Times are tough for many businesses in South Africa. In periods like this, personal branding and marketing is especially important to businesspeople in client service based businesses.
In recessionary times, your competitors are working even harder to lure your clients away. Competition will increase exponentially, even among colleagues at the same company. You need to prove that you add value and find ways to stand out from the crowd.
Creating a strong personal brand and marketing it effectively is a good way to differentiate yourself, become memorable and be perceived as a value-adding brand.
Here are seven top strategies for developing and marketing a personal brand in recessionary times:
1. Decide what you represent.
Identify your greatest strengths and talents and how you would like to be perceived by people. Focus your personal brand on those things. Often we try to be everything to everyone. Resist the temptation – trying to spread yourself too thin will dilute your impact.
2. Be unique in the way you do things.
By challenging the way things are “normally” done, you can stand out from the pack. For example, if your colleagues normally send clients a bottle of wine, rather take your best clients to the first wine tasting of a boutique wine. Doing things in a unique way doesn’t mean spending money – it means thinking creatively about ways to interact with your clients and add value.
3. Become an invaluable resource.
Go beyond what your client requires of you. For example, occasionally send your client useful white papers, special reports, articles of interest, links to useful websites, industry trends and developments that help your clients to think of you as more than just a service provider. Show your client that you understand her business and want to help make it successful.
4. Plan and be prepared.
Do your research thoroughly before meeting with a customer, prospect or networking contact. Think of questions you should ask or questions that will be asked of you. Package what you are delivering in the best way possible and ensure the benefits of your service are well articulated.
5. Market your personal brand.
Marketing your personal brand is not a natural activity. This is why you need to set aside time to make it happen. There are huge benefits to increasing your personal visibility. Understand your strengths and start getting visible – write articles; engage on social media; develop presentations or join key associations and industry bodies.
6. Build and leverage your skills.
You are your greatest asset and there is nothing more important than enhancing your competitive advantage. Build your knowledge. Read more; attend talks and seminars that elevate your position.
7. Prioritise connecting with clients.
Marketing is a contact sport and when your competitors are talking to your client in tough times, you have to make sure you're top of mind to avoid losing business. Touch base frequently and ensure your communications are purposeful and add value.
About Donna Rachelson
Rachelson is a branding and marketing specialist who uses her passion and 25 years of experience in strategy, marketing and change management to empower people and teams to achieve breakthrough results.
She is the founder of Branding & Marketing YOU. The company offers keynote presentations, workshops, strategic marketing consulting, coaching and support services. She is also author of the best-selling book Branding & Marketing YOU, the first South African-based personal branding and marketing book.
For more information on Rachelson or Branding & Marketing YOU, visit www.brandingandmarketingyou.com