I was recently asked to join a panel of businesswomen at the 2011 Successful Women’s Conference and Expo in Tampa, Florida. My panel’s subject for discussion
was something I feel strongly about, both personally and professionally—building and protecting your “brand.” As women entrepreneurs and women business leaders, building and keeping our brands relevant and current is essential. So too is making sure our brands are authentic.
I’ve written down some of the ideas from my discussion, and I hope you’ll be able to use the tips below to build and maintain your own brand:
- Understand who you are
Before you attempt to build your brand, find out who you really are. By that I mean: define your core values, what’s important to you and identify what makes you unique. The more authentic you are to yourself and your audience, the better.
- Find a mentor
Enlist someone you admire and respect to give you feedback. What traits does your mentor appreciate about you? What are your strong points? What areas can you improve on? Having someone outside your inner circle assess your strengths and weaknesses will help you refine and create a sincere brand.
- Be consistent
Audiences will more readily identify with your brand if it is consistent. Your dress, demeanor, tone and voice all help create the uniqueness of “you.” Keep in mind, too, that people gravitate to brands they can count on—just like a favorite cereal or toothpaste. Being consistent is key.
- Connect with your target audience
Find the emotional “hook” that will connect you with your target audience. Every product has a branding strategy that aligns it with its target audience. Find the connection that will endear you to your audience emotionally, and reinforce that connection often to solidify your brand.
- Think of yourself as a “product”
As a professional marketing and brand specialist, I create a “brand bible” for my clients. It’s a comprehensive collection of elements my team will use to execute the brand on every level: PR, advertising, traditional media, social media and more. Think about how you would market yourself if you were a product?
- Use your judgment
As women, we were given an instinctual gift. Tap into your women’s intuition and use it. Ask yourself what the advantages/disadvantages of every encounter are. Think about your brand strategy and examine the motives of others before proceeding on any new path.
- Be strategic with social media
Be deliberate with what you say and how you present your brand through social media. Remember, the Internet never forgets, so what you put out there stays there. We’ve all heard about people who have posted pictures and comments they regret. Don’t be a social media victim, control what’s being said about you and your brand and your vigilance will pay off.
The takeaway here is to be true to yourself and everything else will follow. I know that when working with clients to promote their brand, I look for the company’s “essence” and build on that. Find your “essence” and make it your own brand.
For a video snippet from the panel discussion at the 2011 Successful Women’s Conference and Expo, go to my Speaking page here.