Personal branding is more art than science.
That said, we’re going to put away the brushes and canvas for a moment and bring in the test tubes and conical flasks.
For, there are three things that all super brands do when it comes to personal branding. And, these are empirically proven to work.
Remember, we’re not talking about branding in general. So, of course, you got to be consistent in your messaging, you got to have top-of-mind recall, you got to do thirty six other things to be a super brand in general.
But, here, we’re restricting ourselves to the niche area of personal branding.
So, without further ado, here are three open secrets in Personal Branding, undiluted and unvarnished.
Or, more appropriately, appear relevant.
While there’s nothing like being 100% relevant to your target audience (TA), sometimes you may have to appear relevant even if you are not 100% there. This may happen if you have a diverse TA.
Beauty brand Dove started off with a “I’m totally different from all the others” stand by harping on the “gentleness” of its bathing bars. It also positioned itself as a beauty bar for the common woman, as opposed to a Lux which focused on “sophistication” and “luxury” by using movie stars to endorse its products.
To drive home their brand positioning, Dove wheeled in dozens of working women, homemakers, students, and plain Janes to endorse their bathing bars.
And it worked. It took years, and it took countless ads, and it took serious package designing to get that perfect look-n-feel, but it worked.
Consumers, and women in specific, took to the brand since they related to it. It became “relevant” to them, to their daily hygiene needs.
But, as a byproduct, Dove perhaps left out swathes of women who preferred “luxury” over “gentleness”.
Now, Dove couldn’t just throw away the years of perception building they had engineered to gain the “gentle” tag. Equally, they couldn’t ignore the “luxury” segment either.
Dove Pink. Dove’s answer to Lux.
The difference between Dove Pink and the regular Dove?
Well, what do you think?
So, a lot of times, you may not be perceived to be relevant to your TA. However, you can correct that by tweaking some brand element to appear relevant.
This can become a virtuous cycle-the more relevant you appear to be, the more relevant you become. And the more relevant you actually are, naturally the more relevant you appear to be to cross-sections of your TA.
Be the first or be the biggest
In other words, be an achiever.
This is a huge favor you’re doing to yourself.
This does multiple things. You get a headstart over your competition. You stand out. There is natural brand recall in people’s minds since what you’ve done is either unprecedented or insurmountable.
Don’t believe us? Take this simple test.
How many of the following can you name:
- The first man on the moon
- The first gymnast to get a perfect 10 in the Olympics
- The fastest man on the planet
- The richest industrialist in India
- The first woman prime minister of UK
Now, how many of the below can you come up with:
- The fifth man on the moon
- The second gymnast to get a perfect 10 in the Olympics
- The third fastest man on the planet
- The fourth richest industrialist in India
- The current woman prime minister of UK
In short, be a bad ass.
No, strike that.
Be the baddest ass you can be. It can’t get any better.
Have a signature move
Stand with your feet apart, raise both your hands as if raising an imaginary bow and arrow, and point to the moon, one hand outstretched, one bent at the elbow.
Who comes to mind?
If the words “Usain Bolt” didn’t flash through your mind, you were probably hiding under a rock for the last twelve years.
The nine-time Olympic gold medalist and legendary sprinter from Jamaica is a brand unto his own.
And he’s got the moves to prove it. The wide eyes and arching eyebrows at the start of the race. The adoringly arrogant “finger on the lips” to silence lesser mortals watching (or running beside him). The quick crossing of himself and finger wagging at the heavens. And, of course, the “Lightning Bolt” move pointing to the skies after he’s demolished the opposition in the race.
Bolt is a PR professional’s dream come true. He has not one but several signature moves that set him apart. As if his heroics on the track weren’t enough.
Also read: 6 Types of PR Disasters You Want to Avoid
So, there you are. Three ways to make your personal brand be like Bolt. Or Dove.
What other traits have you noticed in super brands when it comes to personal branding? Write in.