By Sheila Nazarian, board-certified plastic surgeon and founder — Nazarian Plastic Surgery, Spa26, The Skin Spot and the Nazarian Institute.
In any industry, personal branding is one of the most powerful ways you can set yourself apart from your competition. But the concept of branding can seem like a bit of a mystery when your expertise lies elsewhere.
I’ve been there; I get it!
I’m a board-certified plastic surgeon, not a marketer. But I realized that in order to be a successful entrepreneur and build the practice and the life I wanted, I needed to concentrate on building my own brand.
So today, I’m going to help you uncover the mystery! Let’s talk branding basics and discover how to establish a respected brand that helps you manifest the life you’ve always imagined, shall we?
The Basics Of Branding
I think Jeff Bezos said it best when he explained, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”
Your brand is your story, the way you’re viewed by others and how you establish yourself within your industry. It’s the key to attracting your ideal client to build a personally fulfilling business.
So, what makes a great brand? It must have the following:
• A clear focus: A specific niche you excel in
• A target audience: Who you want to attract and serve
• A well-defined mission: The “why” that inspires your business
• A unique selling proposition: How you stand out from your competition
• A strong set of core values: What drives your customer experience
• A story: Your journey — past, present and future
• A consistent approach: Your brand flows through every area of your business to drive success.
My brand has helped me emphasize that I am the best in this field, and it’s helped my business grow tenfold. Once I established myself as the Small Breast Queen, #SBQ, women began to regard me as the go-to plastic surgeon for small-breast augmentations. I now have people traveling from across the globe to see me for their surgeries when they could go to anyone.
I believe branding has the power to do this for you, too.
Now, how do you go about building a brand that will allow you to live your life in a way that if someone talks poorly about you behind your back, no one will believe it?
Follow these steps.
Step No. 1: Reconnect With Yourself And What You Want
The wonderful part about building a brand is it’s all about you: what you want, who you are, your goals, dreams and desires. But for some people, they’ve spent so long serving others that they’re not totally sure what that looks like. Sound familiar? The first step to building a successful brand is reconnecting with yourself and how you want to show up.
Start by answering the following questions:
• What are three to five words you want people to use when describing your business?
• Who is your community? Who do you want to be surrounded by every single day?
• What value do you want to provide?
• What do you want your legacy to be?
• What is your story?
• What is the feeling you want to spark in others?
There are no wrong answers! The answers to these questions are the foundation of building a successful brand — so don’t hold back.
Step No. 2: Research Your Audience, Value Proposition And Competition
Now that you have the foundation, it’s time to research.
In terms of your audience and value proposition, you have to determine what those people you’re looking to serve are searching for. Search for the answers to these questions:
• What makes them who they are?
• What are the struggles you can help them with?
• How do you connect with their stories?
• What feelings are they seeking for fulfillment?
• What interactions are going to resonate with them?
• What is the perfect alignment between your personalities?
This will help guide your messaging, your design, your employee interactions — your brand.
Once you have these answers, take a look at how your competition is addressing them in the market. And determine how you’re better — this is your unique selling proposition.
Step No. 3: Do A SWOT Analysis
As you build and grow, you want to consistently do a SWOT analysis to take a look at the following influences on your business:
• Strengths: Positive characteristics of your business that provide an advantage over your competition
• Weaknesses: Characteristics that could prove to be a disadvantage to your business
• Opportunities: Changes and trends in your industry that offer opportunities for your business
• Threats: Elements in the environment or industry that may cause problems for your business
This will help you prepare and be self-aware, all key for brand success.
Step No. 4: Put Yourself Out There And Connect With Your Audience
At this point, you should know exactly what your narrative is and how you’re going to show up — what your brand is. Now, put it into practice.
It’s time to connect on social, share your true self and let that brand go to work.
Step No. 5: Monitor Your Brand Identity
As you start to gain new customers and new followers, people will start talking.
What are they saying?
Part of maintaining your brand identity and its authenticity is ensuring what people are saying about you is in line with your mission and the impact you intended.
If not, it’s time to revisit that SWOT analysis and pivot. If so, keep it up!
What’s Your Brand And How Will You Make It Work for You?
I believe wholeheartedly that an intentional brand has the power to level up your business and life. By working through these five steps, you’ll discover who you are, what you want and how you can turn that into a brand to elevate your success. You’ve got this!
As you embark on this journey, remember:
With these three practices, your brand will grow.