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How to Establish a Distinct Brand Identity in a Saturated Market My top tips for creating a unique brand that stands out amongst competitors.

By Chad Willardson Edited by Chelsea Brown

Key Takeaways

  • How to craft and communicate your brand
  • How to build community and engagement
  • How to scale your business through personal branding

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In today's digital world, crafting a standout personal brand is essential for success as a business leader. One thing's for sure: Consumers trust and purchase from real people more than impersonal brand names. This is especially true with a service business. According to the recent national research study, "Trends in Personal Branding," personal branding is more than just a social media personality contest. The data showed that 67% percent of ALL Americans would be willing to spend more money on products and services from the companies of founders whose personal brand aligns with their own personal values.

A personal brand that captures your unique expertise can elevate your business and create a loyal customer base. That same study mentioned above showed that 74% of all Americans reveal they're "more likely to trust someone who has an established personal brand." In perhaps the most powerful statistic of the entire study, it turns out that 82% of all Americans agree that "companies are more influential if their executives have a personal brand that they know and follow.

Let's explore some action steps you can take to build a brand identity that cuts through the noise of a crowded marketplace.

Related: 8 Reasons a Powerful Personal Brand Will Make You Successful

Crafting and communicating your brand

Your personal brand is the story you tell the world, and your audience wants to learn something genuine about you and your brand story. It's crucial to share not only your professional triumphs but also the personal stories and passions that make you relatable, such as your hobbies, family, travels, etc. Consistency in your messaging creates a coherent narrative, while authenticity fosters a trusting relationship with your audience.

Embrace the platforms where your audience engages the most. For professionals, LinkedIn is often the go-to, serving as a space to demonstrate expertise and share personal insights. Authoring books and hosting podcasts can elevate your authority, allowing you to reach a wider audience with in-depth knowledge. My brand and reputation on LinkedIn didn't soar until I added a lot of authentic posts and stories and less boring business-focused posts. Sharing personal aspects should be done thoughtfully, ensuring each story aligns with your professional message and adds value to your brand narrative.

Building community and engagement

The goal of a personal brand is to create a community, not just a following. Engagement is key. Encourage your audience to participate in conversations or debates through comments, forums and direct messaging. This interaction makes your brand relatable and accessible.

Responding to feedback and adapting your brand message is important, but remember to stay true to your core values. Avoid the trap of overpromotion, and strive for a balance that promotes engagement over sales. Your brand should inspire interaction and foster a genuine connection.

Building relationships with other like-minded entrepreneurs can open the door to opportunities that are mutually beneficial, such as speaking on a podcast or attending an upcoming event. When you collaborate with others outside of your immediate followers, you're able to tap into their audience, gaining exposure to potential customers who already trust your collaborators' judgment.

To be most effective in growing your audience, select partners whose personal brands resonate with your own. Their followers should have interests that overlap with the products and services you offer. For example, if your brand is built on financial literacy, partnering with influencers in the personal development space could be advantageous.

Scaling your business through personal branding

Success in personal branding can often be qualitative. Look for engagement beyond likes and shares — genuine messages from your audience and opportunities for collaboration are indicators of a resonant personal brand. As your brand gains traction, use your influence to support your business goals. A strong personal brand can lead to new ventures and partnerships while amplifying your reach. As you scale, maintain the integrity of your brand. Growth should enhance, not compromise, the personal touch that distinguishes your brand from the rest.

Building a personal brand is an ongoing process that involves sharing your journey and leveraging your experiences. It's a powerful strategy for entrepreneurs, offering a platform for growth and the opportunity to make a real impact. Maintain authenticity, consistency, and focus on community. These principles will guide you in creating a personal brand that not only stands out but also stands for something meaningful.

A reputation is built up by trust, and a personal brand is a trust accelerator. Another recent study found that 76% of American Millennials are more likely to buy from a person with a personal brand.

Related: 6 Strategies You Need To Ensure Your Personal Brand Stands Out

1. Define and deliver your value proposition clearly

Imagine you're a chef at a bustling food market. Every other stall is offering a range of dishes, each with its own mix of flavors and ingredients. To stand out, you need to have a signature dish — something that no one else offers, that tells your story and satisfies a unique craving. Your value proposition is that dish.

What is it that you provide that no one else does? Maybe it's a unique combination of services, or perhaps it's a particular approach to wealth management that's both approachable and highly effective. Once you've defined it, communicate it consistently across all platforms — be it on your LinkedIn profile, on your podcast shows or when speaking at events. Make it clear, make it appealing, and ensure it speaks to the core of what your audience values.

2. Personalize your client experience

Imagine each client interaction as a handcrafted gift. It's not just about the content inside the package — it's about the wrapping, the note that accompanies it and the perfect timing of its delivery. Your clients should feel that every piece of advice and every service you offer, is tailored specifically for them.

This doesn't mean creating entirely different services for each individual, but it does mean understanding their unique challenges and goals. Use client feedback to refine your offerings. Send personalized communications. Host events that cater to their interests and values. By personalizing the client experience, you build a relationship that feels exclusive and deeply connected to their needs.

3. Educate and empower your audience

Just as a gardener nurtures plants to grow, so should you cultivate your audience's financial knowledge. Education is empowerment — and by providing valuable, easily digestible information, you position yourself as not just a service provider but a guide and mentor.

Start a blog or a YouTube series focused on financial literacy, using simple language and relatable analogies. Explain complex concepts using common life experiences, like comparing diversified investments to a balanced diet. Not only will this reinforce your brand as a source of valuable knowledge, but it will also foster trust and deepen the relationship with your audience.

Related: The 3 Questions You Must Answer to Make Your Brand Stand Out

In a saturated market, your personal brand isn't just a label; it's your distinct edge. Your key to success is authenticity and engagement. By genuinely connecting with your audience and consistently delivering on your unique value proposition, you create more than just a brand; you build trust and long-term loyalty. It's about being relatable yet professional, innovative yet grounded.

Remember, in the realm of entrepreneurship, your personal brand is a powerful tool that drives not just visibility but real, meaningful business relationships. Cultivate it with intention, and watch it become your most valuable asset in navigating the competitive business landscape that we all find ourselves in.

Chad Willardson

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Founder of Platinum Elevated & Pacific Capital, 5X Best-Selling Author

Chad Willardson is the Founder and President of Pacific Capital, a fiduciary wealth advisory firm serving high-net-worth entrepreneurs and families. Alongside being one of the top wealth management experts in the country, Willardson is also a three-time best-selling author.

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