Achieve the Best Return on Investment for Your Personal Brand (Part 2 of 2)
By : Tracy Ho
How to win respect and influence people
In our last column, we talked about building your personal brand equity as the foundation of your company. According to Inc., “when people speak of ‘brand equity,’ they mean the public’s valuation of a brand.” In other words, brand equity acts as a framework for companies to understand the power of their target customers’ emotions to determine their positioning.
Our online presence plays a crucial role in establishing our brand equity. You may be amazed that many startup founders do not even care that their customers, investors, and staff would Google them before making purchasing, funding, or employment decisions.
According to research done by the book Brand Aid, “among 6,000 C-suite executive respondents, 78% of them indicated that they would look up the salespeople before meeting them.” We are now living in an interconnected world, where information cost is incredibly low. People across continents can find information about each other with a click or two.
Positive brand equity helps to generate a good rapport, and build trust with potential business partners and people who may want to work for you–all before the first in-person meeting. Strategic personal brand-building takes time, energy, and resources.
There is, unfortunately, no exact formula for measuring the return on investment (ROI) of your brand. A common misconception is that you can track your ROI based on every dollar you spend, like with Google Analytics. To measure ROI, we must instead look at personal branding from a long-term perspective by regularly monitoring whether the perception has been formed as desired.
Let’s go over the ‘BRAND’ model that I use with clients:
- Bell is rung, and the door is knocked: When you develop a good personal brand, people search for you instead of you reaching out to find leads. Your ROI can be measured by the number of leads coming in per month. Many factors may cause an increase in leads, but it can be an indicator of whether you are achieving positive ROI on your personal brand.
- Referrals and word-of-mouth: These are powerful tools for bringing in business. Trust can’t be bought, but it can be nurtured. Your brand story, online presence, and the positive experience of your clients will help raise your brand equity over time, and hence, your ROI.
- Authority is built: People should recognize you as an industry leader or expert on a topic. Your brand will be able to draw attention and support from investors, customers, and talents who are fascinated by your insights. You can measure ROI by looking at the ease of acquiring contacts, conversion rates, cost of hiring, etc.
- Network is expanding: People would feel they know you because they have already heard your insights from your online content or talks. Those who follow you will trust you, and then buy from you.
- Differentiate your brand: Consistently delivering a clear and concise story that allows people to understand the value of hiring builds trust. Your brand narrative will become a strong differentiator that sets you apart from the crowd.
You have the opportunity to establish your brand and tell your story. If you leave it to chance or allow others to frame you, then you are putting your success at risk. Take control of your brand now, and make it the best investment you’ve ever made.
About the Author
Tracy is a leading personal branding strategist based in Asia. She is the Founder and Managing Director of Frame and Fame, an award-winning personal branding boutique. Tracy is also a personal branding coach for various MBA programs, startup accelerators, co-working spaces, and universities in Hong Kong.