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6 Personal Branding Rules To Being Popular And Profitable

Rule #3: Don’t tie yourself down with too many rules.

Entrepreneur

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One of the things that frustrates me to no end is when entrepreneurs strive too hard to build a personal brand or become an influencer before they work on building a company. We go into business to be profitable and make lives better. Yet, that is somehow getting lost in our Kardashian-worshipping world where what you appear to be is more than what you actually are.

We’ve turned being an influencer into a job title that people are starting to love and revere. We’ve also taken a process that used to happen organically and turned it into a rigid, formal process with a set of rules to follow. Whole conferences are built around meeting and mingling with online stars. But, you know what?

Outside of those conferences, you can meet a lot these influencers working at restaurants and other non-influencer jobs to make ends meet – that’s because the majority of online stars are flat broke.

Followers do not equal financial stability.

When you have a large following, you should be able to build a profitable company, but you need a solid business model behind the glitz. If you want to do make up reviews, find a way to get sponsorships, build an email list and cash checks as soon as possible. If you want to make bank with your YouTube comedy channel, make sure people can buy bonus content from you – don’t just give it all away for free.

Related: Personal Branding Pitfalls Women Should Avoid

There are a million different ways to monetise what you love to do. Just be sure that you offer amazing value to your followers if you want them to open their wallets for you.

popularity

Here are six tips to being profitable and popular:

1Be loud and opinionated

Some people just can’t over-tweet or make too many videos. Their audiences are huge, and people pay attention every time they open their mouths. Even if you don’t love everything a loud person says, you have no choice but to listen. They invite conflict and debate and don’t care whether you like them.

2Teach

The best way to help elevate yourself is to elevate those around you.

Give until hurts. Teach everything you know. Teach your secrets. Walk people step-by-step through what you do and how you do it. Make your failures just as public as your successes. Use every lesson in your life as good advice.

Remember: Nobody listens to the silent expert.

3Break all the rules

Productive people are too busy knocking over barriers to help their audience to waste time on rules. They don’t have time to ask whether they are doing it the “proper” way or not. One of the worst things you can do is look at somebody else’s rule list and apply it to your marketing. No two people or companies are the same. Determine what your mission is and goals are. Then make up your rules along the way.

Related: How To Entice New Clients By Using Your Own Personal Brand

4Have no shame

Sometimes, people are afraid to share their knowledge because they don’t want to seem arrogant. They might not want to making a scene over a controversial topic. But, if you don’t speak up on your expertise, people will turn to the guy who does.

I stopped being embarrassed a long time ago. I know I am going to look like a fool part of the time. I am going to make mistakes. That said, I’d much rather come crashing through the wall than cower in the corner when it comes to being an expert in my field.

5Monetise, baby

If a large online following always equated to money, the world would be full of instant millionaires. This is definitely an area of business where the 80/20 rule applies. 80% of the money online is being made by 20% of the people. How do you start the revenue flowing? How do you take 10,000 YouTube subscribers and make it rain money? Get them off YouTube ASAP and over onto your email list.

Then, give them something to buy. Make something cheap for people that don’t have much money and make something else expensive for people that love you and have $1000 burning a hole in their pockets. As soon as you see your traffic and online following start to grow, develop products to make their lives better.

6Own your platform

One of the most important pieces of internet advice I give out: Do not build your empire on rented land. The bitter reality about social media that most people seem to forget is that you don’t own your social media information. You don’t own any of your followers. I’ve seen Facebook fan pages with 50,000 followers get shut down with no explanation and no recourse.

Related: 4 Ways To Protect Your Digital Personal Brand

What ever happened to all those Vine stars?

Please be sure you are building your own website and your own email list.  You can even go as far as building your own social media site with tools like Buddypress. But, start building your empire on your land today. I tell people to always imagine how their business would look if one or all of their social media sites disappeared tomorrow. If that would dramatically affect the flow of new business coming into your door, then you have work to do.

Branding is something we all have to do. Let most of it happen naturally.

Your brand is a reflection of your personality. Don’t fake it. Work on being completely yourself and totally transparent and your following will happen naturally.

Look at guys like Ryan Stewman, Grant Cardone or Robert Syslo – they are killing it in business while being popular and breaking the rules every day.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Branding

Brand And Marketing: Finding The Balance For SMEs

For some entrepreneurs, this can be quite a sobering thing to do whilst for others it reinforces that they are on the right path to success.

Gary Harwood

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Being in business is about more than just hitting the bottom line. Sure, financial growth is imperative to continued success. But if nobody knows about you, then your achievements will be limited to the short-term. Enter the world of brand and marketing.

To the uninitiated, these concepts might seem interrelated. And to a certain extent they are. However, branding revolves around delivering on a promise, it is what defines you as an SME and what makes you different from your competitors.

