Becoming A Brand
Jay-Z said it best, "I'm not a businessman. I'm a business, man"!
This is how branding works. It's much more than just posting a few pictures of you at work, or changing your instagram bio to say "Entrepreneur". Branding is truly committing to what you are and more so what you want people to think about you.
There's a saying about marketing that branding is what people say about you when you're not in the room. This is so true! When you are building a brand and perception of yourself it's all about what others see you as. This term "branding" is thrown around so often not just in Pittsburgh, but globally from social media. A lot of people make the mistake of embracing something that isn't what they truly are, or jumping around to different things they want to be known for. One day they want to be a real estate professional, then an investor, then a sales trainer, then a car enthusiast. You are confusing yourself let alone the general public!
Most people think this is some sales gimmick where you try to create a perception of what everyone wants to see. That is not how this works. People will see through a fake representation, and it's very difficult to be fake for a long period of time. The truth is this requires a ton of emotional intelligence. How can you at least get yourself on the right track for a good brand?
1. Emotional Intelligence
Take some time to really understand yourself, your skills, your weaknesses, and what you actually love doing. Focus on the one or two things that you feel you are the best at, and that you want to be known for. Maybe thats cooking, maybe it's developing big buildings, maybe it's playing the guitar. The category doesn't matter, it's about finding the one that is true.
2. Commit To It
We are way too short sighted when it comes to growth and marketing. You put up an awesome quote that shows exactly how you are and displays your passion for something, and assume that 50 people will relate and run to you asking to buy. This is delusional! It takes years and years of drilling it into peoples' minds that you are the master at what you do. Everyday you should be learning about your craft, networking, practicing, failing and getting back up, investing into it, etc.
Content is the key to developing the brand you want. You might be the expert at your craft. You may spend 5 hours a day dedicated to getting better, you may have read every book on it, and you may have created the best advancement in the field, but if no one knows you're involved in that industry, it doesn't matter! The key is to constantly produce content about your business or brand. Not spammy sales content asking people to buy everyday, but real valuable content. Creating video, photos, quotes, educational content, blogs, emails, etc are great ways to get your message out there. It has to be consistent and constant to really impact people. Follow this consistently for a long period of time, and before you know it anytime someone brings up guitars, sales, real estate, etc you're going to be the person they talk about!
If you can get to a point where this happens on a large scale, then you can basically reduce your marketing budget to $0. People will come to you. If you do good work, referrals will constantly be coming in. This is how branding works. It is a horribly slow process that requires an investment, and tons of time. If you stick with it the dividends it pays off can be 10x!