If someone in the tram asks you for a tempo and not a handkerchief, if you are offered a glass of Selter instead of a glass of water or if your 3-year-old niece wants a happy deal and not french fries and burgers – then these are realistic examples of successful branding.
We associate brands with giants like Nike, Apple or BMW. Small entrepreneurs, self-employed or medium-sized companies are quickly wavering away at their own brands. “I don’t have time or money for something like this,” is the most popular answer.
A brand is the way to more success and financial independence. Especially for small companies.
Your brand is what the people behind your back say
The word brand is perhaps somewhat misleading, which is why I would like to describe it with another term. The reputation.
The importance of a positive reputation is undisputed. Also for freelancers or small businesses. And everyone knows that one has only limited influence on a reputation. It develops, draws circles and can only be actively influenced to a certain degree. The same applies to one’s own brand.
For many entrepreneurs, this is amazing news: a brand does not have to be created first. A brand is always there. Yours too. Google your name in connection with your city. What do you find? Your company website, a profile to a social network, maybe even a rating?
If you see the brand as a reputation, you can now see that it already exists. The only question is, do you leave it to others to create your own personal brand or do you take the helm yourself?
Permission to be yourself
What distinguishes the personal brand from the classic brand is above all the person behind it. A study by Edelman from 2014 shows that people prefer to buy from people. Not from companies.
Our everyday life consists of advertising. No matter where we look, we see companies and organizations that want to sell or steal something from us. We all know what drives them: profit. Not our personal luck or our personal success.
If you put yourself in the foreground with your own brand, you will not only hit the nerve of time. You make your customers happy by creating trust with your personality. And this trust also pays off financially.
The personal brand is your permission, even your obligation, to be yourself. It’s not like a job interview: you don’t have to be able to do everything. And you don’t have to be perfect.
Your brand is your way to present yourself authentically, just as you are. That makes you credible. That creates trust. Author and sales professional Zig Ziglar described it as follows:
The Personal Brand of Today
In a saturated market, your own brand is the most effective way to stand out and, more importantly, to be remembered. Whatever niche you are looking for, at least globalization ensures that you are not the only one there. But that’s not a problem. Not if your brand works.
Let us think of the European royal houses. Surely you can spontaneously think of a few royal families, one or the other princess or a scandalous prince. Depending on how high your consumption of gossip magazines is, you can name more or less names here.
She produces nodders, prints cups, makes movies and even cartoons. There are many famous and important royal figures. But only the Queen is a real brand.
Another example: TV chefs. Maybe you can think of a few names, or just faces. But I bet you know him: Jamie Oliver. The man publishes one cookbook after another, produces cooking and food programmes, opens restaurants all over the world by his name, develops his own cooking accessories and countless DVDs.
To the Personal Brand in 5 steps
But enough theory. You now know the importance of a personal brand and its sales potential. You also learned that people prefer to buy from people and it is a win to put yourself in the focus of brand and business.
Before you can establish your brand, you need to know who you are and what you stand for. The market is flooded with personal brands. Choosing a general field like “marketing” or “coaching” is not enough.
You need to specialize and know exactly what you are offering for whom. So you’re not just someone who does something with marketing. You’re the marketing expert for freelancers in creative professions.
Find your values & your vision
What do you want to stand for? What should customers associate with your brand and your work? A very special personal customer service? A relaxed approach? Revolutionary, creative approaches? Only if you know where you want to go and how you want to look outward can you work on exactly this image.
Think about who you really are.
If you’re not a marketing lion, you can go outside as well. Then your special ability is, for example, to recognize your customers’ problems before they see them. Because you are such a good listener and not a market crier.