My last posting introduced the concept of marketing as a four-step process. The first step of this process is branding.
Effectively developing and promoting a sound brand is a key factor to success for self-employed service providers. Your personal branding helps distinguish you from the competition, which is one of the many challenges of marketing services.
By way of example, at this point my personal brand is playing a key role in my work.
As part of shifting from delivering services to sharing experience, I am consolidating and reorganizing my web content and blogs.
During this process, enhancing my personal branding is the ultimate test. If a proposed change makes a positive contribution to my personal branding, it’s go.
On the other hand, if there is no direct connection with my branding, the proposed change is archived for possible use in the future.
Among its other benefits, a personal brand can serve as a powerful yet simple decision-making tool. When faced with a decision, do whatever makes the greatest contribution to your brand.
If on the other hand, there is no direct connection with your personal brand — don’t do it.
Differentiators In Personal Branding
Sometime ago, I took a webinar offered by Hinge Marketing, a leader in the field of marketing professional services.
The webinar introduced the term ‘differentiator’ into my marketing lexicon. As explained in the webinar,
“A differentiator is something that makes your firm different from other firms in some meaningful way…Brand differentiation is simply making your firm’s brand different.”
On reflection, I realized that there are two categories of differentiators.
One category would be inside differentiators, such as people, processes and how we serve clients. These are the factors that are under our control. We can shape, refine and otherwise improve to help distinguish ourselves from the competition.
The other category…outside differentiators…is totally outside of our control. Try though we may, we cannot control factors such as the market, the industry or industries that we serve as well as our ideal clients.
Even though we cannot control these outside differentiators, it does not mean that we can ignore them.
On the contrary: it is important to know as much about these outside differentiators as we do about our inside differentiators.
This thorough knowledge of outside differentiators helps match our service to what the market needs, wants and is prepared to purchase. It’s also what helps us shape and refine our personal brand so that it resonates and helps us connect with our ideal clients.
While keeping outside differentiators in mind, continue to enhance and update your inside differentiators. That’s the best way to ensure that your branding continues to connect with and attract ideal clients.