Finding long-term success from your personal brand is no easy task. Without careful maintenance procedures, the brand you worked so hard to establish could quickly take a turn for the worse.
Similar to a machine, the more important part of owning your personal brand is maintenance. While this may seem like a relatively simple task, it’s likely to fall to the wayside when you’ve truly created something beneficial. Continually seeking to improve your established brand has a number of benefits, from increased influence to staying ahead of competitors, continual improvement isn’t something you should be forgetting.
Question from ShutterstockBrand maintenance doesn’t have to be a challenge–it really only requires an inquisitive thought process. Stay on top of your brand by asking yourself and those around you the following strategic questions:
1. Ask yourself what you have to offer to others. Initially, this may seem like a silly question but sometimes even the best personal brands lose touch with your product or service. If you’ve built your brand around one of your skills, be sure you’re actually doing your best to showcase it. Finding your niche is crucial when it comes to building your personal branding–without it, there’s no chance of standing out from the crowd.
2. Ask trusted contacts how they describe you. Your brand thrives on the perspective of others, therefore their input is necessary for improvement. Contact trusted individuals within your network and ask them how they describe you to someone who doesn’t know you. This will give you a unique perspective and an opportunity to see what people are keying in on.
3. Ask yourself which qualities you admire most. If you admire loyalty as a trait, how can you ensure your brand models this? Sometimes it takes looking at the qualities other corporate and personal brands showcase to truly understand what matters most to you.
4. Ask trusted contacts how you can better display your brand. Without feedback, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to improve who you’re reaching. Reach out to your network and ask for critical advice on how to improve the way your brand is displayed. This might mean rethinking your personal marketing materials or attending more events. Whatever the case may be, it’s your duty to adapt.
5. Ask yourself your core values. Your brand’s foundation should be built on core values. While these vary from brand to brand, it’s important to regularly touch base with them to ensure your messaging is successful in showcasing what your brand values most.
6. Ask yourself who your audience (or audiences) is. Knowing and understanding your audience will allow you to identify the ways in which you go about reaching them. If your brand has changed over time, it may be time to reconsider who your target audiences is and adapt a new way to reach them.
7. Ask yourself how you plan to handle the competition. Staying ahead of your competitors is an important aspect of a successful brand. While there’s certainly no set standard for getting ahead, continued innovation and adaptability will be beneficial. Always be on the lookout for what your competitors are doing–then plan accordingly.
8. Ask yourself if your brand is more than just you. Your personal brand shouldn’t just be about who you are. Focus on looking for ways to help others with your expertise. This may be taking part in forums, speaking at events, or even offering coaching free of charge.
9. Ask yourself how you can showcase your brand in online and offline contexts. In this digital age, the heightened focus on online brands is starting to contribute to the loss of an offline brand context. A successful brand should be versatile and take precedence with both an online and offline perspective. Your brand should run deeper than just what you’re blogging about, be sure you’re making face-to-face connections, as well.
10. Ask yourself how well you’re reaching others. Take an analytical perspective with your brand and research how well you’re actually reaching your target audience. Whether your reach is heavier from a certain platform, online, or offline–take measure to improving the areas where you’re lacking.
Consistently looking to improve your brand will present you with beneficial results. It’s never too early to start looking for ways to improve. Most importantly, never forget to ask those who matter most to your brand.
How have you worked to ensure your brand is always improving?
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.
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