Personal branding and marketing is all about discovering what sets you apart from your colleagues and competitors. To use marketing terms, you need to identify your unique selling proposition (USP) and then find ways to consistently convey it to your target audience.
This is a point that was driven home for me when I interviewed independent producer and entrepreneur Tumi Makgabo for my book Branding & Marketing YOU.
Tumi’s clear understanding of her unique gifts and talents is the foundation of her effective personal brand. She has identified her USP and communicates this again and again to her target audience.
When I interviewed Tumi, she explained that one of her strengths that sets her apart is her ability to connect with people beyond the TV camera lens. “It’s not something that I’ve worked on. I’m very fortunate because it’s just an ability I have,” she said. The question for Tumi was how to fine-tune that gift. She also understands very well what she’s good at and what she’s not so good at.
“I’m not humourous and I’m not the type of person who would be good on an entertainment show because that’s not my strength,” she told me candidly. “I have to understand what I feel comfortable in. If I’m comfortable, the people around me will feel comfortable and they’ll be able to relate to me.”
Tumi has spent a lot of effort fine-tuning what makes her brand distinctive. Masterful brands always seek to build on their strengths to make sure that they highlight their key differentiators. It’s much easier to market your personal brand if you have a clear understanding of the unique value-add that you can offer your clients.
To find your USP, you need to begin by identifying your strengths and the qualities that make you different from someone else with the same qualifications, experience and titles as you. The way I explain it is: if I have a corner café and you have a corner café, what will make people choose yours over mine?
Write down a list of your talents and strengths and then find ways of “packaging” them into a strong personal value proposition that you can consistently market to clients and prospective clients.
Tumi is very clear about what her brand stands for and she makes sure that when she’s given the opportunity to talk about herself, she communicates her strengths, values and passions. She has successfully positioned her personal brand around her ability to connect with people and her passion for women, Africa and empowerment.
Identify your USP and then find a medium to communicate it consistently, again and again. That’s how top personal brands are built.