When you think about a brand, your first thought is probably of a company. Have you ever consider that you are, yourself, a brand? Every time you step in front of people to talk, you are representing the most important brand of them all: you!
Sell your brand, not yourself
You may feel awkward when it’s time to promote yourself. For many people, one of the hardest things to do is to sell their knowledge. Even if you don’t see yourself as a public speaker, you are, every day, in constant interactions with others. The discussion applies to you as well, even if you don’t consider yourself a “public speaker.”
Perhaps you never thought of it, but it is easier to step forward to sell a brand. It creates a certain emotional distance. That allows you to show all your strengths and skills without feeling awkward. When you are the brand, you’re not promoting yourself; you’re promoting the brand.
How do you turn yourself into a brand and succeed?
The brand is a general perception that a client or possible client has of a product or business. It is how they see you and how they talk about you – it is your reputation. It is what helps you to stand out over your competition.
Creating a brand for yourself is a bold move and also quite rewarding.
Creating your brand – consistency
The creation of a brand is not something you can do in a fortnight. It takes time for your public to recognize you and to create an image of you. This is only possible with consistency.
When you think about any brand you know, there is something that immediately identifies them. It is not only the logo, that’s a mere visual representation – it needs more. It needs a communication style and a message that the audience can almost immediately identify as belonging to a specific brand.
This happens with people too. The way they dress, behave. Some people are so remarkable that you immediately identify something as belonging to them. For example, have you ever was told about a behavior someone had and thought, “Yeah, it looks like her.” or “It had to be him.” It means that that person has a brand, and you identified it.
Now, think about yourself. How do you want people to see you? What’s the image you want your audience to keep from you?
An ideal brand is the one that makes you trustworthy, and memorable. Everything a good speaker needs!
Brand Plan – 4 crucial points
Creating a brand is something that takes time and effort. Many speakers make the mistake of thinking that it simply comes with time. That’s not true. You need a plan, and you need to build it consistently.
A well-done job needs well-done planning. The following points are vital to define your brand:
- Purpose – Why? Why are you there? What do you have to say? How are you going to achieve your purpose? Why should your audience care? When stepping into the stage, you have a goal, a purpose. You need to know what is it and why? Explore your motivations and see how that fits your brand. Find out what your mission is.
- Competition – You need to be aware of its competition. You need to know what other people are doing in your area to find out how to stand out. This is usually problematic. How can you say ‘I’m better than them’? Well, you’re telling your brand is better than theirs. It is not personal.
- Target Audience – If you need to adapt your speeches to your audience, you also need to do that with your brand. Who will you be talking to? What are you expecting to achieve with those people? What best fits them?
- Message – Your brand has a story and a message, and it has to be clear. Show conviction. You’re an expert; act like one. Set up your strengths, maximize them to engage your audience. Inspire them. Ask yourself the following: Why should they listen to you instead of any other speaker? Each one of us has a uniqueness; find out yours.
Voice and Personality
An effective brand has a voice, a personality. You created it by the tone you use to communicate with your audience. The tone depends on the target you’re trying to reach. That’s why you must define your target in advance.
How do you want your audience to perceive you? As very formal or informal? Are you accessible? Are you a high-level expert on a pedestal? There is no right and wrong. It depends on context, perspective, and, of course, your goal. Each choice you make will attract a specific audience with certain characteristics. You need to know who you want to attract and then choose the best way to do it.
Many things have interfere with this. The way you speak, the way you present yourself, the clothes and the accessories, the colors in them. Even your slides! Every detail talks a bit about you. Each one of them can make you more distant or warmer. Every piece is building your brand!
A positive image that stands out
There are dozens of speakers, good ones, that are your competition. You have to stand out. A recognizable brand is what makes a company stand out among other companies.
This is valid for a professional speaker, as well as many other forms of communication. You are selling your brand in a job interview, in that stuff meeting where you need to speak up, and even in other small interactions, you have every day with other people.
Treating yourself as a brand will make you emerge out of the crowd. Now, it’s time to start working on it. What makes you different from others? How can you show that to other people?
Cátia is a psychologist who is passionate about helping children develop and train social skills.