What comes to mind when you think about “branding?” Probably corporate logos, colors and visual representation. But branding isn’t just a corporate thing. Every single day, each of us cultivates our personal brand. And, as with corporate image, individual branding isn’t just about how we look, it’s about what we do as sales professionals.
Take a moment to try and view yourself from your customer’s perspective. What is your brand?
Certainly, we want to be viewed as “professional” and all that goes with that in terms of appearance, punctuality, preparedness, integrity, communication skills and responsiveness. Make no mistake, these are the foundational elements of your personal branding. If we excel in all of these areas, we would have a good, solid brand; but not necessarily an exceptional brand or a brand with high visibility.
To understand the dynamic of greatness in branding, maybe we are best to look at corporate entities for inspiration. Think about the strongest brands – Nike, Apple, Starbucks, Disney, Microsoft. What do they have in common? All broke new ground in their respective industries and, at least for some period of time, offered customers something they could not get elsewhere. In other words, all offered a unique value proposition to their customers.
Likewise, sales professionals who can deliver unique value to their customers enjoy a whole other status in branding and that translates to customer loyalty. Of course, it helps to represent a company with an exceptional product or service. Other driving factors include the key insights and expertise the sales professional brings to the table that allows him/her to consistently act as a resource who helps customers solve problems and drive success.
Social media can greatly impact our personal branding – both in how we present ourselves digitally and in leveraging the social network’s expansive opportunities for finding and sharing valuable information with our customer network. Social selling provides the means to continually have our ear to the ground and a life line to customers – all via key strokes, likes, shares and thoughtful comments. The key is to know how to use social media efficiently and effectively to support your personal brand.