Insights: Here's how to create your own personal brand
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Insights: Here’s how to create your own premium personal brand

Insights: Here’s how to create your own premium personal brand

We look at effective strategies to create your own personal brand, and how to live and embody it in every way to succeed at work and business

Ewa Gadomska on how to create your own personal brand_2022 image credit Ewa Gadomska

You most likely think of celebrities or influencers when you hear the phrase “personal brand”. And yes, they are personal brands, but actually, all of us are personal brands because we all build certain associations and emotions among the people surrounding us.

These associations and the things that others say about you often have an impact on your career or the growth of your business. And of course, there are industries in which working under your own name seems natural and industries in which you think it isn’t necessary. Well, you think that it isn’t necessary, because you probably haven’t checked how a strong personal brand can facilitate customer acquisition and in consequence earn you money.

Now, moving on. For what other reasons than making money can a personal brand be used?

To answer this question in detail, I will start by defining those who build personal brands most often. Even if they don’t realise it themselves.

The first group consists of people who are consciously entering the labour market. They use the tool of building their own name to determine the direction of their professional paths and move more confidently in the labour market.

The second group comprises people working full-time, who are planning to develop their careers. It will be crucial for them to build an expert position in their industries or areas in which they work because having this position will allow for more optimal career development (taking time, direction, and finances into account).

The third group includes individuals who are building businesses based on offering services or products under their own names. For them, a personal brand will allow them to acquire new clients, increase the shopping frequency within groups of clients, increase customer loyalty, but also to raise prices and strengthen their positions on the market while increasing recognition.

Depending on which group you’re in, the process of building a personal brand will be a bit different, but the basis will still be the same.

How can you build a premium personal brand?

First of all, be aware of yourself. To be self-aware, think about what you believe in and value in life, what your goal is, and what your unique traits and skills are. This is operating on the depths of the personality, not on the surface. It requires time and focusing on yourself, but also looking at yourself through the eyes of others. Extract what will be the starting point for your communication with the market from your own identity.

You can do this on your own, but it is also worth asking the people surrounding you to tell you what they associate you with and what you guarantee as a person. See what the internet says about you and what portrait can be drawn based on what you put out online. Do a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis and ask yourself a few deep questions.

This stage is the most important. If you don’t know yourself and don’t define what your uniqueness is based on, others won’t be able to see it because you won’t communicate it to them. To make things easier for you, I’ve prepared a few questions:

  • What goals do you want to reach and when?
  • What are your strengths? – this question regards your skills and talents
  • What do you want to be associated with?
  • What is your style (do you have a sense of humor, what is your approach towards life, are you confident)?

The answers to these questions will allow you to decide on which direction to go in while building your personal brand.

Once you put time into learning about yourself, you should formulate your vision (the perfect situation you’re trying to create), mission (what your unique value proposition is based on, what you can offer to the world/market), and values (what is most important to you in life). Then set a clear goal. It should be realistic but motivating. Set a time and place, and give yourself a certain amount of time to meet this goal. Once you prepare the right foundation, we can move on to not only building a personal brand, but also a premium personal brand.

I’ll begin by saying that luxury brands have a more developed marketing mix, that is, the framework in which I develop the strategy, rather than (let’s call them) standard brands. To build them effectively, we take into account such elements as performance, pedigree, and paucity to create a sense of exclusivity, appropriate pricing, public relations, and above all, a properly composed product or service offer and building customer experience. Each of the ingredients I mentioned is equally important because it affects the perception of a personal brand in equal measure.

Starting with performance: If you’re an expert, then your performance will be for example the result of your work, so also your clients’ opinions, their success stories, etc – all evidence that your way/method works. The next element of the puzzle is paucity. This can be explained in one sentence: don’t be available to everyone and don’t be everywhere. Unless you want to create an impression that “premium” brands available in discount stores make.

In personal brands, we talk about two types of limiting access: by limiting resources (for example, time) and tactical limits: increasing prices and selecting clients.

And now we’re seamlessly moving on to positioning prices. When you think of a premium brand, you automatically think of a higher price, right? Good. But now we’re left with answering how to transfer this over to a personal brand. Let’s start from the beginning.

What should you take into account while pricing a product or service?

  • Costs
  • Competitors’ prices
  • The value that your product/service offer to the customer (if you’re able to put a price on it then you’re in a perfect position)

Of course, it is best to start well which means setting prices that we want to achieve in the beginning. Unfortunately, that’s often hard to do. That’s why we usually come across the problem of when and how to raise prices. This can be especially problematic when it comes to personal brands because we get clients used to certain prices for services and it’s not easy to raise them. But don’t worry, this barrier is usually only in your head. I also had this problem but the more conversation about the money you have, the easier it becomes. Only if you first convince yourself that your time is worth more than before. But if you do have a problem with this, I’ll try to help.

Answer these questions:

  • When was the last time you raised your prices?
  • Have you grown, gained more experience, and learned something new since then?
  • How many clients did you have?
  • What do clients say about your services (and their price)?

This will allow you to assess if this is the right moment for a price change. Remember that every course that you take, every experience that you gain, and every client that you serve is another point to your higher price. What’s most important is that when you raise your prices, your personal brand gains. First of all, you make more doing less (you save time and can spend it on developing your brand). Secondly, you select clients. It may happen that there will be fewer of them in the beginning but due to raising your prices you will be compensated for these losses and save time.

Lastly but most importantly, from the point of view of a personal brand: you’re giving the market a clear signal saying – I’m very good at what I do, I have many clients, so I have high prices. And often, paradoxically, increasing prices draws more customers to you because customers are afraid of low prices for services. It is due to their unsureness whether you are trustworthy.

Additionally, remember that what makes luxury brands stand out is the lack of clearance or systematic sales. They add value for clients and add something more by keeping a regular price. There is also another option – bundling products/services. Then the price reduction of the bundle component is justified by the higher unit sales value.

Remember: A rookie mistake is to think that just increasing prices will turn you into a premium brand. It doesn’t work that way. Quality, experience, having known brands in your portfolio, and being recognisable is what stand behind the price. The next element of working on your name is building awareness. But only where it’s worth it. What does that mean?

Firstly, be there, speak, and show your competencies where your clients are. Secondly, get exposure in the right media and attend events that will appreciate you. Are you building the position of an expert in the field of marketing? A much better option will be a lecture at an event for the industry you are interested in (for example beauty), than participating in a typical marketing conference, where mainly people from the industry appear. Also remember that in addition to visiting the right places, your communication method, choice of form, language, and message should also be premium.

What’s more, don’t be afraid to turn down an interview, speech, or attending an event which will not be consistent with your premium personal brand strategy.

This article sums up the most important aspects of working on your personal brand whether you’re working full time, as a freelancer, or running your own business. Because like I said, your name already associates with something so those associations must be beneficial for your career or help you build a profitable business.

Bonus quiz

If you’re still unsure whether it’s worth building a personal premium brand, allow me to ask you a few questions that will be the perfect test:

  • Are you an expert, a specialist in your field, but you lack recognition?
  • Do you know how to turn your knowledge into products/services that customers will love?
  • Do you have achievements and accomplishments that no one knows about?
  • Do you feel you are not earning as much as you could with your skills?
  • Do you want to work for a higher wage?
  • Do you see how less talented people earn more than you?
  • Don’t know how to conquer new markets?
  • Do you have customers waiting in line for your services?
  • Do you want your name to be associated with a specific field?

If you said yes more than four times, it means that it’s worth creating a premium personal brand strategy.

Ewa Gadomska is a brand strategist, consultant and business trainer.

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