Being recognisable means possessing elements that make it clear who you are at first glance, and that remind distracted users of a positive experience they had with you in the past. Being perceived as credible and authoritative upon first impression is better than having a lot of followers who don’t know who you are.
There’s a ‘secret’ shared by everyone who has successfully achieved sales, responses and new opportunities when promoting themselves or their business. Obviously it’s not really a secret, but it might as well be, because many people ignore it or don’t consider it important. This crucial activity is branding. Whether done at a personal or a company level, it leads to the holy grail of anyone involved in marketing: familiarity with your name/brand, which, over time, turns into authority and trust.
How do you gain people’s trust?
Trust is a combination of positive perceptions about a company or person, which can be fostered in anyone who comes across your marketing communication, if the latter is able to make such perceptions stand out. This precious ingredient is derived from other aspects which are rather tricky to achieve. Selling involves convincing someone that the money they are spending is an investment, an exchange they are gaining from. To generate this conviction you have to offer an excellent product or service, with all the necessary guarantees. And people’s perception of you and your product must also be fed by well-constructed and persuasive communication.
If you only post kittens and holiday snaps on Facebook, people will struggle to see you as a serious and respected professional. Instead, social media should be used to display your professionalism and ability through contents that show you helping customers or colleagues with their problems.
Selling online is not that different from selling offline. Our identity, what we say and what people say about us feed the perceptions that lead customers to trust us.
To increase the number of your followers on social networks or blogs you need to attract people by satisfying their needs. People are constantly searching for information that helps them in their work or day-to-day life. If you can meet this need with understandable and useful content, people will take interest in you and your work. For example, the most followed profiles on LinkedIn are professionals who provide daily information relevant to their sector. You won’t achieve followers without sharing knowledge, and there is no perceived value if you don’t show your knowledge through your actions. Having authority means sharing something that the market wants. The more readers (or those watching your videos) gain from the information, the higher your authority will become in your sector. As Philip Kotler observed:
“Marketing is not the art of finding clever ways to dispose of what you make. It is the art of creating genuine customer value. (…) The art of marketing is the art of brand building. If you are not a brand, you are a commodity. Then price is everything and the low-cost producer is the only winner.”
According to renowned blogger Davide Pozzi, being a brand and not just a brand name means:
- Working until your idols become your competitors
- Working until you no longer need to say who you are
- Working until your bank balance has the same number of digits as your telephone number.
The last aim is the most difficult, but it can be achieved by following the first two correctly. Learn how your main competitors get their message across and identify their best strategies, while seeking to improve what you do and aiming to become a leading player within your sector. If you manage this, everyone who appreciates you and asks you for advice will already know you are authoritative and qualified, and generating sales will become much simpler.
Personal branding does not aim to make you famous, but rather to give status to your brand, i.e. your face and your name. The market makes purchases based on perceptions, and seeks reassurance and guarantees.
Our economy is now an economy of wants, not an economy of needs. People are no longer looking for the best product at the lowest price; they want experience, passion and service. And they want to deal with other people who are like them!