I have been studying the book of Daniel in preparation for the Branded by God Telestudy taking place this evening. Simultaneously, I have been reading Branding Pays by Karen Kang and have been amazed at how God has helped me make connections between the two—Daniel and personal branding.
It has been said that personal branding is nothing but showcasing who you are and what you specialize in and my Heavenly Father does that oh, so well. I know that might sound strange but God is the Master Marketer—the omnipotent one who by the very nature of who He is draws men, women, boys, and girls to Him. He specializes in healing broken hearts, setting captives free, “so loving the world”, and granting eternal life.
Even way back in the Old Testament, you can see how He orchestrates what I call Divine Personal Branding through those He chose and Daniel is no different. In fact, Daniel epitomizes Divine Personal Branding–discovering who you are in God’s eyes, knowing what He has called you to do, and then using your gifts and talents to serve those He has called you to serve.
The Incredible Account
Right out of the gate, in chapter one, it is clear that Daniel attracts King Nebuchadnezzar’s chief official Ashpenaz because he meets the king’s criteria. He is—
A young man without any physical defect
Showing aptitude for every kind of learning
Quick to Understand
Qualified to serve in the king’s palace
Then, we find out that Daniel makes a decision. He decides that he will not defile his body with the food and wine from the king’s table. He graciously makes his decision known to Ashpenaz, the very same chief official who selected him to be of service to the king in the next three years.
The beautiful thing is that God caused Ashpenaz to show favor and sympathy to Daniel and as the story is told, it becomes obvious that the two of them have an amicable relationship. Ashpenaz shares his concern for his life in regards to allowing Daniel to deny the king’s dietary plan and Daniel demonstrates his genuine concern for Ashpenaz’s well-being by “submitting” what I will call a proposal.
He suggests that Ashpenaz allow him and his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (better known as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) to do a trial run for ten days. They would eat only veggies and water during that time and then see if they still looked as debonair as the other young men who were also “in training.” Ashpenaz accepts the proposal, so only veggies and water are served to them.
The Bible says—
“At the end of the ten days, they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So, the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.” (Daniel 1: 15-16 NIV)
But it gets even better.
The Bible also says—
“To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.
At the end of the time set by the king to bring them in, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. The king talked with them and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, so they entered the king’s service.
In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.
And Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.” (Daniel 1: 17-21 NIV)
Divine Personal Branding Personified
Interestingly, there are some very evident principles of personal branding in this very first chapter of Daniel that I believe will help you as you walk in your Divine Personal Brand:
Personal branding begins with having a goal and a strategy to achieve it. That strategy involves positioning yourself as one who solves a problem or enables an opportunity.
A strong personal brand is the key to influence, opportunities and advancement.
Personal branding is not merely cosmetic. It must be fueled by substance. Concepts from Branding Pays: The Five-Step System to Reinvent Your Personal Brand by Karen Kang
Daniel knew exactly what he stood for. He knew the exact impression he wanted to make. Because of his commitment to serve God, faithfully, he made a decision to be who God had called him to be even while he was being held captive by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar.
In Leviticus 11, God had already made it clear what He viewed as clean and unclean in terms of His people’s diet and unlike the other young men who had also been selected to serve the king; Daniel was determined to honor God even in the midst of this situation.
In doing so, he set himself apart. Not only did he distinguish himself from all of the other handsome, fit, intelligent, qualified young men, but he provided evidence that he was who he said he was when he (Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah) ended up looking healthier and better nourished than those who ate the king’s food.
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah outshone even the king’s magicians and enchanters and the king found them 10x better.
Assess your personal brand and determine whether it is divine. In other words, ask yourself if you are doing what God has called you to do, using your gifts and talents in such a way that those who are drawn to you recognize that the hand of God must be on your life. Remember, that when you are in the zone, what you do appears effortless to those who observe you. This is the sure sign of walking in your divine personal brand.
Make a decision to never waver. Do what He has called you to do in the way He has called you to do it. In other words, differentiate yourself from the pack of folks who do what you do by sharing your knowledge but also by being known for something of value. Resist the desire to blend in with the world’s norms or ways of doing things. Hold fast to your faith and be the one to stand out.
Evaluate your brand image. Your image includes your brand associations, your visual branding and your relationship branding. Daniel appealed to Ashpenaz and King Nebuchadnezzar because he was attractive, smart, and well-informed. He also associated with others who held his same convictions. And, from what we see, he knew how to build relationships with not only his peers, but with those in authority. Likewise, you must determine whether your brand associations, external image, and relationship image align in such a way that you attract those you have been called to serve.
Finally, become an influencer as a result of being seen as the BEST person to deliver the solution.
It’s 2013 and time for the real believers to un-apologetically walk in our Divine Personal Brands.
When you are pregnant, sometimes you can have the strongest cravings.
Well, at least, I did.
