marilyn_monroe_dress1Do you want to launch your personal brand into the stratosphere?

There is one thing you can do to catapult your brand building to the next level.

This one essential key is to define and illuminate your personal brand touchstone.

Your touchstone should evoke images that make a direct contact with your audience. A touchstone is what you are known for, the core of your genuineness or value.

Examples of Touchstones

The woman in the picture in the white dress, who is she? I would guess almost anybody on the street can recognize her as Marlyn Monroe. I would even go farther and say you could describe the picture and people would still realize who you were talking about.

Many would point to  BMW as luxury, or the ultimate driving experience.

Apple with innovation and usability and design.

Take the FedEx touchstone, “an unrelenting commitment to deliver”, if you have a package that absolutely has to be there tomorrow who are you going to use?

I’ve done some consulting for large corporate clients like US Bank and Wells Fargo and it was a requirement that  the systems were IBM “enterprise level” systems. I could have argued all I wanted that there were other more stable and useful applications and servers out there. Every time the conversation came up on changing to less well know names it always came back to “we want to be with the leader in the corporate solutions”. This perception came with IBM’s strategy of marketing on a strategic level to corporate leaders. This strategy and focus has worked well for them.

Keys to Your Brand Touchstone

One of the quickest ways to jump start your personal brand is to identify your highest value touchstone. What is the one thing that you can be known for that you excel at?

Next you want to put yourself in your audience shoes and ask the question…

If I had to do X I would go to or work with Y?

If I absolutely had to get a package to New York tomorrow I would use FedEx.

You need to evoke the same autonomic response. This response is so ingrained into your audience that this occurs involuntarily or in a automatic way.

Your prospect thinks of X and YOU comes to mind.

Once you define your core touchstone you next step is to hone in on this. You showcase this constantly, you literally emphasize this over every thing else.

Focus on your niche.

Also realize that you don’t have to be known by your touchstone to the whole world. This is important to understand.

Don’t think you will be missing out on opportunities focusing on a niche. Being sought after in your niche is a much easier task than the world as a whole. Without focusing on your niche it might be nearly impossible to be known.

Get this one concept down and you are immediately ahead of the pack. Focus your efforts on being notable to this key set of people. When you do this it becomes that much easier because all you have to do is find out how to reach this audience. This is much more attainable goal than taking on the world.

For example, Aaron Wall and Rand Fishkin are associated with SEO, John Chow and Shoemoney have their popular blogs, Michael Arrington is all things tech, and Guy Kawasaki is a venture capitalist / social media geek. Would these guys have been able to be known in the same light if they didn’t focus on one smaller niche? Most likely not. Instead of being a an octopus with 8 legs, be a scorpion with one deadly tail.This is the path to getting traction and solidifying your touchstone in the industry.

An older but excellent post tell your personal story is one of keys you should follow. If you have something unique about how you got to the position you’re in, don’t be afraid to share it. People love to relate to others and they’ll remember you for who you really are.

Final Keys to Your Brand Touchstone

Your touchstone must be something you are capable of sustaining. It must also be something that you constantly and almost religiously over deliver. This is the key to gaining fans and giving it that continual push.

If you are continually over-delivering, especially with a niche focus your growth with your personal brand will be exponential.

You touchstone must also be something that is easily recognizable and easy to explain. Clear, concise, and recognizable is what you are going for.

Sit down now and define your touchstone. Then outline your plan for showcasing and publicizing your personal brand touchstone.

This one step done in a authentic and intentional manner will propel your brand to the forefront of your niche.

–If you have any examples of effective touchstones please leave a comment below.