9.11.2009

To Build a Brand, You Have To Be the Brand


Written By Jesse Muhammad

Critical question: Is the brand that you are presently building and promoting an extension of your values?

The answer to this question could make or break how successful you are in magnetizing your products and services. If it is not representing you, then it is not authentic. The brand is only as powerful as the person who represents it. So the first brand that must be built is YOU. If people don’t buy into you first, they will not buy into your product, services, organization or venture.

Here are some tips to properly brand YOU:

Keep updated professional photos: I know you are still using the same pictures from 20 years ago to promote yourself because you may be uncomfortable with the way you look now but that can undermine your image. Hire a professional photographer and do a fresh photo shoot once a year.



Step up your appearance: Every time you leave your home, you are representing your brand. The man with a potential million dollar plan who looks like he just finished playing rugby won't get heard. Be creative with your look but don't get outrageous. When you step into a room you will command attention without having to say a word.

Plant your image: Emails and text messages are the norm but nothing beats human contact. Stay abreast on the happenings in your city so you can make an appearance. I have a friend who goes to a minimum of seven events per week to network with people he can potentially add value to and vice versa. Whether it's a banquet, community event or private invite, do your best to plant your image into the minds of as many people you can because you never know when your big break will come.


Stop running from technology: Sometimes just hearing the words Facebook, Twitter or Blogs causes some of us to tremble. But you cannot negate the power of building your brand through online real estate. Although you can always hire an expert, I encourage you to learn as much as you can about how these Internet platforms work because even 78-year-old billionaire Rupert Murdoch studied MySpace before purchasing it. Now, what is your excuse?

Build your database & follow up: Most potential business relationships go down the drain due to poor follow up. So you have to be relentless in following up on conversations you have with people who want to do business with you. Don't wait for them to do it, you do it! It shows them that you and your brand should be taken seriously. My friend Russell Simmons told me “I like people who don’t give up easily when they are trying to do business with me”.

Build your brand by being the brand.