In the marketing world, everyone talks about developing a strong brand. If you search the digital marketplace for branding experts, you’ll find plenty of freelancers and entrepreneurs offering to create a professional brand for people and businesses. However, what’s really being offered is usually website and logo design.

While your website and logo are part of your brand, there’s more. Designs are your company’s identity. Your brand is your reputation. It’s more than the image you present to the world – it’s how the world sees you.  While you can get a graphic designer to create a logo that represents what your company stands for, you can’t outsource the creation of your reputation.

Your brand is how others see you

Others don’t always see you the way think they do. Despite your intentions, the image you present to the world often differs from the image others perceive. For this reason, to create a strong personal brand, you need to pay more attention to how others perceive your brand than how you think you’re projecting it.

For example, say you think you’re projecting an image of authority in the fitness industry and your brand is designed to appeal to men and women. However, your market ends up being 90% male and you’re struggling to appeal to women. It might be because your marketing messages and imagery predominantly appeal to men. This might be contrary to how you perceive it, but the results speak the truth. A discrepancy in your intended market vs. your actual market will give you insight into where you need to make changes.

There are four components that communicate your brand to the world

In an article discussing how personal branding is a matter of how others see you, communication experts at describe the four components that make up a personal brand:

  • Your values: What is most important to you?
  • Your skills: What do you do very well that sets you apart from others?
  • Your dependability: Do you have a track record of doing what you say you will?
  • Your empathy: How do you understand, value, and trust others?

How you fulfill these essential components determines how you are seen by others. For example, declaring your concern for the environment doesn’t build your brand. However, donating a portion of your revenue to a non-profit organization that helps preserve the environment demonstrates that the issue is important to you, and therefore builds your brand. It’s not just what you say; it’s also what you do.

Look deeply at how you fulfill the components of a strong brand

Exploring the questions listed above, you’ll discover how others see you and where that perception differs from the way you want to be seen. You’ll gain the ability to address the incongruence to step into the image you prefer.

A strong brand extends within the company’s walls

The brand you embody to the outside world should also be embodied within your company culture. If respect and transparency are your highest values, they should be integrated into the fabric of the company’s operations. A strong brand embodied within the company’s operations inspires team members and earns their trust. Team members who trust the company they work for are more likely to stick around and even go out of their way to support the company in hard times.

Your brand is purely perception

Remember, your brand only exists in the perception of others. If others aren’t perceiving you the way you intend, there’s work to be done. The good news is it’s not hard to build the skills required to create a strong brand.

Your employees communicate your brand through every interaction they have with clients, customers, and the public. Partner with an organization that specializes in communication and leadership training to develop a strong brand from the inside out; it’s the key to creating a personal brand you can be proud of.