Building Brand Awareness

By Debra Wheatman

Handshaking after negotiation

You know you need to build a professional brand to effectively market yourself in your career. But how do you build awareness of your brand? Branding is one of those things that we like to make really difficult. It doesn’t have to be; it’s actually quite simple. Let’s start with what branding is not. It isn’t:

  • A tagline
  • A logo
  • A website
  • A campaign

These are all tactics that you employ to promote your brand. Branding is not tactical; it is relational. Branding is the experience you create when people interact with you and your products. Your brand is a process, built out of your reputation and your actions. Your brand is your differentiator.

So, back to the original question, how do you build brand awareness? The first step is to understand the business pain that your market is experiencing. Your “market,” in this case, is the universe of folks who are hiring for people in your field. When you go out and interview with them, or when you go out to your network, what are you hearing? What new knowledge are you gleaning from these conversations? What is a “day in the life” of these people? Do more listening than talking.

Once you understand what your market values, you can create a compelling story that relates to your market’s problems. You are completely in control of your brand. You create the mythology about yourself. One such effective means of telling your story is through content that is relevant and can be shared.

What makes content resonate with your market? First, your content cannot be all about a sales pitch. That is a quick way to alienate your audience and garner mistrust. Do you ever click on the paid results of a Google search? I don’t! They paid to be seen, and they want to sell me something. What your content must do is to connect with people on a human level. It must help them in some way. Your market wants to know that you care about them and their problems. Your content must nurture and demonstrate an understanding of the market’s problems and pain.

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