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Personal Branding: Four Key Questions to Ask Yourself As The New Year Dawns

As we look forward towards the New Year, it’s an opportune time to reflect on the state of your business, and of your personal brand in particular. Today, we’re going to identify four key questions which are designed to get to the core of who you are and what you stand for—and to help you get back on track if necessary.

So take a few moments to think through each of these questions and answer them honestly.

1) What are your core values? Forget the specifics of your products and services for a moment. What are the key values that you stand for, or want to stand for? Examples could include customer service, honesty, and integrity. But many successful businesses also have a deeper purpose that drives them. Starbucks, for instance, doesn’t just want to sell coffee - they have made it a goal to create a place for community interaction and engagement. Why are you in business? What do you stand for? Don’t move on from this question until you’ve got an answer!

2) What are the primary benefits of your products and services? What do your customers get out of doing business with you? What do you provide that helps them get through the day more easily, or helps them sleep better at night, or helps them run their business more profitably? While you’re marketing, it is important to focus on these benefits as opposed to the specifications and details that go into your products or services. So make sure you’ve identified your key benefits. And if you’re having trouble articulating them, ask a handful of your loyal customers what they appreciate most about your business.

3) What makes you different from your competition? To put it simply … why should someone choose you instead of a competitor? Is it your years of experience, your unique approach, or the superior level of service you provide? These points of differentiation should be prominently featured in your personal branding efforts, so take the time to clearly identify them if you haven’t already.

4) Who is your target market? Who are your ideal customers? Where are they located geographically? What is their age range? Do you focus primarily on men, women, or does gender not matter? What languages do they speak? What is their income level? The list of questions could go on, but you get the point. You may be thinking “I already know who my customers are!” But going through the exercise of defining your market may provide new insight, and will certainly help you keep your branding and marketing efforts focused in the right place. So spend a few moments during this holiday season creating a profile of your target market – and use it to guide your marketing strategy in 2014!

Your answers to these questions should play a large role in defining your personal brand. Your brand should be grounded in your core values. It should emphasize your key benefits and what differentiates you from your competitors. And it should be crafted to resonate with your target market. If you’d like to learn more about this subject, or if you’d like help enhancing your branding and marketing efforts in the New Year, please contact us today!

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