A Person As A Brand: How To Build Dominant Brand Value

Person As A Brand
Does a person have to become a brand if the person’s business has to succeed? 
 
The truth is that all business owners already are brands reflecting some value to others. But, unless they consciously take control of their personal branding, their brands’ cues may not be what they want to be known for

What is a personal brand, and what is the benefit of being one? Wikipedia has an answer that explains the advantage: 
 
“Personal branding is the conscious and intentional effort to create a public perception of an individual by positioning them as an authority in their industry and elevating their credibility. The process of personal branding involves finding your uniqueness and building a reputation on the things you want to be known for. Ultimately, the goal is to create some value that conveys a message, and that can be monetized.”
 
With this definition in hand, let’s get to the next steps: how to build a personal brand with values that can be strategically monetized …

Contents ...

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The 6 types of personal brands that psychologists emphasize

Bryan Kramer writes on his blog that even though there are as many personal brands as there are people in this world, six types of personal brands stand out (according to a 2011 New York Times article).
 
What are these 6 types of dominant personal brands? Here’s the list …
 
  • Altruists are individuals who are highly recognized brands for their determination and zeal to help others.
  • Careerists are those personal brands motivated by professional advancement more than any other type of goal.
  • Hipsters are well-known personal brands that already are, or want to be seen, as highly individualistic.
  • Boomerangs are those personal brands that love attracting attention to themselves by starting controversies.
  • Connectors are personal brands that go out of their way to bring people together.
  • Selectives are personal brands that carefully curate what others should be allowed to know about them.
 

If we try to look at famous personal brands in business – like Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, or Mark Zuckerberg – which type would you say each one is?

In his article, though, Bryan Kramer says trying to be one of these standout brand persona types would not be authentic.

Bryan Kramer

"At its best, your brand should be a true reflection of who you are. This includes everything from your current skillset to your personal values. If showcased correctly, those who identify with who you are will recognize you as a thought leader within your community. Which is why it’s so important for you to correctly personify what makes you truly unique."

While building personal brands has distinct advantages, especially in online business, there is also a flip side to it that we must be careful of. Anand Giridharadas, writing in the New York Times, has this to say:

Anand Giridharadas

"Personal branding will, of course, change not just big institutions but also the lives of brandable individuals. Will it improve job security or simply increase our anxiety? Will it divert power and influence from the well-educated to the merely well-branded? Will brand-building distract us? And in marketing ourselves, will we neglect the pursuit of actually improving?"

Clearly, personal branding has become imperative, but it has to go hand in hand with authenticity … and we have to beware of trying to be a brand while lacking real substance.

Stats Corner: 10 data points on the value of personal brands 

  1. 74% of American consumers would likely trust someone who has a respected personal brand. (Brand Builders)
  2. 63% of Americans are likely to buy from a person who has built a personal brand. (Brand Builders)
  3. It takes five to seven impressions for someone to remember your brand. (Pam Marketing Nut)
  4. Americans think those labeled as experts are more credible than CEOs, owners, and founders. (Brand Builders)
  5. 76% of Millenials born from 1977 to 1986 say they are more likely to buy from someone with an established personal brand. (Brand Builders)
  6. 41 percent of Gen Z consider a “personal brand” to be someone who is well-known. (Brand Builders)
  7. 70% of older millennials think that companies should teach their employers the proper way to build their personal brand. (Brand Builders)
  8. 61% of American consumers are most likely to buy from companies whose founders or executives have established a good personal brand. (Brand Builders)
  9. 58% of Americans would be willing to pay more to receive their services from a professional who doesn’t work at a large company but has an established personal brand. (Brand Builders)
  10. Reputation damage is the No. 1 risk concern for business owners and executives around the world. (Deloitte)

The 8 solid steps to take to build a dominant personal brand

Here is my list of 8 solid steps to take to build a personal brand that can stamp itself on the online space as a leader. Just follow this formula consistently – and persistently – because I have done this all my professional life and have seen great growth as a result. I want that for you too!
8 Solid Steps To Personal Branding
(Please use this infographic with credits intact.)

