Marketing Concepts that Can Be Applied to Your Personal Brand

This lockdown has seen tonnes of people start their pages about food, lifestyle, makeup, research, music, etc. over various social media channels where they can spam the content they create. And this got me thinking about how people are not just creating their personal brand now, but have been doing this since the beginning of time. 

A brand includes everything from the appearance to the personality and specific attributes of a company. And well, so does your personal brand! 

Brand reputation

It is your outward appearance, personality, and attributes, like experiences, expertise, competencies, and achievements and/or failures that are widely recognized in a particular setting. So, let’s look at some marketing management tasks that you can use to develop your personal brand. For reference to concepts and terms please note that I am using  Marketing management: an Asian perspective by Philip Kotler.

Developing Marketing Strategies and Plans

The first step is to determine who you are and who you are talking to. Look at it as not having the same personality around your grandparent and your friends, however the essence of “you” is still going to be there. So a good exercise would be to do your own SWOT analysis.

There is another concept of branding archetypes that I really like that you can use when you are creating an online brand. There are 13 archetypes and it is always good to position yourself online as one or a combination of two or three instead of being all of them. 

Here is the list with the archetype and description from student research done at East Tennessee State University.

  1. Caregiver: caring, sympathetic, generous, protective, devoted, sacrificing, nurturing, friendly 
  2. Creator: Innovative, artistic, inventive, non-social, a dreamer looking for beauty and novelty, emphasizes quality over quantity, highly internally driven 
  3. Everyman: Working-class common person, underdog, neighbor, persevering, wholesome, candid, cynical, realistic 
  4. Explorer: Independent, free-willed adventurer, seeking discovery and fulfillment, solitary, spirited, indomitable, observant of self and environment, a wanderer 
  5. Hero: Courageous, impetuous, warrior, noble rescuer, crusader, undertakes an arduous task to prove worth, inspiring, the dragonslayer, innocent, pure, faithful, naïve, childlike, humble, tranquil, longing for happiness and simplicity, a traditionalist 
  6. Jester: Living for fun and amusement, playful, mischievous comedian, ironic, mirthful, irresponsible, prankster, enjoys a good time 
  7. Lover: Intimate, romantic, passionate, seeks to find and give love, tempestuous, capricious, playful, erotic 
  8. Magician: Physicist, visionary, alchemist, seeks the principles of development, interested in how things work, teacher, performer, scientist 
  9. Outlaw: Rebellious iconoclast, survivor, misfit, vengeful, disruptive, rule-breaker, wild, destructive 
  10. Ruler: Strong sense of power, control, the leader, the judge, highly influential, stubborn, tyrannical, high level of dominance 
  11. Sage: Values truth and knowledge, the expert, the counselor, wise, pretentious, philosophical, intelligent, mystical 
  12. Shadow: Violent, haunted, primitive, tragic, rejected, awkward, darker aspects of humanity, lacking morality

Capturing Marketing Insights

Once you have done your introspection, it is time to go out and ask people what they think of you. Ask people close to you, but also try talking to acquaintances or people you have known for a shorter period. This will help you determine differences in perceptions too. Especially if you are looking to gain popularity online. It is always good to know what different audiences would like.

And remember you are just doing research! Do not let these answers affect you. In fact, it would be a great idea to start with letting yourself accept yourself as you are and work on things you think are important. Some questions that marketers frequently ask are:

  1. How can we spot and choose the right market segment and decide which customers are more important?
  2. How are our offerings different?
  3. Do we compete against competitors? If yes, how?
  4. How far should we go in customizing offerings for each customer?
  5. How can we build stronger brands and relationships?
  6. How do we measure the payback on our promotions?

Come to think of it, these are questions you must know before you promote yourself online or even when it comes to your real life. But in that case, it is important to remember that you are doing this to be more “you” and not less.

Connecting With Customers

Once you have your target market chosen the next thing you need to do is to connect with your customers. You want to develop strong, profitable, long-term relationships with them. To do so, once you have understood yourself you need to understand your audience. A very basic way to do this is to look at their Needs, Wants, and Demands.

Simply put, needs are a felt state of deprivation. Marketing for ages has been defined in terms of fulfillment of customer needs. However, it is often argued that marketers create needs and wants that did not exist before. 

So if you think you don’t want to be easily replaceable, make yourself a need. Become someone your consumers find difficult to exist without. Wants are needs focused on a specific object. Demands are needs and wants backed by the ability to pay. In the online or the influencer space, you need to learn to move from being a need to being a demand, so you can earn out of just being yourself! That sounds awesome, doesn’t it?

Let me explain this to you with an example, you encountered a “need” that people want simple food recipes for vegan food with easily available grocery. So you started a blog for that. Now there may be multiple other personalities doing this but your brand archetype of being a “jester” is very attractive and so people “want” specifically your recipes. You finally decide to come out with a cookbook since people are now willing to pay for their “want” of your recipes.

Shaping the Market Offerings

Now, once you know yourself and your consumers and you have a plan, it is time to decide what aspects of yourself you are going to offer. If you are a product, this would include things like product quality, design, features, and packaging. For your personal brand, this could (and this is open to interpretation) mean personality attributes, appearance, knowledge, skills, and abilities. But do not forget to give yourself an advantage and add things to special events, or training or repair days. 

The best thing about being a personal brand is that you can be whoever you want as long as you are yourself. (yes, I am quoting Henry Ford, “A customer can have a car painted any color he wants as long as it’s black.”)

Delivering Value

Now that you know what you are delivering, you also need to decide how you do it. If we talk of online personal branding, you need to decide upon:

  1. The channels or a combination of what you will be using
  2. Whether you will be reaching your audience organically or otherwise

And all these, let me remind you, will be based on your personality as well as your audience. For your brand in real life, this could mean the setting in which you interact with people and your tone of voice. Again, it is open to interpretation and I would like to know what you think in the comments below.

Communicating Value

So now you have your personality, audience, and the channel of communication set. Let’s think about what remains. Are we missing something out? Well yeah! Content! What will you communicate? You know what your audience needs and now you have to figure out what content you are going to give them. 

For the vegan food blog mentioned above, are you going to focus on desserts or savory food? Are you going to talk about more than just food like sustainable living and exercise? Well, this is for you to decide but make sure you let your content be a two-way street. 

While you talk to your audience, it is very, if not more important, to listen and take feedback. Not only will you get great content you will also grow a very loyal audience.

Creating Long Term Growth

You cannot forget that creating your personal brand is a continuous process. You need to keep adapting to your internal and external environment and all opportunities and challenges that come your way. 

You need to keep researching and taking feedback despite how strong your brand is. Always remember to have a long term as well as a short term plan for your brand (and yourself). In marketing, we call it initiating new product development which involves development, testing, and launching.

Takeaway

Finally do not forget the sense of “you” while creating your brand. You are more than your own brand and all you are doing is implementing a marketing plan. And remember, surprises and disappointments can occur as your plan unfolds so be prepared for that!

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