A company is not defined solely by its products, a service it offers, or by its cash flow and revenues. It’s defined by a combination of things which together make up its brand (it’s people, corporate philosophy, vision, etc.). As solo entrepreneurs know better than most, when you sell your products, you’re essentially selling a piece of YOU as well. You essentially become a part of the brand.
According to the American Marketing Association dictionary, a brand is a “name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.” In an article written by consultant/author Phil Cooke on Fast Company, branding takes a new twist. Cooke reminds readers that your best brand asset is actually yourself. The following are some ways that you can help to define your company’s brand.
– The world wants a fresh face: people are seeking something (or someone) that is new, innovative and original. Be that person/role model, discover your unique qualities and share them with the world!
– Find your specialty: entrepreneurs have an easier time defining their specialty (whether it be a unique writing ability, innovative product development, or maybe even your personality; think about what makes YOU unique and different from the competition; once you define what that is, you can promote that quality and use it to set you apart from others
– Be authentic: If you’re trying to impress and audience that you may not quite relate to, you may end up seeming fake (or even dishonest) which will bring negative feelings to the audience. However, if you truly care about something or have a great presence in front of any audience, go for it!
– Developing your personal brand: Become who you truly are by finding your voice and your passion; be truthful about what distinguishes you from others. People will respect you for your honesty and will know exactly what makes you unique (which can be especially helpful for entrepreneurs in small businesses)!
– Pitfalls to avoid: a lack of professionalism, insecurity, lack of people skills, inept leadership, bad assumptions/ideas and more… avoid these and you’ll have a better understanding of what makes you different and unique!
It’s not like high school, where some people volunteered for a cause just to add it to their resume. As adults in the business world, it’s best to be truthful, define your unique qualities, and follow your passion. Don’t fake it just because you think you should or because you think it will impress others. Do something because you care about the cause, and be authentic about who you are. Your time will be best spent when you use your best personal qualities to propel your cause (whether it’s through entrepreneurship, a corporation, or volunteering).
To learn more about Cooke’s view on using yourself to help grow/define your brand, visit: http://www.fastcompany.com/1842901/your-greatest-career-asset-is-understanding-yourself.
How do you brand your company? Do you use personal social media to help define your corporate brand? What personality traits do you bring to your brand?
Thanks for reading, and until next time… stay WISE!