I remember one night, I just had to have a fish sandwich. It was like my taste buds were tormenting me. The commercials that I had been seeing all week were Burger King commercials advertising the Burger King Big Fish Sandwich. So, I guess you know where I went–straight to Burger King.
Let me tell you.
I could not wait to get in my car and hand the drive-thru cashier my debit card. I anxiously sat there, plastic in hand, and when it was time to roll-up to the second window, I gratefully paid. Yes, I was ready to satisfy my craving and willing to pay for Burger King to assist me in the process.
That is the same way your prospects must feel about you.
Your product or service solves a problem, pain, or predicament, right? Well, just because you make a product or service available does not mean that every prospect will be ready to purchase it at that moment. The moment they are ready to purchase is called a trigger point. There will be some event in their lives at some point that will cause them to pull out their card (just like I did) and purchase the product or service.
Now, whether they purchase the product or service from you will depend upon how many times you have “touched” them. That’s right, touched them.
Touching Your Prospects
When you touch your prospects, you place yourself in the forefront of a prospect’s awareness. In other words, you make sure that you are providing helpful information on a consistent basis related to the problem, pain, predicament/fear. The more the prospect sees you or hears from you, the more they begin to trust you. The more they trust you, the more they are willing to pay you. They pay you because they believe you have the remedy. Point blank…period.
There are several ways you can touch your prospects on a consistent basis:
Engaging in conversations in social media
Providing how-to videos
Long videos with detailed trainings
Short Audios with tips
White Papers or Special Reports
Q & A Sessions on Conference Calls
Direct Mail Campaigns (Monthly Contact right into their mailboxes)
Email Newsletters (Ezines)
When your prospects come in contact with you and experience your expertise on a regular basis, you get inside their minds. You become the respected “expert” or “solution” that comes to their minds, immediately, when they are seeking that remedy.
How Will You Touch Them?
Your job is to figure out the best ways to touch your prospects and then create an action plan for doing it consistently. Choose 3 ways that you can commit to and then just do them. You will become more comfortable with each one as you commit to them. Your audience will grow and grow and before you know it, loyal clients will form.
If you need help with your action plan, click hereto review this sample one that I provided for subscribers to Brande a few weeks ago.
Your Take Away
Be the person your prospects/ideal clients immediately think of when a trigger event happens that moves them from a looker to a buyer. Do that by touching them with your compelling message and relevant information on a consistent basis. In other words, let your constant presence be your commercial.
Writing is still one of the most powerful forms of communication on the planet. Thankfully, there are many different ways that you can use it to connect with your target audience.
In the video tutorial below, I share five major ways that you can connect with your target audience through writing. If you choose three to consistently implement, you will begin to build relationships with those you have been called to serve and establish your reputation as a thought leader in your field.
Be prepared to take notes and pause for a moment. This tutorial is 13 minutes long. Enjoy and pay it forward!
The Video Tutorial
This is the series that is not about you. This is the series that is about your calling. There is a specific group of people who need the services and products you provide to address their problem, pain, or predicament and it is time for you to care enough to communicate with them. In this video, I will share 5 major ways that you can connect with your target audience through writing. Now, let’s get started.
Now, I want to take you back to the little red school house. You know the one that had all grades K-12 in one big room. If you are watching this video, I am sure you didn’t experience a little red schoolhouse education but perhaps you have seen Little House on the Prairie or some old school movie about the new frontier, pioneering days, so you can relate. Well, in those times, there were three fundamentals of a basic education called the Three R’s—reading, writing, and arithmetic. Being literate, mastering written communication, and knowing how to do the math were the three things that separated the haves from the have nots, the rich from the poor.
Today, it is no different. Reading, writing, and arithmetic play a strong role in our daily interaction. Writing is still very important in creating contractual agreements (when something really matters all parties want everything spelled out in writing) in email, texting, and even participating in social media. No matter how advanced we get with video technology, there is still nothing like the written word.
That being said, let me reveal to you the five effective ways that you can connect with your target audience and build a relationship with those you have been called to serve on a consistent basis. They are 1) Blogging, 2) Email Marketing, 3) Direct Mail, 4) Article Marketing, & 5) Publishing. Ultimately, these are ways for you to create content, establish yourself as a thought leader, and stay at the top of the minds of your niche. Now, go ahead and get a sheet of paper because I am going to briefly review each one and then ask you to choose three as part of your marketing plan.
I want to share a true story with you. In February of 2012, I received a voicemail message on the Ask Kellie line. I returned the call and it happened to be a woman who had never responded to one blog post, but when we talked she let me know that she’d created a folder and put my blog posts in it. She also informed me that she read every single book of every author that I’d interviewed on Books That Transform. She said she couldn’t remember how she found me but she had been following me for quite some time.
Just last week, she emailed me after I wrote a blog post about the fact that I am writing a book and told me that she was so excited about what God was doing in my ministry. She said she couldn’t wait for my book to come out & that she was also writing a book. Now, think about that. Without even knowing it, I have been building a relationship with that wonderful woman. When I returned her call, we had the best conversation for about 20 minutes.
