Target’s red bulls-eye. BMW’s promise as “the ultimate driving machine.” Geico’s reptilian Gecko. For most of us, the term “branding” sparks images of colorful logos, creatively wordsmithed taglines, and seemingly silly mascots—all tools used by marketers to bring attention to a particular product in an effort to increase sales.
Some professionals view branding as pertaining to products and not also services. They dismiss these tactics as mere gimmicks that ultimately do little to develop business. Why can’t the same branding tools sell products and services?
When selling products, marketers use branding to draw attention to a product’s tangible features. For instance, the iPhone’s sleek design. The Chevy Volt’s efficient use of energy to deliver best-in-class fuel economy. Or, a Steinway piano’s craftsmanship that makes it a highly sought after instrument. It’s the products’ features that drive sales.
In an effort for marketers to brand services, which characteristically have intangible features, they brand the professional rendering the service. Attorneys, accountants, financial planners and bankers alike increase business by developing and promoting their personal brands.
Jerry and Michael are equally capable practitioners. Jerry lends particular attention to his personal brand. Enlisting a tailor, he ensures his outward appearance is commensurate with his inward intellect. His communications coaching has taught him how to demonstrate his value through client anecdotes and storytelling. His interests are varied and his knowledge well rounded, which allows him to come across as likable and interesting. And, he regularly networks to meet and foster relationships with professionals who offer complimentary services. Michael, on the other hand, doesn’t think much of personal branding and is reliant on his peers to provide him with work.
Jerry’s active approach to personal branding allows him freedom and flexibility to determine the growth of his business. Alternatively, the quality and quantity of Michael’s business will be determined by the degree others are willing to support him.
Developing a personal brand is no less rewarding or intensive than product branding. Daily effort must be made to increase one’s network, refine one’s messaging, and foster relationships that lead other professionals to trust and refer business.
Increase your business development activities by making your services tangible through personal brand development.