Professional brand development is not an aspect of your business life that you want to leave to chance. The persona you have both on and offline can have a dramatic effect on your business success.
You may think that some people are just lucky when it comes to developing their professional brand; but more often than not luck has nothing to do with it.
Their online presence is an aspect of their professional life they have worked on for a long time, that they have cultivated, and that they have controlled.
Their professional brand is not an accident.
They create their own luck.
Today we’ll talk about some of the more important aspects of professional brand development, what should be developed, and why it’s important to make your brand as strong as possible to help you stand out from the crowd.
The Goal Of Your Professional Brand
The first step in professional brand development is to actually define what you want from it. What is your ultimate goal?
Are you interested in being known as an expert in property management software like myself? Do you have some past experiences that you’d like to keep from being the top results in Google?
Whatever the goal may be for your online presence it’s important to properly define it and make it the focal point of your efforts.
It’s up to you to make your professional brand happen. ~Tweet This!
Take ownership of your professional brand and develop it as you see fit because it’s your job to build it from the ground up.
Professional Brand Name
There are two roads to take when it comes to developing your brand name. Both have their pros and cons.
Often times I see a sales person use their own name as their brand. Ryan Hanley of RyanHanley.com for example has successfully developed his professional brand and site around his name.
Most of the time I believe this is the best road to take. As a sales person, your name is likely the keyword term people will use to find out. Because of this it is easy to control your brand online when your name is the target keyword. Especially considering most social media profiles and an entire online presence can be centered around your name.
However there are times when using your own name for your professional brand development is not the best idea. After all, it’s very likely that you are not the only person in the world with that name. You could have the same name as the famous cartoon Johnny Bravo.
Go ahead and Google [Johnny Bravo] and see what comes up. To compete against the show and Cartoon Central’s internet marketing budget was not the best way to spend my time and resources.
So I went down the second path and created my own professional brand name, The Sales Pro or The Sales Pro Blog. I know I’ve talked before about being as specific as possible when defining your professional brand. However as I mentioned I chose to go high level with The Sales Pro because of the longevity it affords.
However if you are in a specific area of sales, e.g. software, manufacturing, heavy equipment, cars, etc. and you know you will be in that industry for the majority of your career, you should focus on your specific niche in your industry. Go as deep as you can and be as specific as possible.
The more specific you get, the more focused you will be. And often the easier your professional brand development is.
Professional Brand Imagery
There are a few areas that cover the imagery around your brand. Your brand logo is often the first thing that comes to mind.
My logo is the black and white man in a suit replacing the “L” in Sales. One of the reasons I loved this logo so much is because it is an uncanny resemblance to a picture I once took and have used on personal profiles.
You don’t necessarily need a picture logo like I use. I could very well have used my face which I often do in the Sales Pro Blog social media profiles. Or even your name in a font of your choosing.
But because I chose to develop my own professional brand, I thought it ideal to create my own brand logo as well.
The colors you use in your brand imagery are important as well. If you haven’t noticed already the main colors for The Sales Pro Blog is black, white, and red. Black and white for the business look they evoke, red because it’s a “power color”.
An appropriate color template for a sales blog.
The colors you choose can send a strong message. And SHOULD relate to your brand.
For example, if you sell biodegradable plastics you may want to choose colors that relate to the environment like green or blue.
If you sell a product that already has an established color, Tiffany’s Blue for example or McDonald’s Red and Yellow, after checking to make sure this is OK with your marketing department, you may want to include those colors in your personal brand.
Be careful with that though. If you stop working for that company then you’ll likely have to make a change to your brand imagery.
Dressing The Part
How you dress and groom yourself matter when you’re in front of clients pitching your wares.
And it doesn’t matter how nice of a person you are or how good of a sales person you might be; if you show up to a client meeting looking haggard, unshaven, with tousled hair, you are going to have a more difficult time being taken seriously.
You can have a huge beard, a lot of earnings, but make sure they are “classy” (relative term I know) and well kept.
What you wear is important as well. Be sure in your imagery online that you are dressing appropriately.
If you are “The Lawyer Sales Guy” be sure to be wearing a suit and tie when posting pictures online or going to client meetings. Lawyers are expected to be wearing suits. You should make your dress consistent with your professional industry.
If you sell into the manufacturing industry though, a polo shirt and slacks is considered acceptable.
Tailor your look and dress to match your brand and industry.
Your Area Of Expertise
Your overall professional brand development should be focused by your area of expertise.
You want to showcase that you are “in the know” for your industry. It’s happenings, it’s trends, and any predictions you have for the future.
Use your brand to share industry knowledge and position yourself as a thought leader. LinkedIn is an excellent resource for sharing your expertise.
This will build trust and help strengthen your brand wherever it is seen.
Your Tag Line
Do you need a tag line? No not necessarily. But it does help.
Think of it as a mini elevator pitch. A one sentence, 10 word snippet that describes who you are and what you do.
The point is to be succinct when describing your skill set. This aspect of professional brand development can take time though.
First I suggest writing out as much as you can about what you want your brand to represent. Come back to it every few days and whittle away until you have your tag line down.
Focusing on these aspects of your professional brand will help you to really stand out from the crowd and “be known”.
Let me know in the comments below if you have any other ideas for professional brand development.
~ Johnny Bravo
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net