One of the x3 core areas for businesses to focus their resources in the time of Covid-19 is their Audience -- the market they are here to serve.
Speaking, lunch & learns, published books and on-site sessions were business as usual up until recently and in Q4 2019, we worked with a client that saw them increase revenue by 261% - we would put personal branding down to a minimum, half of that growth.
Covid-19 has changed the game and we probably have another couple months of transition before the dust settles and the new normal can truly take form -- and truth is, we're not waiting. We're building the new normal we want.
Having an active, hyper-relevant-to-your-audience-personal-brand is very good for:
1. Business: Out of sight, out of mind is how the saying goes. Brand Awareness is an important part of your overall business development efforts. Brand Awareness invites a call to action to dig deeper into your content, even better.
2. Your market: Educating your market on how to frame their challenge, or what their options are to approach their challenge, all while demonstrating your genius as it applied to that challenge helps them to gain more clarity on a few different fronts.
3. You: Challenging yourself to truly understand your area of mastery to the degree that you can explain it to a 6-year old is no easy feat. Teasing out the content in a way that is logical, in order of process, and chunks up to a 500-ft view while chunking down into 5 feet facilitates opportunities for you to deepen your expertise, spot new revenue streams, and package things up differently.
Covid-19 has changed the game, so we adapt.
If we consider what the new normal will look like as we wrap up 2020 and move into 2021, we can safely assume that online will become an even more integral part of our working experience.
If we are not networking to beat the band in a world post-Covid-19, not going to events, speaking at events, or delivering at events, then what shows up in its place?
The online equivalent.
Personal brands, thought leadership, and collaborating with peers to combine insights, perspectives and ways of framing the same challenge your market has, is powerful in anyone's books. We can absolutely do that online, maybe even more effectively.
While it's easy enough to set up a personal brand, it is worth considering that the investment in time, energy, and resources to maintain it would probably equate to:
around 20hrs a month on the slim end, and 40hrs+ a month on the rich end.
It's a spectrum that you get to adjust in direct proportion to your longer-term goals.
3 Phases of Starting Anything New (Including Your Personal Brand)
Manufacture > Maximise > Momentum!
Going from zero to one in our experience takes < 16 weeks.
This is where you are defining a strategy that considers the 3-year intention, the 12-month targets, the evidence that will show up 6 months from now, and then taking stock of what you have today, or what is missing. That gap needs to be bridged. So for a personal brand, you may need to do things like buying your domain, sticking up a simple website, establishing your social profiles, writing your first 3 blog posts, or maybe you warrant having a podcast. These are things that require you to manufacture from a blank canvas.
Then once those assets are designed, built and put into place, you get to push them out, course correct them a few times over until you reach a happy place of traction.
We have traction, we are present to what is showing up in our new project and we're course-correcting efforts to optimise results already in place.
< 16 more weeks.
A phase that is earned, deserved and bursting with opportunities. This is where a lot of revenue in-kind opportunities, sponsorships, paid speakings, and joint ventures become the norm.
By the end of year one, consistent work done daily has paid off; somehow on this side of it, it feels worth all of that ball ache.
Whilst there will be some lovely wins in the early days, and all along the way to building up your personal brand, experience suggests that it really is a 6 to 12-month process to invest in before the results you seek flow.
Going into this clear in your mind that you are investing in the long game is almost always where success and results abound. And it is this mindset that ensures when the bumps and obstacles we find along the way show up, we easily take them in our stride as opposed to the excuses we need to give up.
Personal Brand Strategy: where do you start?
Know thyself. Love thyself. Be thyself. - Delphi Oracle to Socrates
You want clarity of the market you are here to serve.
You want clarity on how to articulate your area of genius.
You want clarity on the longer-term intention of what your personal brand will facilitate.
The following questions may be of help when getting stuck into this phase:
1. What are the 3 problems I love to solve all day every day? If people would just bring me this problem to work with, I'd be in my element.
2. A journalist wants to interview you as part of their 10-page feature story hitting the press this summer. They heard about what you have done with 3 of your clients who bring you those problems you love to solve. What's the title of the journalist's article?
3. Animal, colour and shape. If each one was a symbol to represent your area of genius, which animal, what colour and what shape would most accurately represent your genius?
4. Describe the common thread that has weaved itself in and out of your life through to today that you still see showing up in ways that you enjoy.
5. The 3 things you have loads of energy for; even if you're tired. If these 3 things show up on the agenda, you are full of beans. What are the x3 things that give you energy?
6. My Personal brand exists to...
7. The 3 ways it will cost me personally and financially to not have a Personal Brand established by in the next 3 months are:
Personal Brand - Basics to Get in Place First
Once your strategy is clear, we need to collect the basic assets - tools - you will use to establish your Personal Brand. Things like:
Your Point of View (P.O.V.) on your area of mastery. 1 page, double spaced, as succinct and simple as possible.
Your personal brand identity. Look, feel, colours, fonts, and logo.
A website to sit on that domain - when you visit that domain, you'll see something sitting on the domain. In the example, I provided a simple 1-page site ticks with box.
Social platforms that suit you and are where your market already are now.
Personal Brand - Getting into Action
One size rarely fits all. However, there is a defined pool of Personal Brand activities that make up the majority of programmes. Choose the 3 or 4 ones that make sense for you.
1. Your name as a domain/website that presents you as a speaker/keynote
2. Social media platforms and the content that goes out on them
3. A blog is key; this should probably go first
4. Podcasts make sense for some; for others, it makes sense to be a co-host, and for others, it makes sense to appear as a guest on a few podcasts
5. Media Pieces - 20-page ebooks, well designed, well made
6. Cocreated media pieces with 2 or 3 other personal brands
7. Video shorts; themed video collections
8. Webinars and more in-depth video content
9. Well-defined Methodology or Approach to how you solve the problem. This really sits under your Intellectual Property - your IP. Consider the TABTF Method - that is my methodology. Each of the 4 key phases has a subset of context and methods that play out right through to the final tactic and report on performance. What would your Methodology be about? What would it look like as a visual aid?
10. Emails to your warm list
11. Co-created campaigns where you deliver an event or industry piece with 2 others that compliment your brand and serve the exact same audience.