Marketing is about how you do it – your tactics and your strategic goals. It is about promoting a product or service to sell and earn revenue.

Both are equally important, and no entrepreneur can afford to ignore one in favour of the other. But how do you balance a limited budget and resources to finding the right balance? In some ways, it is best to take a step back and view your business from the perspective of your customers.

Related: The Secret Ingredients to a Successful Branding Strategy

For some entrepreneurs, this can be quite a sobering thing to do whilst for others it reinforces that they are on the right path to success.

Emotional versus rationale

Cynics might argue that branding is all about emotions while marketing is a more rationale (and logical) pursuit. After all, how do you ‘know’ your customer? How do you analyse the effectiveness of your brand promise?

It might be an easy thing for large organisations to measure, but for a business just starting out, it is quite a challenging prospect. Given how data has exploded in recent years, organisations have a wealth of information at their disposal to analyse, scrutinise, and draw insight from in getting to grips with the effectiveness of their brand promise.

And while this might seem daunting for your SME, it does not have to be the case. While there are more than enough models to measure brand equity, most are challenging (not to mention costly) to implement and they all require extensive research.

Fortunately, things like internal staff surveys (questions like what do your employees think your brand identity and promise is), how integrated your brand and marketing efforts are (do your tactics reflect what you want to achieve), and how you compare to the competitors, can be reviewed relatively quickly and cost effectively.

Related: The Economics of Branding

The business of marketing

Marketing can add a dynamic component to this mix. By focusing on the tactical elements of how to achieve business growth (specific to your brand promise), the SME can develop a more nuanced strategy that factors in both emotional and rationale elements.

We all want to make money but that hardly has the makings of a solid marketing strategy. In fact, marketing is less about flashiness and more about implementing solid business principles.

Sure, the sexiness comes in some of the tactical executions but it all revolves around delivering value to shareholders, marketing to the strengths of your business, and setting yourself apart from your competitors.

A successful marketing campaign revolves around bringing customers to your business. And this is where the brand promise is so important. You must understand what the customer requirements are if you are to deliver tactics that fulfil them.

Business today requires branding and marketing to work together. By compromising the one in favour of the other will not result in any significant long-term gains but risk your SME losing ground to competitors.

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5 Steps To Building Your Personal Brand From Scratch

Whenever you engage, shine a light on your values.

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What would you like people to say about you?

As Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon) famously said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

Your personal brand is the sum total of what you do, how you do it and why you do it. It’s not something you can fake. It’s authentic and deep-seated.

If you get it right, your personal brand will make you stand out from the crowd, shine a spotlight on your expertise and enhance your value. You’ll have an energy and a buzz about you that people can’t help being drawn to.

So how can you build your personal brand?

For starters, don’t make the mistake of thinking your personal brand is all about you. It’s not. Your personal brand is not about your work experience or your personal accomplishments. Your personal brand should be about other people, specifically what you can do for other people.

Start by asking yourself a few questions: What needs can you address? What are the areas where you can offer the most value? What makes you different from the rest?

Related: 6 Personal Branding Rules To Being Popular And Profitable

With a little thought and planning, you can build your personal brand from scratch. Just follow these five steps:

1Discover your opportunity

Passion is not enough. You might have a passion for rock climbing, or playing the ukulele. But having a passion does not automatically translate to recognition and success.

Instead of focussing on your passions, study the needs of the people in your circles. What are they trying to achieve? What are they struggling with? What are their frustrations?

Think about how you could best help these people.

Dig deep into who you are. Identify what you can bring to the table. Evaluate not just the skills and experience you’ve acquired but also the values that guide and inform you.

Study your competition. Can you serve a need that in an area that doesn’t have lots of competition?

If there’s lots of competition wherever you look, don’t be discouraged. Can you serve a need in a way that’s distinctive and noteworthy?

You’ve identified your opportunity when you’ve found a significant need that you can serve, in a way that sets you apart from the competition.

2Know your audience

personal-audience

Everything starts with your audience. Find out as much as you can about them. This includes standard demographic data such as what jobs they do, how much they earn and where they live.

Equally, if not more importantly, you need to know what their beliefs and values are, their hopes and dreams and the challenges they are facing.

Talk to your audience. Take them out for a coffee or set up a Skype call. Study them by reading what they’re saying on relevant social media, forums and review sites.

Is your audience more interested in quality or value? What’s more important to them, making a difference or making money? What public figures do they admire?

How much do your audience know about what you can offer them? Will you need to educate them for them to appreciate your value?

Identify who your core audience is. Don’t try to appeal to everyone. Identify which audience segments are most likely to become long-term customers and advocates. These are the people you should focus on.

