Building fans for your personal brand
With Super Bowl XLVII now behind us, I am reminded of the importance of creating fans, cheerleaders and advocates who help build our reputation and personal brand. As we saw in the days leading up to Super Bowl, and in the stadium and the streets of New Orleans, Baltimore and San Francisco, the power of a fan base is measurable! Fans support, encourage, defend and rally around their cause and their players. The same holds true for cheerleaders of our personal brand.
A strong personal brand builds momentum as milestones are achieved, results are measured, and fans cheer on for future success. For this reason, it is critical to identify, nurture and cultivate a solid network of supporters who can vouch for you, encourage you and help you keep aligned with personal branding goals and objectives.
To identify your cheerleaders, consider these tips:
- Seek out contacts who can understand your value and contribution. Look to people you work with, interact on committees with and with whom you network regularly.
- Pay attention to how you are perceived by them. Do they introduce you as “book smart, academic and intellectual”? Or, do they refer to your value when speaking about you as in, “Susan always brings creative solutions to problems, moving our team forward.”
- Since building a fan base necessitates reciprocity, be sure the people you’re identifying as cheerleaders are ones who you will be able to provide value to. Can you meet their needs? Can you make them happy, even delighted?
Once you have identified those cheerleaders whom you will enlist as fans for your personal brand, follow these simple guidelines to get them excited and empowered to sing your praises:
- Make sure they can articulate your desired reputation. Building your personal brand means working in the direction of your ideal perception in the marketplace. In order to do this, your audience (and cheerleaders) need to clearly understand what value you provide, how you want to be perceived, and how you want others to feel about you.
- Empower your cheerleaders with the tools to help promote you. NFL teams might sell t-shirts, jerseys and banners to help fans spread their enthusiasm for their team, but consider what your audience needs. If your fans are online, be sure to have well-designed and functional social media sites (Facebook pages, Twitter account, Pinterest boards, etc) so your cheerleaders can “root” for you online. Similarly, if your cheerleaders need you to have marketing collateral or other tools so they can tell others about you, consider that an investment well made!
- Reward your fans. Just like pro teams give a “shout out” to the fans, recognizing that without them the game would mean so much less, don’t forget to thank your cheerleaders for their support, encouragement and resources. Without cheerleaders, our careers would be so much less rewarding.
While many of us don’t spend our careers on the turf… or wearing spandex… we do need the support, cheering and encouragement of our fans. Building and maintaining a fan base of cheerleaders is not a luxury — great companies and personal brands are built as a result of this support and thrive when that fan base helps spread our value to others through formal and viral marketing channels.