Personal Branding For Dummies
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Before you can communicate your personal brand to the right people, you must identify who needs to know about you and what you have to offer. They are the people and companies that are just waiting to experience and appreciate your brand.

One of the biggest mistakes that budding personal branders make is trying to appeal to everyone. Think about the game of darts: You have to aim in order to hit the board. (If you let your darts go without aiming them, you probably won’t be very popular.) If you hit the board, you score. And if your aim is very good and you hit the bull’s eye, even better!

Define yourself with the aim of getting closer to defining your product, which is your brand. With that budding definition in mind, now ask yourself these key questions:

  • Who will buy this product?

  • Where do I want to sell this product?

People often shy away from these questions, but the truth is that someone will be buying, and you are selling your personal brand.

Creating a personal brand is a self-driven process. If you don’t like your product or don’t know what you have to offer, you need to do more work before you can get dig deeper into knowing who you are trying to reach.

Imagine your ideal client or workplace

If you could wave a magic wand, what would be your ideal scenario? Can you imagine the kind of client you’d like to have or the type of workplace you’d like to go to each day? For example, you may want to develop your brand as a philanthropist, so you’ll want to look at what causes or nonprofit agencies align with who you are.

You can follow many practical steps to spot your target audience, but open your imagination and try to visualize yourself working with your ideal client, company, service, or scenario. For example, a coaching professional thought about the characteristics of her ideal client, and here’s what she came up with:

  • Appreciates the work that I do

  • Pays me well and pays in advance

  • Loves the service that I provide

  • Trusts my expertise and lets me use my best judgment

  • Refers other dream clients to me

  • Promotes my work to everyone he talks to

Wouldn’t this client be great? Dreaming about the perfect situation is a good beginning because it gets you thinking about who would actually be the right target audience for you to put your time, energy, and effort into pursuing.

Your target market begins and ends with the customer in mind, whether that customer is an employer, a job, new friendships, teams, or companies. What do these customers need that they’re not getting? What do you have that they may want?

When you feel you don’t fit your audience or workplace

Think about times when you have felt like you didn’t belong. Consider the following scenarios:

  • Think of a job where you felt like you could never relax and be yourself. How did you feel at the end of the day?

  • Think about a time when you attended a party and couldn’t figure out why you were invited because there was no one there you could relate to. Did you feel like grabbing the serving tray and pretending you were the caterer?

  • Have you ever been on a team loaded with players who were a lot better than you? How did that make you feel?

  • Did you ever go on a date and wonder why on earth a dating site (or a mutual friend) thought you were compatible with this person? Did you end the date early?

  • What happens if you tell a joke and no one laughs? Do you want to crawl under the table?

These situations capture moments when you’re not with the group you belong to; you aren’t working within your target audience. They illustrate the stress and discomfort that can occur when you’re aiming for the wrong target.

Your target audience will vary depending on how you plan to use your personal brand. If you’re using your personal brand for a job search, you’ll be identifying potential employers. If you’re an entrepreneur interested in using your personal brand to develop more business, you’ll target your future customers.

If you are happily employed and want to build a stronger brand within your company, you’ll be looking at the people you work with as your target audience.

Personal branding is about expressing your authentic self and making you an active partner in creating the direction of your life. To find the right target, you need to review your needs, values, strengths, interests, mission, vision, and unique personality traits.

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