Do you know what people are saying about you behind your back? What are they telling each other about your work? Do you hope they’re saying nice things about you? And why is this so important? Well, your professional brand is your reputation. It’s the story people tell each other about you when you are not in the room. It matters because your brand reputation leads to repeat business, referrals, and new opportunities.
When you manage and develop your brand, you get to decide the story people tell about you. You get to determine what you're known for in the market. And you can do it in three easy steps:
Be deliberate about the professional brand you want to build for yourself.
I often relate the story about Coca-Cola. If we had never heard of it before, the red and white Coca-Cola logo design means nothing.
But when we see that Coca-Cola logo, we think of polar bears and Santa Claus. We think of people standing on a hill and singing together. We think of the Olympics.
We have all these warm fuzzy feelings because Coca-Cola decided decades ago that their brand, their story, is:
“Coca-Cola brings joy”
They spent decades and millions of dollars building that story so that when we see this simple white and red logo, we instantly think of the story behind it. On its own, the logo does nothing.
The same applies whether you're a solopreneur, you have a small business, or if you are a service provider as part of a larger company. You can apply these same principles to yourself.
Even if you sell for a big company or you practice within a big firm, people are buying you. They're not just buying the company’s brand..
Say you're with a wealth management company, for example. Even though that company's name adds credibility to you when people hear you work for that company, they're still also buying you. They're buying you as the individual. They're buying your expertise. They're buying the trust they have in you.
That’s why you are a marketer, whether you admit it or not! You're a brand in yourself. So, you have to figure out:
They're not just spreading the word about your company name, or head office, right? They don't know the people at the head office. They know you. When I sold advertising for a big company, I know people were buying “me” just as much as they were buying the product I was selling. I knew that because each time I went on maternity leave, some clients paused their accounts until I came back.
What do you want your bulletproof professional brand to be?
You have control over what you want to be known for. Decide what you want people to refer you for. Define the type of service you want people to associate with your name. Determine which niche markets you want to be associated with.
Of course, when you get a referral, you have to follow through and provide an excellent service or the story falls flat.
As long as you're delivering what you promise, you can give people direction about what you want them to tell other people about you. This allows them to become your advocates. By spreading the word on your behalf, they build your brand reputation in the market. They tell your story when you’re not there. They support you to grow a bulletproof professional brand.
Are you ready to dive deeper into finding and converting high-value clients?
If you’re a lawyer, architect, accountant, or any type of professional who feels like it’s time to put serious effort into business development and growth opportunities, now is a great time to Rethink your Marketing and find your best potential clients on repeat. Register today and jump right into the program.