1. Define your brand and target audience with total clarity

There are generally three ways that personal brands are created. Some entrepreneurs or business owners who want to become strong personal brands first check the market and identify the “lucrative” target audience segments. They then shape their personal brands to attract these target segments.

Some other personal brand builders – primarily those who have had strong professional backgrounds and careers already – may like to look at their accumulated experience, expertise, and competence in an area where they have achieved much. They may then look for audience segments to whom their wealth of knowledge or skills may be attractive.

The third group of personal brand builders are those who may or may not have had previous areas of expertise but would like to cultivate a passion area into an area of specialization as a personal brand. If this is the route you want to take, it may require acquiring some depth and breadth in your passion topic. But you can always find a target segment to whom you can impart what you know or sell products or services.

My recommendation is that you, as a personal brand, determine first how you want to project your experience or passion as a brand and what you’d like to sell. Finding audiences must come second. I favor this method because unless you are engaged in a field where you enjoy life, you can’t become someone are not comfortable with just to serve a lucrative target segment.

6 tips to clarifying your brand and your target audience ...

1. Define your brand’s purpose: Money may be the ultimate reason for being in business, but what else does your brand stand for? Clearly articulate the reason for your brand’s existence beyond just making money. This will help you define your values and ensure that they are aligned with your overall mission.

2. Conduct a values audit: If you already have a business, take stock of your current brand values and assess whether they are still relevant and authentic, given the current market and audiences. Consider asking your peers, teams, customers, and other stakeholders for inputs, apart from your audit data.

3. Plan and prioritize your brand values: You cannot have too many values to communicate. Pick the important one or two that feel unique or special, and plan how you will make these values evident in everything you do, from the products or services you offer to the way you interact with customers. 

4. Conduct market research on your target audiences first: Research from reputed market intelligence sources will help you generally learn more about your audience’s needs, preferences, and pain points. Narrow down your target segments to get focused on a specific set of people with similar characteristics.

5. Engage with your audience online as a second step: Connect with your audience through social media, blog comments, and email to get to know them better and learn what they want from your personal brand. This one-to-one kind of research is always qualitatively far superior to generalized research data.

6. Analyze your competition’s audiences as a third step: Look at who your nearest competitors could be and which target segments they are catering to. This can help you differentiate either your brand or your target segments – or identify potential gaps in the market that you can plan to exploit.

A great example of a framwork that helps clarify your personal brand ...

Anna Lundberg has created a pyramidic framework that has helped her articulate what her personal brand stands for. If you, too, would like to delve into all the layers that go into your personal brand, this is a great framework to follow.

I like the way Anna has arrayed her levels of analysis, starting from her “tangible brand” at the bottom layer to the more intangible concepts that her brand resonates with towards the top of the pyramid. Right on top is her brand purpose. Notice also that her purpose is to live by her definition of her success and help others to do so. Therein lies her value to her audiences.

Personal Brand Framework
(Image credits: Anna Lundberg)

2. Develop your unique value proposition – your promise

What is your Unique Value Proposition (also known as UVP)? It is a statement of intent of how your personal brand plans to provide unique or exceptional value to your customers. Remember that it also has to be a promise that differentiates you clearly from your competitors. So you have to think a bit deeper into this UVP articulation.

There are two factors to consider when planning your UVP. One, your UVP must not be what you can promise, but it needs to be about how the customer can derive a benefit. Two, you may have many different customer segments to target, so your value to each segment may need to be differently articulated, even if the core value of your UVP is basically the same.

Another factor that most personal brands don’t cosider is the value customers see in a brand as compared to the price. Customers always do a mental “cost-benefit” analysis. They wouldn’t say to themselves, “Hello, we have a great brand here. Let me try it!” They would say, “For its price, this brand seems to offer good value to me!” So it always helps to frame your UVP with some idea in your mind about your pricing strategy. At least know whether you are going to price low, medium, or high as a principle.

