You’re a consultant and that means you’ve spent a lot of time selling. But how much attention have you paid to your own branding?
What’s the difference? And how can you build a brand that sells?
Your consulting practice’s brand is essentially its personality. It’s who you are and what you stand for.
Think of how top-selling brands position themselves – e.g. Volvo stands for safety, Wal-Mart for low prices, and Ritz Carlton for luxury. All of their marketing and advertising efforts then support “the brand.”
Branding for consultants, though, can be a bit more challenging. After all, you’re not selling a tangible product. You’re selling your ideas, and your ability to think strategically and solve problems.
To help you navigate your way and build a brand that sells, here are 5 basic steps to consider:
Step #1: Position Yourself Wisely
Some consultants want to be all things to all people. But those who do that end up being nothing, to no one.
That’s why you should develop a niche.
For instance, if you specialize in a particular industry or segment of the market, then work to position yourself as the thought leader there. Your business will be stronger and more profitable if you focus on one industry or one problem.
Do you have seven clients, and four of them, for whatever reason, are in the health care industry? Perhaps you can develop a niche there. Clients like to work with practitioners who are familiar with their industry and its unique problems and cultures.
Step #2: Design Branded Collateral
Work with an experienced creative services provider to create a logo and branded collateral – that’s letterhead, envelopes, and business cards. This collateral should not only look professional, but it should also support and broadcast your brand to clients and prospects.
Step #3: Create a Website
In addition to the collateral above, you need a strong website that conveys your brand effectively. At its most basic, your site needs to communicate who you are, what you do, and the unique value (i.e. tangible benefits and results) you can deliver.
Step #4: Develop a Content Strategy
Your web presence shouldn’t stop at your website. Offer content on your website that potential clients would find interesting. Sophisticated buyers can ignore ads, so why not offer something of value and convince them to come to you?
Your website is a perfect venue for articles, white papers, case studies, and a blog. You might also create other web channels for people to find you, like a LinkedIn profile.
When you get your name out there enough and it’s attached to thoughtful and insightful advice, you’ll be well on your way to positioning yourself as an expert – and building a strong brand.
Step #5: Speak Up
If you already attend all the industry events and conferences, then now’s the time to take the next step and start speaking at them.
For instance, find out about the topics and panels being presented at your industry’s next big event and pitch yourself as a relevant resource.
Event organizers are always looking for fresh perspectives, so don’t be intimidated. If you want to take your business to the next level, then it’s time to speak up.
Branding yourself is key to influencing your clients and prospects. It’s not only about them recognizing your name – it’s also about them being able to perceive the value you can offer them.