Branding 101: Putting the "U" in Superstar
Every entrepreneur has her own personal brand, which exists whether or not she purposefully builds or cultivates it. The days when the term "branding" were solely attributed to large corporations are gone like Silicon Valley summer. Today, a brand applies to every woman in the community. So, what is a personal brand? More importantly, what is yours?
A personal brand is your reputation, your business card, and your ticket to new opportunities - whether a new job, entrepreneurial project, board membership, or meeting with an influential person or leader of a top industry. It is how you, as a businesswoman, appear to the world. Personal brand is something to take very seriously since it will affect other people’s decisions about whether to collaborate or even talk to you. The undeveloped and uninteresting brand may reduce your opportunities or even hurt your career. For these reasons, it is essential to invest your time, and sometimes money, into becoming the “go-to woman” in your community and business.
Social media also impacts personal branding efforts. On the one hand, it provides an ability to connect with different people around the globe. On the other hand, it leads to additional work in order to manage a personal brand. A female entrepreneur's online presence guaranties the existence of her personal brand. Daily internet activities including blog posts, status updates, tweets, check-ins, and shared photos become a part of her cumulative image. Nowadays, anyone who views social profiles including employers, colleagues, and potential business partners can form an opinion based on what is present online. For this reason, investing time in building and improving your brand is critical and almost always leads to a positive outcome. Here, Parazim shares success tips for the savvy businesswoman looking to develop her own phenomenal brand.
8 Essential Steps For Personal Brand Development
1. Putting the "U" in superstar.
First, you should think about what makes you interesting and special to customers, potential partners, and collaborators. What makes YOU a superstar? Do not limit yourself by only thinking about your profession, because a variety of interests count. For example, education, unusual background, communication skills, multiple languages, professional certificates, ability to solve complex issues, and hobbies can spark interest. For some women, it can be difficult to answer these questions solo. In this case, the businesswoman may want to follow advice shared by successful, powerful women such as coach Joanna Bloor, who suggests choosing five people who know you well, and asking them to list at least two things you are known for in the community. This simple method can be your first step to successful personal branding.
For inspiration during the initial stages of brand development, it is wise to become familiar with other women who have successfully built outstanding brands. Parazim suggests looking to amazing women such as Melinda Gates, Sheryl Sandberg, Psyche Terry, Gloria Steinem, Emma Watson, Andrea Owen, Patricia E. Harris, Malala Yousafzai, Rania Hoteit, Laura Norris, Faye Wattleton, Jessica Matthews, Reham Fagiri, and Gloria Feldt.
2. Put your best foot forward.
Self-presentation or "impression management" is an essential skill. The smart businesswoman should highlight particular information about herself during social interactions to create a lasting first impression so that people will want her in their contact list. This skill is something you can easily develop by practicing communication skills at various events and gauging listener reactions. Another strategy is to reach out to readily available resources in the community. For example, there are a variety of different workshops and professional meetings where experts will assist you with confidence building, self-evaluations, developing appropriate introductions, practicing presentations, and networking. Visit the following links for more information:
Coaches for Women: Nisha Moodley (leadership), Danielle Laporte (business strategist), Gabby Bernstein (spirituality), Molly Mahar (successful mama + entrepreneur), Joanna Bloor (“people accelerator”), Ginny Townsend (UnSabotage), Janet Jannsen (Goal Achievement), Meghan Neeley (Be Your Own Bad Ass Boss), Kathy Zwern (Management), Wendy Ryan (San Jose leadership), and Dr. Fab Slama (Emotional Healing).
The key to a successful networking experience is to focus not only on your own needs and personal benefit, but to determine and establish ways the other person can benefit from the relationship as well. This approach will help you to obtain more connections and opportunities, which will contribute to strengthening your personal brand.
3. Tweak your online presence.
Another powerful component to creating an outstanding personal brand is social media. Various platforms are available to help you send a strong and strategic message to the outside world. By mastering your online presence, you will be able to make a profound impact before you even walk into the room.
In order to build a powerful online presence, begin by typing your name in a Google Search. This will help to alert you to what other people may see and potentially think based on the search results.
If you appear as dull or untrustworthy, it will likely push people away. Remember that people enjoy seeing not only professional achievements but also, for example, hobbies and interests, how you spend your weekends, what you care about, and what you do for the community. This will make you appear credible, approachable, and attract likeminded individuals.
You should investigate whether there is harmful information about you or other people with your name on the Internet, and take appropriate action to get such items removed.
You should create professional profiles in alignment with your brand on popular social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, since these tools can prove invaluable to business development.
4. Engage with the community.
When a person expresses interest in global issues, it attracts attention and builds a connection with the community. For this reason, it is advisable to write short articles or comment on other people's posts regarding topics that concern you. Also, you can become a reliable resource and expert in a particular area of interest by sharing news and materials that you find useful via social media or by email. This will lead people to view you as a trusted authority in your industry and increase your network.
Another wise tip is to use networks such as LinkedIn or Facebook to make connections with new people and “build your network of influence.” You can do this by joining an already existing group or creating a new one and participating in online discussions. Moreover, it is important to attend industry conferences and meetings, even if it is just to network and socialize. The more visible and accessible you make yourself, the stronger your personal brand.
5. Continue to learn and grow.
The world is changing every day. Here in Silicon Valley, change happens very fast due to amazing discoveries, tech innovations, and an endless flow of creative ideas. To succeed, you should be alert to things happening around you. You can stay informed by reading breaking news, blogs, forums, listening to Podcasts, and interacting with people who are changemakers. When you do this, it helps to position yourself as a leader in your industry and elevates your personal brand.
6. Give back.
Apart from feeling good and gaining personal satisfaction, giving back to the community can help you build your personal brand. Examples include donating money to a charity, volunteering your time at an organization that is important to you, raising awareness or sharing your story (social activism), engaging in ethical spending, and educating others regarding topics of interest to you. You can emphasize your charitable activities and volunteer projects on your website or social media profile and even issue press releases to attract positive attention.
In addition, do not forget about people who helped you by offering useful advice or a random act of kindness. You may want to keep in touch with them and offer your help. Always remember, the more you give, the more you will receive.
7. Refresh and renew.
Personal branding requires continuous analysis and improvement. It is important to review your brand on a regular basis. What skills and knowledge do you want to be known for? Do you present yourself the way you desire? Have you achieved your goals? Be ahead of the game and always work to improve your public image.
8. Seek professional guidance at initial stages of business development.
Remember, a trusted legal professional can provide invaluable advice regarding your branding strategy. Plus, she can make professional introductions for business development, and assist you with choosing a company name, trademark research, and filing. Preventative legal care at initial stages of business development can help to avoid major legal issues and increased fees in the future.
Are you a female entrepreneur in need of legal solutions to launch or grow a successful business enterprise? Parazim can help! Our mission is to elevate and champion the most effective, extraordinary, and powerful women in the world. Our breakthrough habitude of "women helping women" leads to invaluable resource sharing and building strong allies so every female is 100% empowered to reach her highest potential. Get connected today - email email@example.com or visit www.parazim.com for more information.
Harmony Oswald, Esq. is licensed to practice law in the state of California. She is the Founder and Managing Attorney at Parazim. To learn more about Harmony Oswald, Esq. and her 2017 leadership book for women click HERE. The above article does not create an attorney client relationship. It provides information only and should not and cannot be construed as legal advice. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.