded people for the purpose of career advantages. Find the most relevant contacts in standard networking sites along with other industry related networks such as devianART, SoundCloud, Social Media Examiner Clubs.
Blogging and Showcasing:
Tell the entire world how much you know about your niche. Show the world what you can do. The best practice for this is blogging. Blogging allows you to fully exploit your ability. Blog about your interests, studies, show off your experience. Share/Produce interesting content and opinions about industry related topics. Blogging is the best way to showcase your expertise without having any experience in hand. A video animator can create an animated video and upload it on YouTube. An aspiring photographer can upload some of his/her amazing snaps on photo sharing site such as Flickr. There are a number of free blogging platforms which provides you an ample opportunity to showcase your talent.
Students have already started embracing personal brand as their employment tool. It is very important to set yourself apart in this competitive world. Start creating your own personal brand.