Sometimes, it may happen that if you manage to find a new and unique value proposition for your personal brand, you may actually open a whole new untapped market. For instance, a man who was great at fitting shoes for artificial legs for amputees realized his skill could be used to create stylish shoes for women with tiny feet compared to their body size (normally, they had to get children’s sizes and designs). He found an underserved target market.

6 tips to articulating and fine-tuning your unique value proposition ...

1. Identify the unique benefits of your product or service: Focus on benefits. Your UVP should highlight the advantages of your product or service rather than just listing features. What value does it provide to your customers? How will your offering solve a problem or improve your customers’ lives?

2. Understand the competition: No value proposition can be created in isolation. A UVP is, by definition, the difference between your value and that of competitive brands. Differentiate yourself from other businesses in your industry. Determine your competitive advantage. What sets you apart?

3. Keep it simple: Your value proposition should be easy to articulate, communicate, and understand. Avoid using industry jargon or complicated language that may confuse your target audience. Your value proposition should answer the question: “Who am I … and why buy me?”

4. Make it memorable: A strong UVP should be memorable and stick in the minds of your audience. Consider using a tagline or slogan to help reinforce your UVP and make it more special. Use specific and actionable language in your UVP. Avoid vague or abstract language and focus on the concrete benefits.

5. Use customer feedback: If you’ve been in business for a while already, look to your current and past customers for insights into what they value most about your product or service. This can help you refine and strengthen your value proposition. Also, test your UVP with peers, friends’ or networks for objectivity. 

6. Test and refine: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different versions of your UVP to see what works best. Test different messaging, see what resonates with your target audience, and be open to refining your approach based on what works. Each time you refine your UVP, give it some time to check if it’s working.

A great example of a tool that shows how to write your unique value proposition ...

I chanced upon a great video from Stephen Houraghan of Brand Master Academy that explains a simple three-step process to defining your Unique Value Proposition. The best part of this video is that it explains a formula for writing down your value proposition statement.

When you use this simple formula to define your UVP, you are forced to think through exactly how you, as a brand, offer a set of customers a differentiated value. You are made to articulate your customer segment, precisely what you offer, and how it differs from competitive offerings. It’s a practical way to get to your best UVP articulation.

3. Create a consistent online presence that's harmonious

We are now in an age of “multi-screen consumers”. Have many personal brands thought about how best to stay consistent in the messaging to multi-screen consumers? Many expert marketers have come up with very interesting views. 

One line of thought from some experts says that despite the plethora of screens of all sizes becoming more available to consumers, the smartphone will remain the center of the multi-screen world, and therein lies the potential for coherence in the creation of cross-screen brand campaigns. In fact, the mobile screen may become the “remote control” to all the other screens in our lives.

Another line of expert thought says that the key challenge that brands will face in trying to make sense to multi-screen consumers will be to ensure that the consumer journey is seamlessly connected across screens and devices. Brands will therefore have to ensure that information sets on different screens augment each other and do not replicate each other … while also providing a cohesive experience.

But the broader perspective of every thought-leader is that it’s imperative for all brands (including personal brands) to maintain a coherent and harmonious online presence, whichever type of screen the reader uses, regularly or sporadically. Building a Brand Style Manual will help you stay consistent.

6 tips on creating a consistent and harmonious brand presence ...

1. Create a visual and sound identity for your brand that are both interlinked: Most personal brands only think of a visual logo or tagline as their identity elements. But remember to create a logo sound to include at the start and end of podcasts where your visual logo cannot be seen. Consider how your logo sound will be used and how it will fit into your overall brand identity.

2. Create your brand style guide: A style guide is a document that outlines the key elements of your brand’s visual identity, including things like color palette, typography, and imagery. This helps ensure that all your marketing materials are cohesive and maintain a consistent look and feel. Include examples of how to apply your brand assets to various formats or devices.

3. Establish more detailed guidelines for brand tone and messaging: This should include guidance on communicating with your audience and any specific messaging guidelines (e.g., language to use or avoid). Clearly define your brand’s voice and tone, and messaging style. See if you want to be formal, semi-formal, or informal. Add examples of tone and style to your brand manual.

