I have failed a lot while doing personal branding. And I learned from my mistakes. Today I am considered to be one of the experts in marketing in my home country. Now I can answer your question: How to create an effective personal brand?
To create an effective personal brand you need to manage expectations and align them with your clients. The key ingredient is to under-promise and over-deliver. Every time when you manage to exceed the expectations of your clients, you are building a good name for your brand.
How to always exceed the clients expectations?
It does not matter how many clients you have, if you are selling products to hundreds of people daily or consulting few clients at the time in a small company. If you over-promise, people will leave you disappointed. Even if your service or product is better than the competitors, if the client’s expectation for you was higher, you are always damaging your brand perception.
Exceed expectations: pricing strategy
Imagine yourself buying a frozen microwave dinner. You buy it, you try it and you are surprised by the taste, it tastes good! You know you will buy this brand again because your expectations were exceeded. The next day you go to the restaurant and you get exactly the same meal – the microwave dinner you had yesterday! Will you come back to the restaurant? Why not?
You like it, the taste is not a problem. But this is not what you expect to eat when you go to the restaurant. Your expectations were much higher in this case, leaving you disappointed and mad.
Do not do the same thing to your personal brand! Do not feed your clients a microwave dinner.
How to make sure that people do not expect too much from you? An easy way is to lower (or increase) prices. By setting the price a bit lower than your competitors price, while delivering service/product the same or better, you can easily exceed what people expected. You are creating a branding gap between the price you set up and expected quality of your service and received quality of the service.
Be careful! Negative branding gap is effectively destroying your personal brand.
If the expectations of you are slowly growing, you can also increase the price, but remember to keep having a price a little bit lower than what people would expect to pay for the work you do.
If you are using the price-quality matrix above, consider what quality of the service/product can you deliver in comparison to your competitors, and choose a price that is at least one step lower than the corresponding price would be. Sell your high-quality service for a medium price and your medium-quality service for low price to build your brand.
Exceed expectation: under-selling
Another way to control clients’ expectations if you offer services is to explain exactly what you are going to do at the beginning, and then do a bit more. If the clients know what they are paying for and are surprised in the end with a result – you just created for yourself a good brand name with this client and clients’ network.
You are basically under-selling your products and services. You might not attract the amount of clients that you would if you would go with a more aggressive selling strategy, but you can count on satisfying those clients that you get. Happy clients will come back (increasing customers retention rate) and will recommend you to others – bring more and more clients in.
Never promise what you cannot deliver.
Over-selling is one of the most dangerous things you can do to your brand. When the expectations are too high, even if you do a great work your clients will end up being disappointed. It is not easy to get clients, mostly when you are just starting your business, and it might be very tempting to over-sell. Just a little bit. Remember, from a long-term perspective, few extremely satisfied clients are better than many angry clients.
When you exceed your clients expectations, do not be surprised. Explain that this is how you work, this is what you aimed for. Acting surprised with the results will make you look like you do not know what happened and good results are due to a happy accident rather than your skills and work.
By treating your clients right and following the over-deliver strategy, you create a winning brand strategy not only for this year, but for a long-term.
Brand yourself online
To create an online presence is increasingly important. Your clients and customers are probably trying to google you before they even meet you. So what google says about you is important.
The first step for a new business and online presence is to create a website. You do not necessarily pay a professional to make the website look professional. Website does not need to serve you only for selling products, you can use it to attract new clients and build your brand. Think about the information you are providing and what value will people get from visiting your website.
Social media are easy to set up, but not so easy to maintain. For businesses with a lot of opportunities in creating visual content – consider starting an Instagram page dedicated to your brand.
Every company in every industry can create a value for customers online. Think about what people are searching for, what do they need to know? Get inspired from your competitors and think about how to make your brand one step better.
Online personal branding takes a lot of time, do not expect to see results in weeks or months. It is hard work and it is definitely not “free advertising”, it costs you a lot of time and energy. But it is still worth it, mostly if you are thinking long-term.
Consider your strong sides, and do not be too shy or scared. Experience comes with time and effort. The longer you are building your online brand (blogging, creating videos, photos on social media, podcasts, tweets…) the better you are getting at it and the better your content is.
Live a life in a way that you learn something new every day. I myself have many websites, wrote two books and now I am pushing myself further by starting my YouTube channel. The opportunities are there for you, so stop waiting and start building your winning brand.