Archive | Personal Branding

The Brand Triangle – three elements for better lead generation and sales success

What does it take for people to buy our products and services – and why does the brand triangle help us with lead generation and sales conversion?

They are effectively buying a promise that they will receive a benefit. Buyers need to have a lot of trust, especially for larger, complex and mission-critical purchases.

We see that trust is needed at three levels:

  • in the sales advisor – the person helping the buyer to decide,
  • in the product or service – that they are contracting to buy, and
  • in the company or business – that is delivering, supporting and developing the product or service.

Brand Triangle Personal Product Company Wurlwind

Consider this – when you last bought something significant did you need to feel comfortable in all three areas?

And if you chose not to buy something from a supplier was that because you disqualified them in one of these areas?

Putting the customer at the centre of the brand triangle

We’re being advised to “put the customer at the heart of our business”.

And this is especially true here, in this brand triangle model.

More than that, the concentric rings represent suspects, prospects, customers and advocates as we move to the bullseye.

And in our eyes these are defined as:

  • suspects – qualifying contacts – people (and companies) who meet our criteria of ‘ideal clients’, even if they don’t have a need just yet.
  • prospects – qualifying opportunities – people (and companies) who meet our criteria AND they have a need for what we provide
  • customers/clients – people (and companies) who have paid us money in return for our goods and services
  • advocates – customers and business partners who are actively recommending and referring us to other potential buyers

And, if viewed graphically from the side this looks rather like the sales funnel, with suspect at the top of the funnel and advocates at the bottom.

The rise of Personal Branding

Personal branding has been around for many years at the celebrity level, for people in the public eye in film, music, sport, politics etc.

Personal branding for senior professionals, consultants, business owners and others in business is relatively new.

There is admittedly considerable overlap with reputation.

Time was when it took a lot of money and time to create a brand and communicate it, so it was the preserve of larger companies and significant products – ones with sizeable sales and revenue potential.

The Internet and digital channels have broken down the cost barriers allowing individuals to develop and communicate their personal and professional brands in a way that was unthinkable and unreachable even a decade years ago.

In business personal branding rarely exists in isolation, and this article on the brand triangle attempts to clarify the interrelationships in a practical way.

Lead Generation – Engaging with Suspects and Prospects

Lead generation may be a continuous background activity and/or a campaign by campaign specific activity.

Outbound lead generation

In this model this means essentially identifying people who are our ideal clients and reaching out to them with a message that attempts to touch those who are interested.

This might mean advertising, it might be cold-calling. It might be direct mail. and there are many other activities.

We may strike lucky and contact those who are interested (prospects), but there are probably many who are not looking and are merely suspects.

The pitfalls of this are the number of people who are interrupted and who are not looking for what we offer, and the cost of that failure.

Inbound lead generation

The beauty of this is that we are only attracting prospects to contact us – people who are actively looking to solve a problem that we can solve.

We are doing this by understanding what they are looking for, and being in the places where they are going.

This might be (relevant) exhibitions and conferences, website optimisation for SEO value, article marketing, content marketing etc.

The pitfalls are that there are many places our buyers might look, and there’s a big investment especially if we only want a small number of clients.

Three strands to lead generation

To very briefly touch on a huge topic, lead generation can be undertaken by any combination of the three elements, personal, product and company.

For smaller businesses and solopreneurs the individual will be more significant than the product or company level.

  • Personal lead generation – this might be cold calling, seeking introductions, encouraging referrals,
  • Product/service based lead generation – this might be more offer based, with a price promotion for example, or specific SEO type activity
  • Company level lead generation – this is where PR, the website, sponsorship, exhibitions and so on are typical of this level

This highlights the challenge for many solopreneurs and small businesses – developing a marketing strategy – and then executing it effectively.

The brand triangle model can provide ideas about how outbound and inbound are complementary, and evolve over time.

A client of ours had an effective start-up model – the 4 + 40 + 400 strategy. He took a direct sales approach to gain his first 4 clients. He then employed a sales person and together they won the next 40. Then he recruited distribution partners to reach the next 400 clients.


Lead Nurture – the Know, Like and Trust Journey

Much of what we do in sales and marketing is to build up that trust, by going through the Know, Like and Trust progression with prospects.

