image By: Paull Young

A recent series of articles (1) & (2) by Maria Elena Duron from buzz2bucks.com are great reads about personal branding and creating effective word of mouth.

She gives a really good example of how we hum along with songs is a great way to start:

With songs, we often know the tune and can hum along but the words escape us. Or, we make up our own words. Many hilarious conjugations of songs have been written about in books and websites and the underlying lesson is this – we hear the music and not always the words.

Personal branding focuses on our authentic strengths, our vision, purpose, values and passions. So, it is really important for us to know what our music is. And, when we have the confidence to be the best version of ourselves our music comes across loud and strong. Like a well-grounded radio station, people hear not static but a strong energy emitting from us.

The underlying point is a good one, this is what you want to build with your brand and your touchstone. Maybe people don’t know the words to describe you but they know the melody. They should be able to tell other people what you are about. Most importantly they should be able to tell other people the biggest benefit you offer.

She also goes into a study by the Mouth Marketing Association:

In a recent study by the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, they found that 78% of people will act on a referral or recommendation of someone they know, like and trust. They also found that 92% of people prefer to have referrals and recommendations for products, services and people.

Whenever you start actively promoting yourself in what ever you do this is the first place you should start. The people you know right now are the biggest promotional tool you have.

Words That Describe You

In part 2, Maria goes in depth about an exercise called the “word garden”. These are words that people use to describe you.

Exploring and finding these words are a great follow up to the first exercise. Going through this exercise you might find that the words you use to describe what do are not used by the people that know you well.

How to Put This Into Action

We do a similar exercise with people we work with. It usually starts with helping people define who their perfect client, prospect, or customer is. Our next question we ask is what their biggest need or pain? Does your product, service, or you solve this problem or pain?

Often times people find that what they are selling or portraying that they sell is really not what their target market wants or needs.

For instance, a recent Kara Jackson who provides credit repair. When we first started out she was confident what she sold was just credit repair. While this is true we found what she really was selling.

Through some study and testing we were able to find while that was the service she provided that wasn’t what really mattered.

See if you search for how to do credit repair you will find tons of resources. In fact you can go to the book store right now and find 5 -6 books that are great on the subject.

So why with all this information would someone choose to work with Kara? One word was convenience. What we found was that while people could do credit repair themselves what they really wanted was the convenience of having all of it done for them.

This insight completely changed our brand messaging and how we positioned her and her service.

I highly suggest if you are looking at personal branding or currently working on your personal brand that you read through and do the exercises in Maria’s 5 part series.