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Developing Your Personal Brand: Make Sure It’s Unique

We’ve talked quite a bit about the process of defining and building your personal brand. If you’ve been following my blog and reading my articles, you know that your personal brand can be identified by answering the following question: when people hear my name, what springs to mind? You know that the first step to building your brand is to identify the traits you’d like to be known for. And that brings us to a point that can derail your branding efforts if it’s not addressed—does your brand stand out? You may have a strong personal brand—but if it doesn’t separate you from the pack it’s not going to be much use. Effective personal branding is all about highlighting the traits that make you unique.

Take real estate agents, for instance. Most real estate agents want to be known as trustworthy, well-connected, and as great communicators. While those are all desirable traits, building a brand on those qualities alone is about exciting as vanilla ice cream. A real estate agent who wants to truly stand out from the competition needs to spice things up a bit. This doesn’t have to be difficult—in fact, simply identifying a favorite sports team or a unique hobby can be enough. The point is to give potential clients something to connect with. Generic talking points simply don’t feel “real” – but a short conversation about the state of the National Football League or a discussion of the latest episode of Glee can create a bond quickly.

Of course, the most powerful branding occurs when your unique traits or skills give you a competitive advantage. In that case, your personal brand becomes more than a way for clients to get to know you—it actually provides a powerful incentive to choose you over the competition. What’s your competitive advantage? Why should a potential client choose you instead of someone else? Maybe you’re an accountant that also happens to be a flying enthusiast—and you use your small plane to fly across the state, meeting clients wherever they are. Or maybe you’re a real estate agent with previous experience in construction, or plumbing, or even banking—experience that can be invaluable when it comes to spotting potential problems for your clients. Not only will each of those traits help you stand out among the masses, but each of them offers your clients a specific reason to choose you—because you can help them in a way that no one else will.

Now here’s the important point you need to grasp: YOU have something that sets you apart from the rest of your field. Whether it’s an incredible ability to listen and empathize with others, an ability to focus relentlessly until the job is done, or even family connections that give you an advantage over others in your line of work, each of us has something that makes us unique. So take a couple of minutes to think about what sets you apart. And then, make sure that your branding strategy includes an emphasis on the traits that make you truly one of a kind.