Self-made billionaires almost universally have well-established and powerful personal brands that they use opportunistically to generate even greater success. This is no accident. They’ve taken a proactive approach to crafting and leveraging their personal brands.
Here’s how they do it—and how you can emulate their mindset and actions to create your own personal brand that can help you build serious wealth.
Just what is a personal brand?
Brands are the economic engines of many large and smaller companies. Disney, Coca-Cola and Apple are three of the biggest examples of brands that resonate with consumers.
A personal brand works much the same way. Generally speaking, a powerful personal brand is a declaration of who you are, what you can do and what you stand for. Having a powerful personal brand means:
- You are engaging to a particular audience in a very meaningful way. It is not about being broadly famous.
- You are well-known and well-respected within a specific community—one that can be highly useful to your business activities.
- You communicate directly and regularly with that community in ways its members find compelling.
- You develop preferred relationships with your audience that accrue professional advantages for you.
- You stand out from others—especially your competitors—in the eyes of your community.
For these reasons, a personal brand is an astoundingly effective way to create and magnify business success. Even though it’s intangible, your personal brand is a high-value economic asset that can add significant value to nearly every business endeavor you are involved with.
Important: Powerful personal brands are not in any way restricted to celebrities, politicians or the wealthiest. Almost anyone can craft a powerful personal brand and benefit greatly from it.
The powerful personal brand-building process
The most obvious way to build a powerful personal brand is to consistently do what you say you’ll do over a period of several decades.
You might want a faster method, however!
The good news: Through deliberate and systematic efforts, you can craft a powerful personal brand much, much quicker. Many top self-made billionaires have managed the process to expedite and maximize the value of their brands. (That said, even a fast-track approach requires knowledge and perseverance.)
The first step: Conduct a gap analysis. You need to determine what your personal brand is today and what your ideal personal brand is.
To assess your current personal brand, you need to determine how the audience you are most interested in sees you today, and why those people view you that way. Then, you want to think about the end goal—your ideal personal brand. How do you want that same audience to perceive you? What do you want people in your audience to think about you?
Of course, as you craft your powerful personal brand, you are likely to refine the details. But by understanding the gap between where you are today and where you want to be, you can plot out the moves that can close the gap and create the powerful personal brand that you want most.
Next: Once you know where you want to go, there are basically three interconnected components to crafting a powerful personal brand.
Component #1: The promise
The promise is core to what your powerful personal brand stands for and delivers to others. It is the “halo” you have even before you meet people. Your promise is how others will see you and what they will expect from you. It tells them:
- What you stand for and why
- What you can do for other people
- Why you are credible
- Why you are the best choice
- Why they should make a concerted effort to work with you
In constructing your personal brand promise, you want to focus on:
- Your strengths—in particular, what you can provide to others that is as good as, or better than, what most anyone else can provide
- What makes you stand out (in a positive manner)
- How you can meaningfully better the lives of the people you care about
- Your unique expertise and capabilities, and how you came to have them
Important: Your promise should be realistic. You do not want to over-guarantee to your ideal audience only to badly underdeliver.
Component #2: The experience
The experience is the promise actualized. It is your ability to deliver on what you promised to provide. In order for you to establish, maintain and expand a powerful personal brand, the experience people have in dealing with you must go beyond just meeting their expectations. You will need to go beyond what they anticipate so that interacting with you becomes a sensational experience for them. There has to be a “WOW” factor that they were not anticipating.
Case study: An extremely wealthy business owner explained that he put together a list of all the promises attached to his brand—from the quality of his products to the responsiveness of his firm to his personal attention to detail. Next to each of these promises, he specified one or more ways to dazzle his customers and peers. These forms of greater value were incorporated into the company’s processes as well as his own behavior with customers—thus ensuring a “WOW” experience.
The experience is intended to verify and reinforce the promise. It is also critical for communicating the promise to other people. Word-of-mouth and repeat business interactions are large parts of building a powerful personal brand. Therefore, the experience has to match—better yet, exceed—the promise.
Component #3: The results
The results are the advantages and benefits you accrue from having a powerful personal brand. There are two types of results:
- Results that benefit other people
- Results that benefit you
The results benefiting other people tie back to the promise of your powerful personal brand coupled with the “WOW” experience you deliver. The results these people receive can go a long way in bolstering the promise and justifying the experience.
The results that benefit you can take a number of forms such as:
- More and superior business opportunities
- The ability to make excellent deals
- Loyalty from key stakeholders around you—such as employees, clients and intermediaries
The ultimate outcome: Greater business success, translating into a more substantial personal fortune.
Consistency is King
As you move forward, keep in mind that branding is tough—and is not a one-and-done endeavor.
To craft and maintain a powerful personal brand that delivers truly outstanding success means you must always be attuned to your brand and ensure your statements and actions align. What you say and do is all part of your brand. Everything about you needs to reflect your powerful personal brand. Your statements and actions should always reinforce the image you want to project.
Ultimately, the aim is for consistency that reinforces your professional persona.
That’s true regardless of whether you’re a billionaire. The power of a personal brand and branding efforts, done well, can supercharge your own wealth and vision of professional and personal success for decades to come.