Related: Personal Branding Pitfalls Women Should Avoid

3Craft your message

In Hollywood, budding filmmakers learn to prepare an “elevator pitch” to sell their movie ideas to busy studio executives. The key is to summarize their idea in a short, memorable phrase that could be pitched even if they had to do it in an elevator.

For example, the movie Alien was initially pitched as, “Jaws in space.”

You want to tell your audience about what you do, about what makes you different and exciting. But they probably won’t have time to listen to your life story.

Instead, you should create a short message that sums up what you’re about in a way which connects with your audience. Keep it simple and memorable. Think of it as your elevator pitch. Your message should reflect the people you serve, the values that you embody and the results you achieve.

If you have any testimonials, study them. What were the things about you that people valued the most? Observe the exact phrases people use when talking about you. Often, these are the precisely the phrases you should use when describing yourself.

Use your message to brand yourself on your professional profiles. Most importantly, embody it in everything you do.

4Hone your uniqueness

Maybe you can do something highly useful that very few people can do. Well, that’s your unique quality, and you should tell your audience about it.

But perhaps there are plenty of people who do what you do, and you’ll be competing for the same audience. Being able to demonstrate a point of uniqueness is your key to success in a competitive market.

The most obvious point of uniqueness is to be the best. There are many ways of being the best. Find out which way plays to your strengths. Are you the most experienced, most creative, most efficient? Do you excel at customer service?

Related: [PODCAST]: Listen To Rich Mullholland Share Tips On Building Your Personal Brand

If you can’t be the best in some way, becoming more specialised can make you unique. For example, instead of offering a marketing service to small business owners in general, you could offer a marketing service targeted at chiropractors.

And don’t be afraid to be controversial to stand out. If you hold different opinions from the others, don’t be afraid to voice them. Just stay away from topics that are likely to cause offense, like religion and politics.

5Define your values

Authenticity is the cornerstone of personal branding. Your authenticity is what allows your audience to trust you, to engage with you, to tell their friends about you. Being authentic is about having stated values and being true to them.

So what are your values? You should include business values, such as driving innovation or personal accountability. You might also add ethical values, such as care for the environment.

How you speak and write is also a reflection of your values. Are you serious or informal? Do you address the layman or expert? What are your cultural reference points?

Guard against inconsistency, such as saying one thing and doing another, as this will cast doubt on your values and undermine your brand.

Keep your values at the heart of everything you do, as you interact with people, network on social media, or publish blog posts. Wherever and whenever you engage, ensure you do so in a way that shines a light on your values.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Branding

Wrapping Up Profits With Niche Vinyl Wraps

Marketers always want to grab consumers’ attention while business owners may want to differentiate their company’s fleet.

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Marketers always want to grab consumers’ attention while business owners may want to differentiate their company’s fleet.

Cars are used as form of self-expression, and some individuals will pay a small fortune to make their wheels unique. All of this can be achieved with speciality vinyls, which allow a range of attention-grabbing special effects.

Robbie Fuchs from World Signs said that these unique effects are sought after and that matte black finishes are popular, and are being used in some campaigns to tone down shiny chrome.

Popular requests include partial wraps for select sections of cars, such as: mirrors, stripes on the sides of vehicles, bonnets and high gloss black vinyl on roofs, which gives a panoramic look and feel.

‘There are a handful of people who will spend a lot of money on a car and then spend more money on making it look fancy,’ he says.

Related: Celebrating Women In The Signage And Printing Industry

Fuchs added that vinyls for home owners and private use is a niche market. ‘We have also had requests to wrap toilet seat covers, fridges and kitchen cupboards.’

Different textures such as chrome, wood grain, carbon fibre and a variety of metallic effects, glitter, ultra matt finishes and ‘sandpaper-like’ non-slip surface finishes are also available. One can also create pearlescent effects and even velvet, while colour changing vinyls also provide really unique wraps.

‘Vehicle advertising is good for any business size, and some small-business owners feel it legitimises their company by getting their brand and logo out where potential customers can see them,’ said Rakesh Rosen, Midcomp.

‘When smaller businesses use vehicle wraps, it puts them on the same playing field as franchises and companies that are large enough to maintain vehicle fleets. Vehicle vinyl wrapping is definitely on the increase in South Africa and will continue to grow.’

Henri Robert from Sign Wonder, said, ‘Vehicle branding is an effective promotion tool because it combines the key elements of marketing, advertising and branding into one convenient and proven solution. It is high impact, cost effective and they work for all types of businesses. Vehicle branding allows a vehicle to serve as a low-cost mobile billboard seen everywhere a vehicle typically goes.’

You can see vinyl wrapping solutions and business opportunities at the FESPA Africa and Sign Africa Expo at Gallagher Convention Centre from 13-15 September.


Visit http://www.signafricaexpo.com/wraps for more information. 

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