  • The company visibility and reputation is developed over time, to emphasise that it is a good organisation as a supplier.
  • The products and services are created, updated, communicated, promoted, delivered, to reassure potential buyers of their value.
  • And personal contact continues to guide, advise and steer the buyer (or buyers) through their buying journey.

Again, this is where the brand triangle model is very useful, to check that trust is being established in all 3 areas.

Larger businesses will have marketing departments and product teams responsible for these activities, which will support front-line sales people.

Business owners, solopreneurs, consultants and others running their own business will be responsible for these aspects themselves.


Why does a Personal Brand matter?

Impulse purchases – those that are low cost, low risk – probably are not that influenced by personal brand. Sure, we’d prefer to deal with a friendly shop owner or assistant, but increasingly we’re happy to buy online from an ecommerce website.

Considered purchases however are much more influenced by the person who provides information, advice and who guides us through the purchase decision.

And they may have been our first contact with the proposition, especially if they contacted us, or if we were referred to them by someone.

And, in a wider context, Personal Brand is “what people know about us, and how they feel about us”, based on what they can find out and what they hear from others.

And this is where a positive Personal Brand and also visibility is a huge asset.

1. Our Personal Brand helps us to engage better

The purchase/sales process starts when a buyer engages. And that initial engagement could be in any of these areas – person, product or company.

It could be as a result of outbound lead generation or an inbound enquiry triggered by one of a plethora of activities. If personal brand is minimal then that’s reducing the engagement opportunity by a third.

2. Our Personal Brand helps us build Trust more quickly

When you rapidly moved through the purchase process was it because you were quickly and convincingly taken through the know like and trust progression in all three areas?

And was that because the person leading the sale demonstrated that they, their products and the company were aligned with meeting specific needs you had?

Once they had established trust as a person with you were you more willing to trust what they said about the products and about the company?

They demonstrated that they understood you, and had invested thought, time and probably money to meet the needs that you and others like you have, on a repeatable basis.

3. Our Personal Brand makes us more memorable

It may be cheesy to have nick-names, strap-lines, memory phrases and other devices that we choose to associate with our names, but they are ways of making ourselves more memorable, and memorable for something specific – a positioning statement or similar.

By taking responsibility for this, creating a phrase, using it regularly, we are making it easier for people to remember us for what we want to be remembered for. Without it we may be forgotten more easily, or people are unclear about our positioning.

4. Our Personal Brand makes us more referrable

Once we have become memorable, and have a market position, and maintain consistency, we become much more referable. We become the go-to person for something specific – for our specialisation. When a topic comes up in conversation, or a question, or a need, we are the name that is mentioned.



How to develop a Personal Brand

Over the past few years I’ve worked with and helped many independent consultants and business owners to discover, define and develop their personal brand.

This goes way beyond a CV, and beyond the positioning statement at the head of the CV.

And of course they should be created with the ideal client in mind, which is where this article started.

So let’s put the customer at the heart of our personal brand, as they are at the heart of our businesses.

For more information, advice and tips about PERSONAL BRANDING – take a look at  the Category here.

For more information about Personal Branding and the Brand Triangle

There are many resources about Personal Branding on this website, and on the Internet.

For example, have a look at the Wikipedia entry on Personal Branding here.

And for a chat about the Brand Triangle, Personal Branding and Lead Generation topics raised here why not book a discovery call with me, Mark Stonham, below.

Mark Stonham Wurlwind Discovery Call

Advanced Personal Branding – creating scale through leverage

LinkedIn Lead Generation Advanced Personal Branding Mark Stonham Wurlwind

Some people have been very successful at developing their personal brand into very successful businesses. Richard Branson and Virgin, Steve Jobs and Apple, Jamie Oliver to highlight just 3.

To me there are three things they do extremely well:

  • They have created and developed a reputation or personal brand that positions them very successfully
  • They have a means of monetizing their value in ways that go far beyond trading time for money
  • They run promotional projects and develop partnerships with peers to create a win:win

Solo-preneurs such as independent consultants, coaches, trainers, some sales people, and others have developed products or alliances that match these aspects and they run them as virtual organisations.
Business leaders do similar but in a more formal way, through a company that employs people and has contractual relationships with suppliers and distributors.

