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Becoming the 'Benchmark' Brand Everyone Covets

The following is the final article in the series, "Personal Branding For A Better Life," in which marketing expert Jim Joseph applies big brand marketing lessons to help you build a successful personal brand.

We’ve come to the end of this series on personal branding. I’ve enjoyed mapping out the thinking around how to craft a personal plan, and I hope you’ve all gotten a few tidbits of advice that you can absorb into your lives.

I’d like to leave you with a thought, an aspiration and a goal for building your personal brand over time.

There’s a new definition of brand loyalty emerging that I think is highly relevant when we think of ourselves of brands.

Related: How You Give Back Provides Purpose to Your Personal Brand

Back in the day, a consumer was considered loyal if she chose the same brand over and over again. It might have been mere routine (sometimes mindless routine), but it was a form of loyalty that generated repeat sales. For these consumers, they were loyal to their “default brands.”

While this is good for the brand that it’s generating repeat sales, it’s actually a bit risky when you really think about it.  What happens when that consumer wakes up and pays more attention?  What happens if a competitor comes along and snaps her out of her routine with something new to think about?  Guess what? It happens every day. 

I believe a brand needs to be more engaged with consumers if it wants real loyalty and breakthrough success.  This is certainly true of people and their personal brands.

At the opposite end of being a “default brand” is the notion of being a "benchmark" brand. A benchmark brand sets a standard for its consumers -- it offers something special that no other brand can touch. As a result, the brand creates such an intense emotional connection that it becomes the gold standard in its consumers’ minds, building loyalty as a result, one that is hard for another brand to break through.

Related: Why Reputation Management Is Critical to Your Personal Brand

This makes the branding so much more active.  The consumer thinks about the brand every time she chooses it.  She’s so engaged that she goes through the thought process every single time.  But she still chooses the brand each time, because it’s become the benchmark for her -- there’s nothing better out there to satisfy her needs.

Being a benchmark brand is an amazing space to occupy in consumers' minds. Not every brand can achieve this kind of status, and it certainly varies from individual to individual.  One man’s benchmark brand is not necessarily another’s.

So my message to you is to become a benchmark brand.  Become the one who is setting the standard in whatever line of work you do -- be it in the office, at home, in school or everywhere in between.  Become the person that people look to because you are simply the best.  You call the shots, you mark the pathway and you lead by example.  You are the benchmark.

You are the person others look to for how’s in done in your field.  Become your own personal benchmark brand.

Related: Why Customers Become More Loyal After Flirting With Other Brands
 

The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.

Jim Joseph is the North American president of New York-based communications agency Cohn & Wolfe, part of the media company WPP Group PLC. He is the author of three books, including the latest, The Personal Experience Effect (Happy About 2013). Joseph also teaches marketing at New York University and blogs at JimJosephExp.com.

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