Personal Branding for Entrepreneurs


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Karen Kang, brand strategist, author and CEO of BrandingPays LLC shares her tips for entrepreneurs who need strong personal brands to stand out from the competition for funding, partners, customers and talent. How can the right positioning and branding spell success for you? What's your cake (rational value) and icing (emotional value)? How do you stand out from the crowd? Good career advice for anyone, not just entrepreneurs. Presented at MarketingCamp Silicon Valley 2012. #MCSV

Karen's book, BrandingPays, will be available January 15, 2013.

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  • This is not about putting lipstick on a pig.This is about positioning and packaging your content, what you are about and your unique value in a way that stands out for your key audience—whether its customers, investors or partners.Regis McKenna reminded me recently that in 1998 Steve Jobs had little credibility in personal computers. Not until Apple introduced the the iMacs and returned to growth and profitability did his personal brand get rehabilitated.He said “Profitability and growth are the two best marketing programs a company or its leader can use to gain leadership.”
  • Quick brand associations for:Oprah: TV personality, talk show, media magnate, philanthropy, girls school in South Africa, OWN cable network stumbles, Steve: business and technology visionary, marketing genius, brilliant design sense, change the world, iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes…COOLMark Zuckerberg: Facebook, hacker culture, brilliant programmer, botched IPOFirst associations are with their companies or what they do.As entrepreneurs, your brand is closely tied to your company. And vice versa.
  • Bold,Don’t me a me-too—it’s death. Stake out a segment you can dominate as a leader. Be bold in thinking of creative new ways to do things. Bring value to the world in a different and better way. (Examples?)Evidence: Demonstrate your success, leadership, influence—with sales, partnerships, Twitter followers, blog comments, speaking opps, media coverage…Endorsements.
  • Company versus Personal BrandVery tied –one to the otherTony Hsieh (“shay”)—Great example of a CEO brand that transcends the company.Built highly admired company culture around customer service—bought by Amazon July 2009 for $928 million.Extended that to Delivering Happiness as a business modelNow it’s a global movementEven if he left Zappos, he’d be known for his focus on happiness versus just making money. Bold, creative, adds value to the world. Wrote 2010 book: Delivering Happiness.Cake=Great entrepreneur who built a great billion-dollar company. Company culture expert.Icing=Someone who cares and leads with his inner compass to make the world a better place, inspiring, authentic
  • Tony’s vision: Delivering Happiness as a business model and corporate culture makes the world a better place.Tony owns up to the failed companies he’s had in the past, but sold his first company LinkExchange to Microsoft in 1998 for $265 Million.True to his brand online and offline—consistency to his identity and message.How do you show up on LinkedIn.What’s a better title: CEO, Little Company Inc.Or: Software Entrepreneur | Big Data Analysis | Social Data VisualizationGive people the words and images to remember you by.
  • Positioning is all about finding a category you can lead by providing value to a market that needs it.You need to figure out who your target audience is and what they need and want. Then look at what you have to offer that differentiates you from the competition.This triangulation strategy works for companies, products and people.Let’s see how we put this into practice in our Positioning Statement.
  • Bold, new ways to add value Focus on content, not gimmicks. Gimmick branding is short-lived. Have to produce the goods to sustain a brand. Unique vision: What’s your big idea? Personal story. Helps people connect with you. Identify with you. Makes you human. Consistent identity offline and online. How do you show up online. Consistent avatar, profile copy, same personality? LinkedIn title and profile consistent with your brand positioning? Make sure the world can find you, and when they do, make sure they understand how you add unique value.
  • So let’s get back to the real world. What is the cake and icing that real professionals have. Here are a couple of examples.But, what about you? Do you have an area of expertise? What about your personality, lifestyle, values, relationship attributes or external image are attractive to others?The world wants to know what is your cake and icing.What is the rational reason why they should care about you? What value do you provide?What is the emotional connection? Do they connect with your vision, like your humor, the way you dress and comport yourself? Do you make them feel comfortable, supported?How do you represent that cake and icing—in everything you think, say and do?
  • How many of you are active on social media?Important to monitor your online brand.Do you help others with clear image and message.(give ex. of blurb emailed for intro)Ask the golden question: how may I help you?
  • Imp to be an expert in something. Look around you, read the trends, hot areas. May have to take a class, follow topics on social media..Once develop some expertise or point of view, need to get it out there.Evidence of being retweeted, comments on blogs, anecdotes and recognition.Give value…don’t just sellBe likeable.
  • You need to be your own brand manager. The BrandingPays System for Personal Branding uses many of the same methods we use for our corporate or product branding clients—but applied to you. We only touched on a couple of steps in the system, but help is on the way…
  • Leave me your business card and I’ll send you my top ten tips on personal branding, and sign you up for my free newsletter.
  • Personal Branding for Entrepreneurs

