You are in a competition for consumer dollars. Your clients have X dollars to spend and you want your piece of the cake. Yet, when you think about the people you know, many of them do what you do. Whether it is sales, marketing, real estate, direct sales, real estate, education, information, coaching or any of the thousands of things people do, you most likely associate with people who are in the same market. You can begin to wonder how to set yourself apart from the crowd. This piece of writing is designed to help you think about your personal branding - aka "STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD."
Quick....right now...make a list of all of the different burger places you see advertised AND the ones in your local neighborhood that never get advertised.
Did you do it? Really, this is a great exercise and it will help you.
How many did you come up with? Did you grab the BIG 2? Mc and King? How about that Joker in the Box? Or that little red haired girl? Any regional favs? In Texas it's the Queen of burgers we think about. Not to mention that shady little joint around the corner that really makes your favorite even if it is dripping with grease. Or the trendy spot downtown that has artisanal bread and exotic meats.
What about sandwich shops or steak houses or seafood? Why in the world would someone ever think about creating another restaurant? It would seem like the odds are stacked against you. And, why, yes they are. But THAT is exactly the reason why each of these places has created a personal branding image. Because meat and bread and cheese - lettuce, tomatoes and mayo (or mustard or ketchup/catsup) are all pretty much the same when it comes down to it. The DIFFERENCE is the atmosphere, concept and community connection each of these brands has developed. And YOU can do the same thing.
Pick One and Run
The first decision to make is whether you want to create a look and feel for your brand that is comfortable and comforting - or radical and rebellious.
For instance, let's take 2 of the burger favorites - Mc and Joker. One is all about family friendly, spend quality time with your friends and get a great value. The other is about midnight munchies and in-your-face commercials. Hmmm. Both are meat and a bun. Two entirely different concepts.
Strategists have worked their magic for years to convince you to pick a tribe - any tribe. Are you a Mac or a PC? Are you a tried and true Seattle-brand of coffee or are you Running on something else?
Yet, names and content don't always connect. For instance, doing research for this I checked out some rebel-sounding sites, and shockingly found their appearance to be pretty tame. RebelMouse says, "Let Your Content Roar" but has a pretty tame, cutesy website. Rebel Branding bills themselves as a breakthrough branding agency, but their site looks pretty much the same as any other site around.
For another stab at finding something different, I searched for trendsetting websites and found a great web article by TopDesign Mag with 30 "gorgeous examples" of trendsetting web design. Be sure to check out KILFISH. Now that is one DIFFERENT kind of web presence!
The point is, you get to decide. You might have a rebellious-heart and a standard site. Or a common skill set and an in-your-face approach. It's about finding your voice and making sure it is heard loud and clear.
For me, I'm in transition. I'm returning to some things I love and working to maintain an air of trust. Or, maybe I should just go wild. Hmmm. Guess you'll find out later. 🙂
My Brand Story About LAMB and Living At My Best
I've written a long story about how I came up with LAMB and Living At My Best in my book, Design Your Culture - Empower Your Team. For now, I want to give you the highlights.
I started my entrepreneurial career in Direct Sales. Party Plan for those in the know. I was one of thousands of consultants, though only a few were in my home town. I wondered how to set myself apart from the crowd and ran across some training about choosing a personal icon.
So, to the work.
My last name being WOOLAM, it wasn't hard to decide to create something around LAMBs. But, I didn't want to just carry around stuffed sheep. That wouldn't mean anything to the people I was serving.
I decided to create an acrostic from the letters - L.A.M.B. I spent a lot of time in the dictionary and I came up with a lot of iterations. Suffice it to say that those hours at my dining table with a dictionary and thesaurus in hand became what is now known as Living At My Best.
I became set apart and created a culture around that L.A.M.B. icon. It was powerful! It still is!
Over the years, I've had a love/hate relationship with my icon. There have been times I've tried to leave it all behind and do something different. But I always come back to the lamb, because it was birthed from my heart and the essence of who I am.
Your Brand Is Who YOU Are - Not What You Market
Any marketer or copywriter worth their salt will ask you a hundred questions about who YOU are and what you represent. Pay them if you want, however, it is important for you to ask those questions of yourself.
Who are you? How do you relate to people? What do you love? What matters to you? If you could do anything to change the world, what would it be?
These questions are a great starting place for you to begin to develop your personal brand identity.
At the end of the day, you know this truth for yourself...
People do business with people they KNOW, LIKE and TRUST.
Your ability to communicate your core values to your clients and customers is vital. If you don't know what those are, you will struggle.
Once you have a handle on your core values and what you want to bring to your clients, you can begin to play around with the delivery methods and messaging.
Here is what I used to say in those early home party plan days. It is what I still believe. And so, it's why I've never been able to leave Living At My Best behind.
I've learned there are a lot of reasons why women will want to join me in this journey. Success means different things to every woman. It's why I call it Living At My Best.
Some women are looking for a way to stay home with their family. Some are looking for a way to get away from them!
Some women would like to earn a bit of extra income so they can pay the mortgage, buy a new pair of shoes or take a vacation. Some women want to earn enough income to leave a financial legacy for generations. Many women love their buttoned-up 9-5 but want something to add a little fun to their week. Some are desperate to get away from that 9-5 and are praying for a miracle.
Many women are looking for a community that gets them. They want friends who understand their passions. And some like me, want to lead other women and help them become empowered in life.
Whatever your definition is, I want to help you Live At Your Best, too.
What do you believe? Can you put it into words? When you do, you will begin to create a personal brand story that will help you stand out from the crowd. Your brand is you. Not the company you represent or the hashtags in your social media posts. When you become the real you, your customers will flock to you. No matter how many other "burger bars" there are like you.
Live At Your Best! Live Inspired!