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Who Are You?

Identifying Your Brand
By Janice B. Gonzalez © 2016

If I said, “Hand me a Kleenex™” you would know that I meant “a tissue”. If I told you to “Google™” someone, you would know that I meant’ “search for them online”. The reason is because Kleenex and Google have effectively branded themselves. Branding is when you associate a name with a product. That “product” can be a consumer good, a company or a person. Often people confuse “branding” with logo identity and dismiss the thought of having to create a brand. This is a pitfall, especially for professionals, because they are overlooking a basic staple of marketing. The basics of marketing are to identify your product, find the target market that is in need of your product, create awareness of your product to that market, then brand the heck out of it so that your product is perceived as “good” and it comes to mind when they are in need of it.

Branding yourself is the key to business development. You are a product. So let’s brand it. Begin by identifying your product (You). What are your personal professional strengths? What are your current self-image and public image vs. your desired self-image and public image? Does it need to be improved? In other words, what do you want your peers to think about you professionally? Once you’ve answered that question, then you can start moving in a direction that will help you form that brand.

Let’s say, for example, that you (the product) are a financial adviser. Your strengths are that you are knowledgeable in your field, have a proven successful track record, worked at a very reputable firm and now have opened your own firm. Your self image is that you are good at what you do and are generally well respected by your peers, but you would like to be seen as the “go to” adviser for high net worth individuals and would like to be viewed as an expert when it comes to financial advisement.

As an individual, I want you to think in terms of sales or selling. You’ve got something that you are selling and that you want others to buy. Be specific and identify:

1) What you are selling
2) Why you are selling it
3) Who you are selling it to and
4) Why they should buy it from you.

Financial Advisory Example:

1) “What am I selling?” I am selling my expertise in stocks, bonds and various funds. Specifically, I specialize in diversification of investments for high net worth individuals who are seeking long term investments that will yield enough interest to maintain their life style after they retire.

2) ” Why am I selling it?” After several years in the field, I went out on my own for various reasons. A.) I wanted to have independence and financial freedom. B) I saw an opportunity to provide services to certain individuals that others were not able to compete with. C.) I can provide extremely sophisticated one-on-one service and charge less than my competitors. D.) I believe that the services I provide are extremely unique and beneficial to people and I enjoy my profession.

3) “Who am I selling to?” I am selling to professionals that have a net worth of $1 Million or higher or have clients with a net worth of $1 Million or higher that want to build a financial portfolio that is managed by someone they can trust. My services are perfect for anyone that wants to have their portfolio managed by a seasoned adviser that also puts an emphasis in providing excellent service.

4) “Why should they buy from me?” People should hire me if they are seeking a “true” financial analyst with years of experience who has experienced the ebbs and flows of the financial market. They should hire me if they want someone who will personally take their calls and answer all of their questions in a timely manner. They should hire me if they want someone who is honest, knowledgeable, thorough, and reliable and does what they do because they love it. They should hire me if they are looking for someone with a proven track record, who aims to get results, and is confident in their ability and expertise.

As the financial adviser in this example, we’ve determined that we want our name to be “top-of-mind” when people of high net worth are looking for a financial adviser that is reliable, personable and results oriented. And now that we have determined that, we can then begin to take the necessary steps - like networking, writing articles, and public relations - toward having people associate our name with the type of service that we provide. In other words, we can now begin building that brand. It may seem like a narcissistic exercise at first, but really - if you can not pinpoint with accuracy what it is that you do and why you do it, you will not be able to convey it to others and will not stand out as a brand. So, who are you

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