4. Keep messaging consistent: Use a consistent tone and language in all communications. Make sure that your brand is consistently represented across all channels, including your website, social media accounts, and any other online platforms you use … as well as in guest blogs or externally hosted content. 

5. Make sure all content is “on-brand”: All content you create, whether blog posts, social media updates, or email newsletters, should be aligned with your brand’s values and messaging. This helps to build trust and credibility with your audience. Avoid displaying a schizophrenic brand personality that see-saws between different devices or social channels to match the milieu.

6. Be consistent in your posting schedule: Establish a regular posting schedule and stick to it as much as possible. This helps establish a consistent presence and ensures that your audience knows when to expect new content. Utilize a content calendar to plan your posts, and then post with reliable regularity.

A great example of how to build your personal brand's style manual ...

Of all the brand style manuals I have seen, the one that keeps lingering in my memory is the one from Skype. It follows an informal style that makes branding sound fun and engaging. But at the same time, it delivers all the right punches on what can and cannot be done with Skype’s branding elements to maintain that consistent presence wherever it’s seen online. Personal brands would do well to follow a similar style. 

A sample of some of the pages of the Skype Brand Manual is shown below … but you should use the ink below the image to download and go through the whole manual. Build one exactly like this for your personal brand.

Skype Brand Manual
(Download the full Skype Brand Manual)

4. Network a lot and maintain all your valuable contacts

A beautiful quote (by someone I’ve never discovered) says, “I count my wealth in contacts, not money!” I liked it so much that I made it part of my personal brand credo. There are no two opinions on this topic. Networking and growing your contact base are among the most powerful things you can ever do to raise your personal brand to dominance.

British anthropologist Robin Dunbar says the “magic number” is 150. He has done extensive research to declare that the maximum number of active contacts a human can have is 150; if you exceed 150, your network is unlikely to last long or cohere well.

Dunbar also said more: “The tightest circle has just five people – loved ones. That’s followed by successive layers of 15 (good friends), 50 (friends), 150 (meaningful contacts), 500 (acquaintances), and 1500 (people you can recognize). People migrate in and out of these layers, but the idea is that space must be carved out for new entrants.”

One more thing. Rather than just expanding your network of friends, professionals, peers, potential partners, fans, followers, or consumers, it’s vital to maintain contact with at least the most important people you’ve pulled into your network. It’s not about how many friends you’ve made but about how many are being actively cultivated and kept as “alive contacts.” 

6 tips for growing your personal brand's power network ...

1. Begin simple fraternizing with A-listers in your niche: Slowly inveigle your way into the ambit of the top guns in your niche. Comment on their posts, like or share their social posts, attend their webinars, quote them on your blogs, and generally get them to see you often in their stratosphere. Familiarity begets recognition.

2. Join professional organizations and volunteer: Membership in a professional organization can give you access to networking events and allow you to connect with others in your field. Don’t be a silent watcher. Volunteer to be on active committees. Eventually, you’ll get to the brand-enhancing top hierarchy of these apex bodies.

3. Use social media: LinkedIn is the best platform for building professional connections. You can also use Twitter and Facebook to connect with others in your industry and stay up-to-date on news and trends. Blogging on Instagram is hot these days, with many potential consumers wanting to share conversations with interesting personal brands and vice versa.

4. Participate in online forums and discussion groups: These can be great places to share your expertise and connect with others with similar interests. There are many online communities and forums where you can connect with people who work in the same industry as you or share your areas of passion. Ensure you don’t push the limits of “netiquette” on these groups and forums.

5. Take a class or workshop: Learning something new is always a good idea; taking a class or workshop can be a great way to meet people with similar interests. It is often said online that people first congregate for the content and then stay on for the company. That’s how you, too, can make lasting friendships through taking courses.

