When you find yourself looking for new opportunities, how do you compete with the competition? Do you find yourself fiercely cutting prices in order to compete, or do you have another way to make your service seem and feel valuable to those you’re trying to reach.
Authority Equity is “anything that adds to or subtracts from your real or perceived value—tangible and intangible—as a business person, employee, manager or leader.”
In other words, those things that make you valuable in your role, or detract from that value, are part of your AE. This is, of course, your capabilities and expertise, but it’s also your attitude, relationships, reach, influence and uniqueness. Your equity is the value of those characteristics.
So, what can you do if you wish to develop authority equity? What about if you wish to have the kind of value that causes others to desire to work with you, and only you? Here are some steps for building authority equity.
1. Know Who You Are
Your personal brand and your personal branding efforts start with knowing who you really are, and who you are not. You must be aware of what you have to offer and what your ultimate goal may be.
This one is tough because we all have an inner critic. But you must be able to think outside of the here and now and dream big. What have you ever been able to think about yourself? Where do you see yourself in the next few years? What about the next decade? Why are you doing what you’re doing now? What is it that you can do that no one else can?
Then dig a little deeper. Do you regularly get praised for certain things? What do your coworkers, clients or managers trust you to do well? What words do other people use to describe you and your skills? Is there any way that you achieve your results that is unique or interesting? Don’t forget to consider your passions and interests and find those things that really drive you.
Answering these questions will help you know yourself, and this is the first step in creating a personal brand equity.
2. Define the Needs of Your Customers Clients or Employer
Once you’ve determined who you are and what makes you special, you need to outline the needs of the people who could use your skills. What do these people need? What do they like to do? Who do they hang out with? What do they talk about?
While analyzing your target client or market, make sure you consider the following: do they look in magazines? Are they on LinkedIn? Do they search online? Do they work primarily through referrals? These questions will guide you as you work to create a personal brand that reaches them where they are.
3. Create a Personal Brand Position Statement
Next, build a position statement that outlines your personal brand. This statement needs to include the following elements:
- Identifying the target market through outlining a niche or job title
- Choosing those personal characteristics that define how the individual wishes to be perceived
- Defining and deselecting those skills and attributes that you wish to showcase.
- Defining what makes you unique
So, a position statement may read as:
I am a skilled professional who helps small marketing businesses develop and implement content creation strategies that guarantee a far reach. No other writer in the market can combine the years of online marketing experience, uniquely personal writing style and outside-the-box thinking with the contacts, experience and speed that I have.
4. Create a Personal Branding Plan
A plan that’s written down with clearly defined goals will drive your personal branding efforts. Some of the goals you may want in your branding plan can include professional organization membership, attending conferences, improving social media presence or speaking and publishing opportunities.
Your personal branding plan should not simply be a list of these items. It needs to include steps you can take to reach those goals and a way to define and measure the return on investment of your efforts.
5. Commit to Your Plan and Adjust as Needed
Once you have your plan, commit to it, then take time to measure your success and adjust as needed. Track engagement on your website to utilize the most effective advertising and social media platforms.
Ask contacts how they heard about you. Measure and assess your media exposure. By measuring and adjusting, you will be able to determine if you’re on track to achieve the goals in your plan and make those changes necessary to stay on track.
6. Make an Investment in Yourself
Your goal during this time is to get your AE to your audience. This takes time, so think of it as an investment in yourself.
Just like a major corporation gives hours of its time to creating its marketing plan and acting on it, building the brand that people know and trust today, you will need to do the same to build your personal brand equity into something people know and trust.
Remember, your personal brand equity is not about making everyone happy. It’s about determining whom you wish to reach and tailoring your personal branding efforts to reach that target audience, all while enjoying confidence in your own personal value. Be clear about who you are and what you wish to attain, and you’ll soon find personal brand equity growing.