    1. 1. PERSONAL BRANDING FORENTREPRENEURSKaren Kang, CEOBrandingPays LLC © 2012 Karen Kang All Rights Reserved 1
    2. 2. Content, Not Cosmetics Photo credit: photo by Mike Licht, via photopin cc © 2012 Karen Kang All Rights Reserved 2
    3. 3. What Do These Brands Have in Common?Photo credits: Oprah Winfrey photo from, Steve Jobs photo byacaben via photopin cc, Mark Zuckerberg photo by deneyterrio via photopin cc © 2012 Karen Kang All Rights Reserved 3
    4. 4. Be Bold Add ValueEvidence © 2012 Karen Kang All Rights Reserved 4
    5. 5. Delivering HappinessZappos and Tony Hseih Photo source: © 2012 Karen Kang All Rights Reserved 5
    6. 6. VisionPersonal StoryConsistent ID © 2012 Karen Kang All Rights Reserved 6
    7. 7. How Can You Stand Out? Target Audience Need What category can you lead? Your Strengths & Value Competition © 2012 Karen Kang All Rights Reserved 7
    8. 8. Positioning StatementGoal: __________________________ © 2012 Karen Kang All Rights Reserved 8
    9. 9. Positioning Statement Example For Investors Who are concerned about competition and commoditization in online retail I’m a visionary CEO of an online retailer whose unique brand is built on a happy corporate culture and awesome customer service That achieves consistent growth and profitability with empowered employees who delight our customers. Unlike our competitors, we have the highest employee satisfaction & brand loyalty ratings. © 2012 Karen Kang All Rights Reserved 9
    10. 10. For A StrongEntrepreneur Brand Bold, New Ways to Add Value Content, Evidence Unique Vision Personal Story Consistent Identity © 2012 Karen Kang All Rights Reserved 10
    11. 11. Bake the Cake,Then Ice ItCake = Rational valueIcing = Emotional value CAKE + ICING = STRONG BRAND © 2012 Karen Kang All Rights Reserved 11
    12. 12. What’s Your Cakeand Icing? © 2012 Karen Kang All Rights Reserved 12
    13. 13. Define Your BrandStrategy Core Values Brand Image Promise Strengths Personality © 2012 Karen Kang All Rights Reserved 13
    14. 14. Portable BrandingMonitor your online brand Help influencers brand you Are you engaging? © 2012 Karen Kang All Rights Reserved 14
    15. 15. Ideas to Brand Yourself Be an expert Leverage content Ecosystem validation Give back SMILE © 2012 Karen Kang All Rights Reserved 15
    16. 16. Guide Your Brand, orBe Branded by Others © 2012 Karen Kang All Rights Reserved 16
    17. 17. Be Your Own BrandManager BrandingPays™ System Brand Positioning Messages Ecosystem Actions Strategy © 2012 Karen Kang All Rights Reserved 17
    18. 18. Book Coming January 2013!Go for it! © 2012 Karen Kang All Rights Reserved 18
    19. 19. Free BrandingTipsNewsletterSign up atwww.BrandingPays.comAsk me questions © 2012 Karen Kang All Rights Reserved 19
    20. 20. Take Charge of YourEntrepreneur Brand Go for it! Go for it! © 2012 Karen Kang All Rights Reserved 20
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