6. Connect with your alumni network and former colleagues: Your alumni network can be a valuable resource for building connections and finding job opportunities. Also, keep in touch with people you’ve worked with in the past. Don’t be afraid to reach out to former classmates or colleagues for advice or introductions.

A great example of hw to network correctly for maximum brand benefit ...

Bedros Keuilian has an excellent video in which he discusses the right way to network – and that, too, networking with people who have great bucks or great sway over hundreds of others. The power networking idea here is this: “Don’t wait for events to be held in which you can join; you should be the event creator so you can invite who you want to network with.”

I like this video because he makes it all seem easy (which networking is). It’s frightful to some of us, which it shouldn’t be. So learn how to power up your networking game by taking the initiative in your hands.

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5. Aim to keep sharing your expertise with your audiences

You may have heard of the concept called “Pay It Forward.” It’s a beautiful expression of irrefutable truth. If you help someone with genuine sincerity, without any hope of reciprocity, the Universe somehow finds a way to repay you. It may not be a return gesture of help (or money) from the same person you helped, but whatever you need at a future time will somehow find its way to you. I suppose this is the meaning of “In giving, you receive.”

What does this have to do with gaining massively for your personal brand? Marketing experts will tell you that the more free information you give to genuinely help people, the more money you will make eventually. How does this work?

People get familiar with your messages, free ebooks, templates, or whatever you offer – and realize your true worth as a brand. They get a taste of what your caliber is. You linger in their minds as an absolute authority source in your niche. When the time comes to buy, those who took those free offerings will prefer to purchase from you – because your brand and expertise are known quantities.

Bruce Clay is a great personal brand in the SEO space who uses this approach. He was often called out because he would give away everything he knew for free on his website. But he always said, “I give it all free because people will see how much I know. Soon they will also see that it’s better to hand over their SEO to me rather than attempt it themselves … since it’s a complex subject.” This is an example of sharing your expertise for the betterment of your brand.

6 tips to share your expertise better to help your target audiences ...

1. Determine the best format for sharing your expertise: Depending on your audience and the type of expertise you have, different formats may be more effective. Some options might include writing articles or blog posts, giving presentations or talks, creating videos or podcasts, or leading workshops or seminars.

2. Use clear and concise language: Your expertise may be in a specialized field, but it’s important to communicate in a way that is accessible to your audience. Use clear, concise language and avoid jargon or technical terms that may be unfamiliar to your audience. Reduce all that is complex to simple explanations.

3. Use examples and anecdotes to illustrate your points: People often find it easier to understand and remember information when it is presented in a concrete, relatable way. Use examples, anecdotes, or storytelling to bring your points to life and make them more meaningful to your audience.

4. Use visual aids: Visual aids can be a powerful way to illustrate your points and make your message more engaging. Consider using slides, charts, diagrams, or other visual aids to help your audience understand and remember your message. If the subject allows, you can even use cartoons or emoticons.

5. Practice your delivery: Whether you are giving a presentation, writing an article, or recording a video, it’s important to practice your delivery. This will help you feel more confident and ensure that you are able to communicate your expertise to your audience clearly. Also, be authentic.

6. Engage with your audience: Encourage your audience to ask questions and participate in the discussion. This will help them feel more connected to the material you give them and allow you to further showcase your expertise. Let your knowledge empower audiences by enabling a two-way conversation.

A great example of how to share your expertise with your audiences ..

The video below is very short … and for a good reason. Teresa Easler, the founder of Connect To The Core, has something important to say to people who want to maximize their personal brands by sharing their expertise with their target audiences. She believes in the brevity of messaging. Her opinion is that even if you have a lot to share, and want to give your audiences a whole lot of it, the ability of your audiences to take all that in is very limited. So being sensitive and caring to audiences means sharing your vast expertise in consumable nuggets.

Watch this video not just for the message it delivers but also to see how Teresa actually implements her own advice about brevity.

6. Be authentic to keep augmenting credibility and trust

Great leaders and experts always exhort us to be “authentic”. While this sounds good, most of us don’t quite understand what being authentic means. We understand that being authentic is in some way connected to being “true to ourselves.” We also know we will gain “credibility” if we are “authentic”. But what exactly does “authenticity” mean?

