Building a brand is a powerful thing, whether you use it to break into an industry, follow your passions, or stand out on social media.
There are 6 stages to behavioral change: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. Though this model was first constructed by researchers observing smokers trying to quit, these stages also apply to actions we take throughout our life.
Building a brand is a powerful thing, whether you use it to break into an industry, follow your passions, or stand out on social media. In this series, we will lay the groundwork to take you from the contemplation stage to the preparation stage. Even if you have never thought about building a brand or growing a social media platform, this can be valuable information and lay the groundwork as you think about how to position yourself for a promotion, take on a big project at work, or pivot to another career.
Branding is not just for companies such as Nike or TV personalities like Dr. Oz. Branding is the new reputation and, if done right, we can control the narrative of how others perceive us and how we position ourselves in our industry.
This is not about being deceptive, but rather highlighting your strengths and experience in a way that can take you to the next level. For example, you may have worked at a PR firm for a decade and just branched out on your own and started a company.
Instead of waiting for people to find you, you can start aligning yourself with high profile people who would use the service, market yourself on social media and find creative ways to highlight your work and experience. As you contemplate taking the plunge into social media influencing or building a brand, there are a few questions that you need to ask yourself as you start.
What need are you going to fill?
Before you start thinking about what color you want your logo to be, you need to get clear on what you are offering to the world. You may want to be a pharmacist who educates on pain management or nutrition—or even someone who talks about a passion project such as bird watching, for example.
Whatever the case, it’s best to be pretty specific at this point and get known for doing one thing really well instead of having a broad scope. For example, my friend The Lactation Pharmacist originally focused on teaching health professionals about medications in pregnancy and lactation. Along the way, she has expanded to consulting for the public, doing many talks and courses, while also becoming a doula.
This is one of the hardest points to nail down and it often requires some soul-searching and trial and error. If you’re not entirely sure the answer to this, ask yourself:
Why are you doing this?
Getting crystal clear on your why is one of the things that will help with your messaging so it’s important to answer this early on. Is it to connect with others, build a platform for a career pivot, explore a subject, play around and see what lands, make money or become really famous?
There are no wrong answers, but you do need to understand this as it will guide your content and strategy. Don’t worry, this answer can evolve as you build your brand. `
Who are you speaking to?
In business school, a big concept in marketing is “knowing your audience.” You may say, well that’s easy: pharmacy. However, there’s more to it than that.
When you speak to someone, you have to know what angle they are coming from. For example, you would educate a patient about a new medication very differently than you would a physician. Speaking the same language as your customer will also ensure that you communicate effectively and get your message across.
Where will you show up?
What platforms do you want to show up on? It’s not the best idea to set up an account on all social media platforms and then post the same content everywhere.
You need to purposefully understand your audience, where they like to hang out, and what kind of topics they are searching for. Where does your audience spend their time? TikTok, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, podcasts, Instagram? When you have this figured out, you can focus on setting up visuals, content and taglines that will appeal to that market.
After you have the answers to these questions fleshed out (I recommend that you write them all down and post them somewhere that you can reference—remember, it’s ok if they change as you will grow the more action you take), then you can start the logistical process of picking a domain name for your brand, exploring the different web hosting sites and writing your bio so people know what you do.
Remember, one of the best ways to stand out is to pair something you love with something your audience needs. Don’t worry too much about a saturated market. If you are really passionate about the subject you choose and don’t want to change, remember, you are a unique person with a unique story and perspective. That alone will help set you apart.