This post is a summary of a presentation about professional branding that was made to the members of The Network Of Consulting Professionals. It offers tips on brand strategy and communication for professionals, consultants, advisors, coaches and SMEs, whether they are startups designing their brand from a zero base, or already progressing towards the achievement of their vision.
Like it or not you have a brand!Branding is not optional. People form an opinion within 3 seconds of meeting you or reading about you and your services. It becomes your reputation and therefore your brand. So it is smart to optimise it.You have a choice: be passive or drive your brand and MAKE IT WORK for you! Live with indifference or BUILD DESIRE!Building brand power focuses on making your brand ATTRACT easily, CONNECT naturally and ENGAGE strongly in valuable relationships with your ideal prospects and customers and your ideal partners.Trying to be all things to all people does not help attract the people with whom you could connect and build any solid connections.
The first step is to define your "brand assets". Typically they include
You also need to define a set of essential branding markers such as
Sound branding with a powerful "WHY" can make the difference between success and failure, endless energy or growing frustration. These 2 sets of elements shape your "Why". Take the time to think/rethink these carefully and honestly. ...
Of course your brand only thrives if it has customers who know it, understand it and love it. So you need to know your customers, understand their behaviours and their motivations, the kind of outcomes they want. Map your clients and their emotional and functional needs. Look for what makes those customers "ideal".Defining the "perfect fit" makes it easy to attract and engage in valuable relationships and it gives you a strong chance to turn your customers into ambassadors for your brand.
The 3rd piece of the branding jigsaw puzzle is your competition. Benchmark your competition regularly. Without that, you can't differentiate your brand.There is no long term profit in being just a "me too". Learn from what they seem to do well and not so well. Define what you can do or can/could do better (by yourself or with your "partners"). Think about the way "partners" can help you increase your edge and ho you can help them increase their edge. When you are an active member of The Network Of Consulting Professionals, it is easy to establish powerful win-win partnerships that deliver exceptional outcomes to your clients.
Step outside your business-owner-shoes, look at your website (brochures, presentations, office ...) and your brand from your ideal customers' perspective. Ask yourself these 9 questions:
If you found these questions challenging, seek help. You are missing out on opportunities.Give yourself a strong edge: Design, review and update your brand and your communication for your ideal customer. Contact me if you want a brand and communication review and recommendations.