Will your personal brand be seen as more authentic if you throw away that officious suit and tie and always present yourself in a T-shirt with your deepest belief printed on it? Or will you be seen as authentic if you say, “I am not going to try and look less affluent than I truly am, so here I am with my best suit and tie?”

If you think hard about it, we are all evolving beings, so who we truly are also will keep changing. Does that then mean that we will lose our credibility if we present ourselves as we are at a given stage of personal evolution, and if we don’t always wear our old selves and “look down-to-earth”?

There can never be a hard answer to this question of what is authenticity and how to be true to who you are. The best we can all do is to be true to who we are at the moment we interact with others, and if we have evolved since we last met, be honest and say so to the other person. To me, authenticity is about having the courage to change and to be true to whoever I am at the moment, as an ever-evolving personal brand. 

6 tips to express your authenticity and gain credibility and trust ...

1. Be genuine: This means being yourself and presenting yourself as you indeed are, rather than pretending to be someone else. We live in a world full of fake online identities. Your target audiences always have a hard time understanding you fully, because the online milieu makes it easy to be a fraud. Make an effort to show your genuineness with social proof.

2. Be transparent: This means being open and honest rather than hiding behind a façade. It also means not embroidering your story or downplaying it to sound good to another person. It also means not telling lies (including white lies). Half-truths and distorted facts always expose you at some time or the other, especially when it’s most inconvenient. 

3. Be consistent and reliable: Consistency does not mean being rigid about not changing. It means you have to keep the people in your circle of influence always aware if you’re changing your beliefs or attitudes for a good reason. And reliability means following through on your commitments and being dependable. That makes you trustworthy.

4. Be open to feedback: This means being willing to listen to others and to learn from them, rather than being defensive or dismissive of their ideas. This also means you are open to being a lifelong learner. Every interaction with your audiences, even if you’re the expert, teaches you something in return, and you must be willing to embrace that learning.

5. Develop your own voice: Many of us have role models we look up to, but we have to be aware we can learn to value some of their traits without trying to be clones of them. Don’t try to imitate someone else’s style or tone. You are a unique individual, and there can be no two like you. So, let your own personality shine through.

6. Be decent and professional: Maintain high standards of professionalism, even when you’re using personal channels like social media. This means being respectful, courteous, and ethical in all your interactions. It means knowing how to keep your composure even under trying circumstances and being ready to take a firm stand with assertiveness but without aggressiveness.

A great example of how to build trust in your personal brand with authenticity...

Jill Celeste is a branding authenticity coach and the owner of Celestial University. In the video below, she explains in her own inimitable style what personal branding authenticity is, why it’s important and how to cultivate authenticity. In her words.”Without being ‘you,’ you are canceling out everything else you’re doing to grow your personal brand.”

In the video, you’ll notice Jill refers to a book titled “Embrace Your Magnificence” by Fabienne Fredrickson. It is one of the best books I have read on how to be yourself (your greatest self). Get it pronto if you haven’t read it already. 

7. Seek out opportunities to collaborate with influencers

Your personal brand is never an island. It needs the help of many others – especially in social media – to put the word out on your behalf.  Brand influencers abound on social media channels like Instagram or Twitter, but they differ from one another based on their follower range, niche, and content presentation style. There are four sizes of influencers to consider:

Mega influencers have a follower range of 1M or more. These are the A-listers or celebrity influencers. They can expose your brand to a vast audience base. Sometimes you need this wide diffusion, but sometimes that’s what you don’t want.

Macro influencers are those with a follower range of 1,00,000 to 10,00,000. They are usually industry or niche experts. They may have a better command over their followers compared to mega influencers. 

Micro-influencers are those followers between 10,000 to 1,00,000. They usually have less number of followers, but they typically have a very dedicated audience that is genuinely interested in their content and niche.

