Written by: Alex Pirouz
Today it seems that no matter what industry you’re in, competition is stronger than ever. Every year that passes by industries are becoming more and more overcrowded. Social media, mobility and the information age has created a platform where by customers have the ability to choose from thousands of different companies all over the world before making a purchasing decision.
To stand out from the crowd and have a good chance to win new business you really need to be ‘The Expert’ in your field, otherwise, you will get lost in the panic and hype of a chaotic market place.
While there are many strategies and techniques to help you become an expert one must first understand that it takes time, dedication and an understanding of the process to truly succeed.
The first and arguably the most important step is market research. Becoming an expert within a particular field has nothing to do with what we think is required and everything to do with the perception of those within the industry.
This is more formerly known as the outside inside approach. This is the process of asking the market what they want and then delivering exactly that. After all that is what business is all up, delivering a product or service to a target market based on research and study not assumptions.
You can conduct market research in many different ways through focus groups, online surveys, one on one interviews or group sessions. Once you have the necessary research conducted its then time to build what I call your: Brand Statement.
This is the process of designing what you stand for, constructing how you would like others to perceive you, researching competitors, identifying your core strengths and passions, creating a point of difference and designing how you would like to best communicate your message.
Knowing what you stand for and understanding how to best communicate that message builds the path to then go out there and build that image. It’s very hard to get to where you want to be if you don’t have a map on how to get there.
This leads us to the next part of the process: Building the brand and getting the message out there. Having gone through the process I have come to understand what works and what doesn’t, the following process is what I now recommend to those who want to build their brand:
Industry results: Every year industries all around the world are becoming more populated and competitive. Having a proven track record within your industry and the ability to produce results for your clients through your knowledge and skill set is a vital element to becoming an industry expert.
Well-branded clients: There is nothing more impressive then seeing well-branded organisations within an individual’s client portfolio.
Speaking engagements: This is a great way to build your brand, because of the public’s perception towards the industry. Public speakers are regarded as experts in their field, experienced professionals, credible and highly sort after individuals.
Associations: Every industry has various associations that support and protect the
rights of individuals who work in that industry. Being a member of an industry association is an indication to others that you take your profession, and by extension your career, seriously.
Government associations: Most industries are backed by government-funded agencies. Government departments are highly respected by the general public and by working with your industry department you will quickly establish yourself as a trusted
and credible expert.
Media appearances: The Media industry plays a very prominent role in our society. Getting media coverage can help produce greater levels of credibility and trust when communicating with customers, new business partners or marketing your services.
Interviews: Conducting interviews with top leaders in your field is a great way to boost your credibility and expertise within your industry. This is mainly due to the brand association people make with you and the influential person.
Write a book (optional): A book provides potential business partners, journalist and customers with confidence and trust in your knowledge of the topic and gives you an influential competitive edge.
By this stage of your brand campaign you have successfully designed and built a great presence for yourself as one of the leading experts within your industry.
While most of the hard work is out of the way, in order to successfully maintain your brand you will need to monitor and manage it on an ongoing basis to ensure it remains consistent, valuable and visible within your industry.
Sure you can call yourself the “best plastic surgeon in Sydney” or “the best business coach” but without managing that brand over time, it will lose its lustre and visibility. In a sense, without brand management, all of your efforts will be for nothing.
Technology, the economy and the world in general are evolving much too fast for you to leave your brand stagnant. In today’s world if you don’t manage your brand, someone else will.
Therefore management of your brand on a consistent base is absolutely crucial to successfully maintaining your presence within your industry.