Think about a well known brand. How does that brand make you feel? (Ok I want a Coke now, not Pepsi but Coke) Branding helps the consumer generate a feeling or reaction of some kind. If I asked you of a product that was green, you may say Heineken or Carlsberg or even Aer Lingus. How about blue? Twitter, Facebook or even LinkedIn perhaps. Red = Coke, and so on.
When it comes to people, if I say tennis you say……? Music? Football? Who is Ironman? Tony Stark or Robert Downey Jr?
All these brands will create a spilt second reaction. That is how branding works and how one would hope it would work.
So in order to create your brand, you need to be clear about what kind of reaction you hope to achieve from those viewing your profile page. In order to help yourself get your mindset around this, you need to ask yourself a lot of questions in order to get the answers and the path towards “your brand”.
Start by making a list of words that you feel describe yourself. Anything that springs to mind.
Then ask your family and friends to say one word that feel describes you best. Have any of these words matched your list?
More questions to ask yourself..
- What is important to me?
- What makes me happy?
- What causes me stress or frustration?
- What are my best traits?
- What are my worst traits?
Remember these are questions that can be asked in an interview so there is no harm in addressing them now. A good idea is to develop a word cloud (wordle.net) with words to describe you so you can revert back to them from time to time.
- Where do you want to be this time next year?
By answering this question truthfully and realistically, it can help you lay a foundation of the path you want to take and ow this will come across in your online brand.
- Who do you admire?
This can lead you into how to define your target audience (who to connect and network with)
You will want to build your network to include a big range of people depending on your brand.
Look at the list below and decide what kind of people you could see yourself following:
- Other academics
- Recruitment agencies
- Potential customers
- Career advisors
- Multi-national companies
- International Peers
- Famous People
- Anyone else?
Now is probably a good time to briefly explain about the 4 P’s of marketing mix:
- Product – this would be you and your brand
- Price – Well we are all priceless but are you willing to spend money on developing your brand?
- Place – where should you best place your brand for the best return on investment (ROI)?
- Promotion – what tools or platforms will you use to be able to promote your brand to it’s finest?
Although these are the marketing rules before the introduction of the internet, they still stand true. But as we are focusing on Personal Online Branding, some extra factors come into play. Firstly we had the 4 C’s, then some writers had 5 but I feel that there are 6 C’s to include aspects of the 4 P’s.
- Content – what you write is who you are, what you stand for, your beliefs, thoughts and opinions.
- Credibility – are you trustworthy, are you searchable?
- Compatibility – the whole “right fit” angle comes into play here.
- Community – how you network and engage with your followers and connections
- Cost – like above
- Conversion – what kind of topics do you like to engage in?
Finally, you need to create and develop your brand with a particular strategy in play.