Personal branding - Creating Your Marketing Mix
Creating a customized marketing mix to establish yourself as an authority in your industry
While every personal brand is unique, they all have one important thing in common: they communicate confidently with their target market. To position yourself as a thought leader with a strong brand, you must be clear about who you are and who you are not, and consistently communicate your message to those who need it most.
Richard Branson is someone with a clear, consistent brand message. He is not your typical stuffy CEO in a blue suit, white shirt and patent leather shoes. Instead, he's a risk-taker who sold airline tickets for Virgin before he even had a plane and signed the British punk-rock group the Sex Pistols on his record label when no one else would consider them. Outside of the professional arena, Branson stayed true to his daredevil ways and circumnavigated the world in a hot air balloon.
Once you know yourself, your unique offer of value and have a clear understanding of the needs of your target market, you can identify the right combination of communications tools to increase your visibility and credibility - making you the go-to person for your area of expertise. Your marketing plan needs to include a lot more than traditional tools such as your business card and brochure website. You need to consistently communicate your thought leadership by expressing your point of view and demonstrating your expertise through a customized marketing mix.
Everyone's marketing mix will be different depending on their goals and the needs of their target market.
Here are just a few areas to consider:
1. Speaking Engagements
Public speaking is an excellent way to communicate your brand message to multiple members of your target market. The words you choose, your facial expressions, the tone of your voice and the way you dress all give you the opportunity to communicate your passion, expertise and personality.
2. Article Marketing
In this new world of marketing we can now harness the power of the Internet to position ourselves as authorities in our industries. Writing articles and white papers that express your opinions and expertise allows you to get your brand out there in a big way. Getting published on multiple article submission sites (such as ezinearticles.com and e-how.com) will improve your search engine rankings and you'll be more in control of the content that is actually getting picked up. Regularly submitting content to the right article sites will consistently drive members of your target audience to your website or blog.
3. Develop a Newsletter (or Ezine)
One of the most important factors in creating a powerful personal brand is engaging your target market and offering information of value. One of the best ways to do this is to write a newsletter. Pick the main theme for your brand (mine is "building a powerful personal brand with style") and then create an "opt-in" box on your website that expresses your brand message through your newsletter so that people can sign up for it. You will need to use a contact management program such as Constant Contact or 1 Shopping Cart to manage your database and broadcasts. Ask your clients on a regular basis what they are struggling with or what are their greatest challenges; you will never be at a loss for content ideas.
4. Join the Blogosphere
Blogs (web logs) are an excellent platform from which you can promote your personal brand online and build both visibility and credibility. By creating an informative, engaging blog that is related to your area of expertise, you position yourself as a thought leader and stand out in a crowded marketplace - especially when used with these other components of a powerful marketing mix.
You can also encourage an interactive community by inviting comments from visitors - all strong brands solicit feedback and conversations from their target market. Blogging will also improve your search engine rankings, as the engines love new content. In other words, the more frequently you post, the higher your search engine rankings will be.
5. Get Social
Whether it's Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Ryze or a combination of many social media sites, this is one of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to get out there in a big way. The point is not to overtly sell your product or service, but to connect, engage and converse.
Offer tips, ideas and links that you think people will find helpful. Social media is not the forum for self-promotion; it's about sharing information - be it funny, enlightening, newsworthy, helpful or just plain random. You can stay on-brand and still engage and be of value to people.
To establish yourself as a thought leader and build a solid brand reputation, you must be clear and consistent. You can't be all things to all people. It's imperative to build you personal brand around who you are, what you stand for and what makes you relevant to those people who need to know about you most.
Creating a customized marketing mix will allow you to communicate your brand message consistently, establish yourself as an authority in your industry and ultimately attract more clients - online and off.
About the Author
Liz Dennery Sanders is the CEO of Dennery Marks Inc., a nationally acclaimed brand strategy and celebrity outreach firm, and SheBrand, a company dedicated to empowering other female entrepreneurs and small business owners to embrace success and create more money and freedom in their lives.