What you must know and do before branding?
“Until you have a purpose and clear direction of your life (business) you would only be building a fake BRAND” – Bernard Kelvin Clive
Pause – unbrand! Could it be that you have been doing it incorrectly?
Branding and more precisely personal branding has become a buzz word tossed about now and then by lots of people.
Well, let us quickly look at the definition of personal branding.
“Personal Branding is the combination of one’s skills and talents to produce value for people that creates an impression, a perception and reputation in the mind of others”
It is how you distinctively market your uniqueness. Now, this sets the tone for our discussion – unbrand.
As much as I’m an advocate for branding (personal branding), I strongly believe that not everyone should BRAND…. Ask me WHY?
To begin with; the reason why you do what you do is the most important question that must honestly be answered before starting.
To get the best out of your branding journey requires understanding the process and proper implantation strategies. If you begin on a wrong foot, you are likely to slide and fall – unable to achieve the set goal of your brand.
Branding can be a complex maze to journey through if you don’t have the prerequisite knowledge of it and how to get it done right. Over the years I have identified why some personal brands fail and why one shouldn’t build a brand with such misguided notions.
Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t brand and what you can do about it:
Purpose is a foundational pillar in brand building, without that essential pillar, the brand will come crashing down. Here is the thing; firstly, people who haven’t yet discovered their purpose in life will find it challenging to build a brand. Secondly, those who haven’t defined a clear reason for building a brand will just be circling their brand like a whirlwind; lots of movements without hitting a target. When you do not have a specific purpose for your life and business there is no need to brand yourself.
Simon Sinek clearly articulated the power of purpose this way “Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. By WHY I mean your purpose, cause or belief – WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care? People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.”
The Fix: Find your purpose and set a clear purpose and direction for building your brand and business.
Skills are the extra strings that give you the edge in branding. It’s your skill that will help you offer more value for your clients and customers. When you are unskilled you have limited value to offer. If you haven’t added any skill to your talents and have not mastered any skill, your brand building journey will be short-circuited. Skill serves as a propeller of your brand. Skills are the whetstone that is used to sharpen your sword – talent.
The Fix: Learn some skills that will complement your gifts and talents. An example, if you are a natural talker(tive), learn public speaking, business networking, sales skills. These skills help you communicate effectively to enhance your brand and business.
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln
Branding should be embraced as an investment rather than an expense. Often time s in my brand consulting work, I engage a number of individuals and organizations who love the concept of branding and willing to brand, however, they are unwilling to sacrifice to make that happen. Any successful project demands proper preparation, planning, and execution. Branding will cost you, it doesn’t come cheap, it will cost you some time, energy, money, etc. brace yourself before you get started. Without planning and preparation, your brand building process will suffer many deaths – destruction, detours, and delays. Every aspect of your brand building requires planning and preparation, from your brand’s vision to its implementation. You are assured of success when these plans are followed through successfully.
The Fix: Develop a plan for your brand and prepare for every strip and stage of the brand journey. This will better equip you to brand properly.
He who starts branding based on the reasons stated above will be on the verge of failure eventually. In the sight of men, you may be celebrated as successful per your brand, but because your brand was built based on the wrong reasons; not built with a clear sense of purpose and direction, its foundation will be shaky, and eventually, it will collapse and fade out.
“Have a bias towards action – let’s see something happen now. You can break that big plan into small steps and take the first step right away.” – Indira Gandhi
Finally, before you begin branding, get some education – your ‘why and how’ if not, don’t brand!
You have to be intentional about your personal brand.
Branding is a journey to begin today.
Remember at the end of life you will give an account of your life to the Almighty God – the giver of life, do the master’s will, live to please Him!
Go, make your brand count!
Source: Bernard Kelvin Clive, Contributor