Nano influencers are a new class that has followers anywhere between 1000 to 10,000. They tend to be highly successful because they have tightly-knit trusting audiences who believe in their authenticity.

One caveat: the rules of influencer marketing are changing, and so are the expectations of both brands and influencers. It helps to get an influencer agency to help you if you are a beginner in influencer collaboration. 

6 tips to locate and manage your collaborations with influencers ...

1. Research influencers in your industry or niche: Find ones that align with your brand’s values and message. These days there are plenty of micro-influencers to match all budgets. Identify a few reliable small influencers with tight fan communities to help with word-of-mouth push for your personal brand.

2. Reach out to influencers: Provide them with information about your brand, including what you want to achieve through the collaboration. If you can locate some influencer-match agencies,  like Viral Nation of Neoreach, they will help you with influencer outreach and all other communication.

3. Offer influencers something of value: In exchange for their collaboration, you can give them a product sample or exclusive discount code. Or, you could provide them with compensation or promise exposure to a new audience. The most straightforward arrangement is to agree on payment fees. 

4. Set clear expectations for the collaboration: Make sure to mention your expectations of what they should do for you, including the content that will be created and the timeframe for completion, as well as any deadlines or deliverables. Clear terms right at the start will save much friction later.

5. Be open to influencers’ input and ideas: They likely have a strong understanding of their audience and what resonates with them. Let them feel like they are part of the campaign and have some leeway to improve your plans. Ride on their experience as influencers, for they have much to give you.

6. Keep the lines of communication open throughout the collaboration: Make sure to follow up after it is complete to assess its success and gather feedback. Thank the influencers for their time and gauge their interest in future collaborations. It will save you time in screening and onboarding new hands.

A great example of how to plan your best influencer collaborations ...

Engaio Digital has developed an infographic of the ten best types of campaigns to use influencers for. They believe (as I do) that having influencers for daily postings on social media or blogs is not the way to go. A campaign has to be created with a fair amount of excitement and buzz around it when the influencer can be given a series of tasks to complete, like a blitzkrieg. This kind of spike in campaigning works best.

The infographic below includes ideas like creating special contests or sweepstakes, events, brand ambassador programs, or unboxing days for product launches. Apart from that, there are some ideas to run as a short series – like guest blogs, sponsored posts, or social media takeovers (when the influencer runs your social media account for a few days of heightened activity).

10 Types of Influencer Campaigns
(Infographic credits: Engaio)

8. Make continuous learning and improvement your credo

One of the things I love best about being a personal brand is that I get to keep learning something new every day. I know some other people rue that they have to keep up with fast-changing technology and trends all the time, but to me, that’s part and parcel of being an entrepreneur.

When you stop growing as an individual, your brand starts withering away. It’s the freshness of life infused into your brand every day that keeps its appeal going and its audience growing. Of course, change is never easy because you are in constant “plan-tweaking” mode. But if you get disconcerted by having to change plans and strategies often, you are not quite cut out for entrepreneurship and blooming as a personal brand.

What I have done in my life (after much trial and error) is not to let change shake me. Instead, I have created time and space to accommodate and embrace change. So, for instance, I have made some schedules to follow.

I learn a new course every quarter – not those flimsy ones, but something substantial and usually related to some new technology hitting the horizon. I attend at least one monthly seminar or webinar on a subject I want a deeper understanding of. I spend two hours every Saturday catching up on the latest videos and blogs from some of the experts I follow – in my niche or outside of it. Plus, my weekly newsletter, where I curate the latest in content marketing, helps me keep in touch with what’s happening in my world.

Learning is, by nature, a disruptive idea. Learning something new will shake up your neat little routine, your comfortable mindset, and the priorities you have so carefully arranged. But without constant learning, your personal brand will get dated and die. So what’s the choice?

6 tips to embracing continuous learning and self-development ...

1. Set specific, achievable learning goals: Read up a lot on the latest happenings, identify areas where you want to improve, and set learning targets for yourself. This will help you stay focused and motivated as you pursue new knowledge and skills. Commit to a course to really learn the new topics.