We talked about my branding programs, her business, and after a few moments, it was not as if two strangers were on the phone. I don’t know about you, but I think that is powerful. That is the power of blogging.
So, Let’s briefly talk about the who, what, where, when, and why of blogging. A blog is a website that allows you to build a relationship with your target audience through frequent, consistent updates.
According to expert blogger and founder of the Blog Squad, Denise Wakeman, it is the place where you educate, entertain, engage, and enrich the readers. You see, the more frequently you blog, the more you demonstrate your own stability, consistency, belief and commitment to what you have been called to do by sharing your experiences, your views, and your expertise with your readers.
Think about something that you do every single week that involves at least on other person. It might be watching your favorite tv show which for me is none other than Shark Tank. It might be meeting your best friend for lunch every Wednesday or going to choir rehearsal every Thursday night or playing golf every Friday morning with your colleagues.
In the same way, that you look forward to connecting with that special person or that special group of people, your readers begin to look forward to connecting with you. So, if you choose to connect with your audience through blogging, commit to it. Don’t leave your target audience hanging, wondering when oh when you are going to share another post. After a while, they will not wonder anymore. They will just lose interest and move on.
Oh, Email! Oh, Email! Do they really need another? You may be thinking, people need another email like they need a whole in their heads. And, guess what? You are exactly, right. If you choose email marketing which is a great way to build a relationship over time, you will have to find a way to get into the recipient’s email inner circle.
What is the email inner circle?
The email inner circle is the group of people whose emails the recipient WILL open AND according to Nielsen NetRatings, there are only 16 people in that group. Now, how in the world do you get in it? It seems that you can only get into that inner circle if you publish a free, valuable ezine or online newsletter.
This means that you will need to provide good information that helps people. When people begin to see you as a trusted adviser or expert in your field based on the content of your ezine, they will click when they see your name in their inbox. Your ezine should go out once a month at the bare minimum & weekly at the very best.
Feel free to invite them to purchase your products or services but use the 80/20 rule—80% great content, 20% sales related. Now, you can maintain your position in that inner circle by sending updates in between the ezine issues, but keep the content level very high. Do not send an email just to “stay in contact”. Have a specific purpose in mind.
When was the last time you went to your mailbox and found postcards of all shapes and sizes from Papa John’s, a local realtor, Kohl’s, Stride Rite, or even Direct TV? It was probably recently. That is because direct mail is still one of the most effective ways to communicate to and then attract clients.
If you choose to launch a direct mail campaign, using a postcard as opposed to a sales letter or brochure is going to be more cost effective. You will also need to commit to mailing a postcard 9-12x per year.
Because marketing research says that a person must see a message at least 9x before he or she makes a purchasing decision. When you show up in the mailbox on a regular basis, when the prospect is ready to purchase what you offer, they will undoubtedly think of you.
Writing articles is a wonderful, non-threatening, non-salesy way to communicate with your target audience. It allows you to once again provide helpful information while developing trust. People are sick of being sold to, so it is no wonder that they trust articles more than advertisements. When you write an article, you are not focusing on yourself, but you are focusing on the reader. By providing news they can actually use, you enhance your credibility and keep them coming back for more.
If you really want to get your target audience’s attention, publish. Publish a book, an ebook, an audio book (which has hit the billion dollar status), a special report, a white paper, a home study course, a manual, a guide, a blueprint–anything that builds your reputation as a thought leader—someone who knows what he or she is talking about and is willing to share it. If promoted correctly, the book will also open up the door to seminars, workshops, keynotes, radio and television shows, and various speaking engagements that will take your message to the masses.
In this video, we skimmed the surface of 5 major ways you can connect with your target audience through writing. Your job now is to educate yourself on them and then choose just three to put into action. Remember that connecting, developing trust, and building relationships take time and unless you care enough to communicate, consistently, you will not reach those you have been called to serve.
If you are a small business entrepreneur who is struggling with aligning your business vision with your divine purpose…if you are not quite sure how to build a brand that resonates with your target audience, I invite you to learn more. Access your free Personal Branding Toolbox and let me help you build your brand one step at a time.
Until the next video, I’m Kellie Gardner encouraging you to keep watching & keep walking in your divine personal brand.
Christyl Benford Speaks on the Power of Video Marketing Training with Kellie Gardner
"I have been doing video marketing since July 5, 2011 and it has totally changed my life. It has changed my mindset. Coaching with Kellie Gardner showed me how to engage my community--how it would bring in fans, and not just fans, but customers and clients. I was able to share not only my talent side, but I was able to share tips for music consulting and for Indie artists. Plus, I wouldn't be able to reach as many people hitting the streets. This way, I can connect with people worldwide."
Click play to find out how to attract your ideal clients with video.