Building a brand isn’t like constructing a skyscraper, or finishing a race, or completing an audit. Your brand, no matter how powerful it may be, is never "done." If you begin to think that way, your personal brand will start to grow stale. What was once innovative and exciting will become routine. The traits that once set you apart from others in your market will be imitated, and soon you will look just like everyone else. How can you avoid this fate? Keep the following tips in mind:
1) Tell a story. In addition to being known as an expert in your field, you want your brand to tell an ongoing story. Keep your audience up to date on your latest adventures, whether related to business or your personal life (as long as you are staying true to your brand!) Let your audience see you grow. For instance, if you follow me on Twitter (@NickNanton), you’ll see that I keep my followers up to date on everything from my speaking engagements to my weekend plans.
2) Give it some breathing room. Nothing kills interest in a brand as quickly as a total lack of personality. While it may be "safe" to build a completely vanilla, politically correct brand, it will also be boring. You don’t want to offend anyone or step over the line, but don’t be afraid to stir up controversy every once in a while. Your audience may not agree with every single thing that you say, but they will be interested enough to keep paying attention!
3) Don’t lose touch with your market. The biggest mistake many business owners make is failing to keep connected to their target market. Just as disco balls and psychedelic rock fell out of favor as the '70s gave way to the '80s, so can traits that once appealed to your customers. Just because your brand resonates today doesn’t mean that it will next week—so make sure you are connected well enough to make any necessary adjustments.
Branding is a process—it is never done. If you have built a strong personal brand, congratulations! But now is not the time to sit back and enjoy your victory. As soon as you take your foot off the gas, your brand begins the slow process of going stale. Keep the pedal down if you want to keep your brand on top.
JW Dicks (@jwdicks) & Nick Nanton (@nicknanton) are best-selling authors that consult for small- and medium-sized businesses on how to build their business through Personality Driven Marketing, Personal Brand Positioning, Guaranteed Media, and Mining Hidden Business Assets. They offer free articles, white papers, and case studies at their Web site. Jack and Nick have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Newsweek, FastCompany.com, and many more media outlets.
[Image: Flickr user How can i recycle this]