In both scenarios there are many similarities about the person who is the leader, the figure-head, the entrepreneur. And Advanced Personal Branding is an important factor.
The reality also is that they have a team of people who support them in what they do, and these people gain in several ways, financially, reputationally, in skills and experience etc.

Think of a few people in your field, or other fields, who you recognise as leaders? Think of 3 specific people – maybe at different levels – A-List, B-List and C-List to use the media celebrity classification.

Would you like to be viewed by others in the same way? How would that feel?

How would it change the way you went around lead generation, and the revenue and profit of your business?

How would it change your goals, plans and activities?

Who would benefit from Advanced Personal Branding?

Here are some examples of the types of people we’ve worked with for whom this strategy is applicable:

  • Business Leaders – people such as the CEO or Managing Director who are the public face of the business and who have a team of people who they support and who support them.
  • Independent Consultants – especially those who have a productized offering such as books, training courses, group programs and other revenue systems.
  • Sales Leaders – people in a senior business development role who are leading growth in existing or new markets for the business.
  • Subject Matter Experts – for example in technology companies this could be the CTO, or in a marketing agency the Creative Director.

What does Advanced Personal Branding look like in practice?

There are many activities that can be part of the mix to develop and build visibility through advanced personal branding such as:

  • write a book
  • speak at conferences
  • be active in the professional association for your sector
  • run a masterclass group
  • lead a discussion group or forum online

And alongside this LinkedIn is a powerful network to support, re-inforce and leverage that activity.

How can LinkedIn be used as part of a strategy to develop Advanced Personal Branding?

There are many techniques and tactics for how LinkedIn can be used to support an advanced personal branding strategy such as:

  • write our LinkedIn Personal Profile to convey our value and influence in a way that positions us as a leader in our field, and be found for this
  • create content, especially articles and status updates to lead the thinking in the specific specialisation and educate and inform followers
  • curate content from other reputable sources to help followers to develop their knowledge, their sources, as well as to build credibility

And within that strategy, LinkedIn can be part of the Customer Journey to lead people to other resources, such as newsletters and downloadable information via landing pages on our websites.

What results can be achieved through Advanced Personal Branding?

With a well designed and executed strategy there are many potential outcomes and benefits, for example in the following areas:

  • Increased conversion rates at various stages throughout the buyers’ journey, for you and/or your marketing and sales team
  • Generate and attract enquiries and approaches for partnership, co-ventures and other commercial alliances
  • Gain invitations to speaking opportunities to further raise your personal and business profile
  • Referrals to people who would benefit from your specialist knowledge
  • Enquiries and leads for sales opportunities for you, or that can be passed to your sales team
  • Increased visitor/traffic to your Linkedin profile, website and other digital and online properties, where you can build your following, your email list etc.

Having various lead capture, qualification, response and lead nurture processes and systems in place is beneficial to effectively and efficiently handle what will hopefully be a rapid increase in the number of inbound contacts and enquiries received.

Three essential elements to make Advance Personal Branding commercially effective

The ability to deliver value to partners as well as customers and clients becomes increasingly important for those who want to develop an advanced personal brand.

  1. Clarity about our Identity – because we will be investing a lot of time, effort and money to develop our reputation. Building a reputation around a skill and ability that we are naturally good at is so much easier and less stressful.
  2. Mastery of our Market – to understand not just customers and clients but also the other players, and whether they are competitors or potential collaborators. This helps us identify a unique niche where we can be Number 1.
  3. Effective Promotions, Projects and Partnerships – design and execution of effective promotional campaigns ourselves and then agreeing and executing joint campaigns, co-promotions, partnerships and similar activities. This helps us plan and run successful campaigns that achieve financial, development and learning goals and increase in scale progressively.

It takes years to build a reputation. It can also take years to build the team and infrastructure to support the monetization of that reputation. For those who are successful the rewards can be huge.

