When it comes to building a reputation as an authority in your field, positioning is everything. To stand out in today’s highly competitive and commoditised marketplace, strategic positioning involves communicating your brand specialisation (measurable problem-solving value) and differentiation (unique product/service attributes) to be the most desirable alternative in the minds of those whom you wish to influence.
Here’s my 10-point plan to strategically position yourself as an authority in your field, paving the way to command a higher price for your services, and create more opportunities to fulfil business goals and career ambitions.
A personal brand amplifies who you already are in a more intentional, aligned and consistent way. It’s about getting clear on your purpose, your values, your specialist problem-solving intelligence and your distinctive value proposition. Once you have this clarity, and a strategy and structure for leverage, you can drive a more unified perception of who you are in the minds of others that matches the perception you have of yourself.
Paradoxically, in our overcommunicated world, communication is more important than ever. A simple, three-word key message, that captures your area of focus and ‘speaks’ to your target market, can cut through the clutter. Your key message is like a north star through which you calibrate your thinking, content and delivery. It could be a state of being or call to action such as Nike’s ‘Just do it!’ or my ‘Enhance Your Reputation!.
Successful brands communicate with words and tonality aligned with their brand image, with relentless consistency. For example, if you’re a prestige brand like Mercedes-Benz, you speak the language of excellence with a confident tonality, consistent with a culture that values status and significance. Or, if you’re a caregiver brand like Dove soap, you speak the language of relationships with a warm tonality, consistent with a culture that values self-esteem and nurturing.
A brand space is a part of the marketplace a business has ‘claimed’ through its marketing. The car market provides a good example of how vehicle manufacturers have claimed a brand space based on a specific attribute. Mercedes Benz for instance, has an unrelenting focus on the attribute of prestige. As a result, the company attracts customers who value this attribute and all it stands for – status, significance and excellence.
Establish your thought leadership with consistent content, that brings your key message to life, on platforms where your target markets hang out. Provide useful tips, tools and tactics, give your perspective on current and future trends, offer training opportunities, and give people something to think about rather than telling them what to think.
Translate the philosophical approach of your thought leadership into a signature methodology which, when repeated over time with many different clients, delivers consistent and repeatable results. Your signature methodology is what you consult, train, mentor, speak, strategise and write about, and ultimately becomes your competitive advantage.
Whether pitching for a project or delivering a keynote, your audience wants to know they’re in safe hands. Smile, use open body language and verbal command tonality. Command tonality is when you speak with a downward inflection at the end of a sentence whereas a questionning tonality has an upward inflection, like you’re asking a question. The latter gives the impression you’re uncertain of your content.
Develop a publicity strategy and publishing regime that encompasses print, digital and broadcast media, establish relationships with specialist journalists and media outlets, and increase your newsworthiness with thought-provoking content.
Ensure that images of you on your social media platforms and in marketing collateral showcase you at your authentic best. While traditional ‘profession dressing’ or ‘power dressing’ were once popular, being true to your authentic style and letting your personality shine through, are vital to making a connection and fostering trust.
How highly you value your professional self-worth has a direct bearing on the results you’ll achieve in career and business. When you truly believe you are good enough and highly value your professional self-worth, you will have the clarity, confidence and certainty to determine a price that reflects your unique value, to pitch for that project, to grasp opportunities as they arise and to attract clients/employers who also highly value your worth.
May the positive ripple effect of your work enhance your reputation!
©Ros Weadman 2022 Ros Weadman, author of ‘Enhance Your Reputation – how to build a brand people want to work for, buy from and invest in’ (Global Business Publishing, $29.95), is a brand communication and reputation specialist who combines her professional expertise in strategic communications, psychology and education to help organisations build a purpose-driven brand and strong positive reputation.