2. Make learning a habit: Schedule time for learning and embed it into your daily or weekly routine. It could be as simple as setting aside 30 minutes a day to read or listen to educational content. Experts refer to it as “sharpening the saw.” Every so often, a carpenter must stop making furniture to sharpen his tools.

3. Stay curious: Be open to new ideas and viewpoints, and always be on the lookout for opportunities to learn and grow. I coined a word for it: “horizoneering.” Keep an eye on the cutting edge of your niche and pick up trends as they begin to emerge. Be willing to try out new things.

4. Learn actively: Don’t just passively consume information – try to actively engage with the material you are learning. This could involve asking questions, participating in discussions, or solving problems. If you stumble upon new jargon at any time, look it up at once. Read up on some expert blogs on the topic.

5. Seek out diverse learning experiences: Learning doesn’t just happen in a classroom or from a book. Seek out diverse experiences, such as workshops, seminars, and interactions with target audiences or peers, to expand your knowledge and skills. Learn from a variety of sources. Don’t just rely on one type of resource or one source of information. Mix it up. Keep learning interesting.

6. Reflect and practice on your learning: Take time to reflect on what you’ve learned and how you can apply it in your personal and professional life. Practice what you learn. It’s one thing to learn new information, but it’s another thing entirely to actually put it into practice. Apply new learning in your daily life. 

A great example of how to improve your personal brand through continuous learning ...

This video I’ve picked for you is a must-watch. It’s by no less an expert than Jack Canfield, the guru of maximizing your potential. Every personal brand could use his five techniques to make continuous learning a natural and regular part of life. Think about it this way: the time you spend in continuous learning is an investment in your brand. Knowing more widens the target audiences you can reach with your new knowledge. Knowing more helps you do things more cost-effectively and efficiently. Knowing more allows you spend less on useless tools. Overall, continuous learning impacts your ROI as a personal brand.

As Jack Canfield says, “You need to seize every opportunity to expand your knowledge, improve your skills, and build on your expertise. That’s how you will be able to perform at higher and higher levels and achieve such extraordinary results in your life.”

Pro tips to take away in summary ...

1. Building a personal is a labor of love. It also involves some commitments to make and some steps to take. You can learn how to grow your personal brand to a dominant position if you set your sights firmly on that goal.

2. Don’t try – or expect to succeed – in one go. It may take time to find your métier and your differentiation, but once you do, nothing can stop you. Investing in your personal brand is the best thing you can do for your business, whether you’re a solopreneur or the CEO of a geographically vast team.

3. Feel free to use my list of eminently practical steps to get your personal brand onto the right growth trajectory. These are ideas I have used to grow my own and my clients’ businesses, and they can help grow yours too.

The important takeaway from all this is that the online business world increasingly relies on the trust, authority, and credibility that business owners, as personal brands, can earn. Businesses no longer create brands out of their owners. It’s the entrepreneurs as personal brands that drive their business growth based on personal power. 

BONUS: How to get help to power up your personal branding

If you, too, are like me when I started out, and are finding your personal branding not quite up to the mark, I can fully understand your predicament. You want to get your personal brand into the limelight fast so that business takes off from there on. You can, of course, spend a lot of your time and money on trial-and-error, or you can make it simple … let me help you.
 
Let’s have a free, no-obligations Zoom chat. We can find the potential to power up your personal branding. Let me know your goals and budgets, and I will offer you some readily implementable suggestions. 
 
If we’re a good fit for each other, you could consider outsourcing your personal brand building to me. I am confident I can take your business to an enviable position. 
 
Click the button below to book a free 30-45 minute online ZOOM meeting, and we’ll take it from there!
Shobha Ponnappa

"If you don’t control the story of who you are – your narrative – you give room for varied interpretation. Someone is always stereotyping you online. And what they say about you can have a major impact on your professional life. Remember, personal branding isn’t just about self-promotion — it’s about getting clear about who you are, what you stand for, how you showcase yourself to the world, and how you want to dominate your niche."

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