How Linkedin can be used in Advanced personal Branding

Here are a number of suggestions for ways LinkedIn can be used as part of Advanced Personal Branding

  • To research a market, to understand what it is, who the players are, what they offer and who their clients are
  • To communicate our identity and specialisation through our LinkedIn Personal Profile and the content we share
  • To identify potential partners and activities that we can collaborate around, such as conferences and events
  • To develop a channel of followers who we can provide value to
  • To invite our followers to enter our sales funnel is an appropriate way
  • To share the successes that we have helped our customers, clients and partners to achieve

Additional LinkedIn Lead Generation Strategies from Wurlwind

This is one of 7 LinkedIn Lead Generation Strategies we’ve designed and developed to progressively help people get more benefit from LinkedIn.

Have a look at other strategies via these links, or download our Pocket Guide below for a handy guide.

And if you’d like an exploratory chat please book a call and add a topic via the following online diary.

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Download LinkedIn Lead Generation Pocket Guide

Personal Branding – making the most of the LinkedIn Personal Profile

Social Selling Matrix Personal Brand
The Internet and Social Media has changed our ability to find information, and also to publish information.

One significant area of this is our ability to publish information about ourselves, so that others can find, read and make decisions based on it.

This opens up the opportunity for personal branding for everyone – business leaders, sales leaders, business professionals.  

No longer is it just celebrities; politicians, sports personalities, film stars, pop stars and others who have access to vast audiences through media.

Whether your prime role is sales leader or business owner, there are several ways you can use LinkedIn to support your customer service and set up subsequent sales.

By investing a little time and thought we can all create and communicate a personal brand. For people in business this can be a huge benefit, in many many ways.

Quick start tips

LinkedIn is the principle place to publish the substance of our personal brands and establish our professional positioning.

  • Complete the background sections of your LinkedIn profile – your work history, education, qualifications, additional interests etc. as fully as possible
  • Create a Summary and Headline that is crafted for your audience and objectives and your specialisation and role
  • Add credentials through the company that you keep – your key connections, professional associations, groups and more
  • Share content that builds and enhances your positioning, to stay front-of-mind, start conversations and develop business relationships.

The mechanics of the LinkedIn Profile is about execution. The challenge for many is (re)defining our purpose, positioning and proposition for the brave new world of Social Selling.

LinkedIn Tips for a compelling Personal Profile

1. Getting the Profile basics right

A minimalist profile on LinkedIn is a missed opportunity, and could have negative consequences for your marketing, sales and customer relationships.

  • Follow the LinkedIn Prompts and complete the various section for education and previous work experience etc.
  • Check your profile settings so the ‘right’ things are visible and the sensitive things are hidden
  • Use the Skills section to find keywords relevant to your role and position, and add them to your profile and to the text sections of your profile so you show up higher in the search rankings.

Now is a good time to check out who is also in your space. Search within LinkedIn for your keywords and location, eg. LinkedIn Trainer Bristol for me.

2. Write a Summary and Headline appropriate to your role

LinkedIn is not just for CVs and Job-seekers, so set yourself apart by writing with the goal of being more successful in your current role rather than your next one.

  • If you’re a Business Leader outline the purpose of your business in a way that multiple audiences can identify with
  • If you’re a Sales Leader demonstrate your expertise in client areas by highlighting business issues/aspirations your current clients were facing/desiring that you’ve resolved/enabled
  • If you’re a fee earner or part of the delivery or support team outline your contribution to clients and support for your customer facing colleagues along with your subject matter expertise.

Find some of the thought leaders in your sector, particularly those in America, and see how they are describing what they do.

3. Now build in all the social proof you can

Spend a couple of hours adding layers of proof to your profile, to extend your reach and visibility and impact when people look at your profile

  • Invite customers, business partners and colleagues to provide testimonials about you, your expertise and your contribution
  • Join relevant groups, follow relevant influencers, connect with thought leaders in your market
  • Add media to various sections of your profile, from your company website, your hard drive, and from authority sources in your market

The power of LinkedIn lets us go beyond What we know, through Who we know, to Who knows us.  Kick-start that process as soon as you can, and build on it periodically.

Download our Pocket Guide to Social Selling

If you haven’t already done so get a copy of our guide, which covers more LinkedIn Tips and introduces the Social Selling Matrix.

LinkedIn Profile Ten Steps by Wurlwind Mark Stonham

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Personal Branding – 7 steps to define and develop your personal brand

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