We live in an online first world and whether you know it or not - You have a personal brand. If I search for you online and I don't find any information about you - that's your personal brand. If I find your Linkedin profile and it's abandoned - that's your personal brand.
Whether you’re an employee or an entrepreneur - a personal brand has the power to change your life. For me, it helped me stand out, attract amazing high-paying opportunities and build lasting wealth.
The C.A.N Framework For Personal Branding
In this blog post, let me give you a framework to help build yours. This is a framework that I developed after years of observing how successful entrepreneurs and influencers built their audiences and monetized their brands. The C.A.N framework provides a structured approach to building a personal brand. It breaks down the key components and elements involved, offering a clear roadmap to follow.
Here's what I've learned. If you want to build a personal brand, you need three things...
An Inspiring "Narrative"
"Authority" in your domain
Show up "Consistently"
The easy way to remember this is by using the acronym C.A.N (Consistency, Authority, and Narrative)
This cheat sheet shows the 3 pillars of building a strong personal brand (inner circle). The outer circle shows how to achieve/ execute the 3 pillars.
Let's learn about this framework in more detail. Starting with the 3 parts of the inner circle.
A personal brand will only stand the test of time if you showcase your expertise in a domain.
Too many people are jacks of all trades, master of none - and that's a recipe for failure online if you ask me.
There is enough generic & general advice out there. What's not easily available is an expert's opinion. That's what attracts people.
Ask yourself, what problems can you solve better than the others?
Show people your solution and process. You need to become a niche expert, focusing and speaking over and over again about one topic - so you can reinforce your authority in that domain.
The goal is not to be the answer to everyone everywhere. The goal is to build a loyal base of 1000 true fans.
How To Build Your Authority Online
There are 3 major ways to build your authority online
Focus on one topic and talk about it often to showcase your expertise on the subject. Niche down and talk about one topic over and over again. This shows expertise. You might be afraid of sounding like a broken record - repeating the same thing over and over again. But when you do this, you reinforce the idea that you are the expert on that subject.
Experts are natural mentors and teachers. Teach people your process to transform their lives. Help them get from A to B and they will remember you forever. Focus on small wins when sharing on social media. Eg: If you're an expert Product Leader, teach people how to do better customer research or document product requirements better.
An expert without evidence is just another wannabe. Real experts have results and can show them. Eg: Evidence can include
- Client successes
- Personal growth numbers
Your narrative is the story that people know about you. It's a combination of your history, your value systems, and your vision that creates your online identity.
It informs your audience where you come from, what you believe in, and where you're going.
Your narrative is the biggest reason people will connect with you on a personal level.
People are attracted to other people with similar experiences, values, and goals. So you need to make it count!
Show up on platforms where your audience congregates regularly. The purpose of building a brand is to build awareness of your existence and your services.
Today consumers are bombarded by ads all the time. If you don't show up regularly with actionable and helpful content, you'll be forgotten in a heartbeat.
How to be consistent online
The CAN framework outlines three considerations to help you become consistent online.
Create a brand design that makes your content instantly recognizable. It involves creating and shaping the visual identity and elements that represent a brand. The goal is to create a consistent and memorable look that helps people recognize and understand the brand.
Examples: My friend Sudharshanan Ganapathy, a personal branding strategist from Chennai India always shows up with a black top. He uses yellow and black in his online content and is instantly recognizable online. His followers love it as it allows them to quickly identify his content in a sea of posts.
Consistently post and engage 3-7 times per week to stay top-of-mind with your audience.
Connect with other influencers in your space and show up for their audiences.
The C.A.N framework provides a structured approach to building a personal brand. It breaks down the key components and elements involved, offering a clear roadmap to follow.
This can prevent overwhelm and provide guidance, especially for individuals who are new to personal branding or unsure where to start. It can help you navigate the complex landscape of personal branding, enabling you to build an authentic and impactful brand that resonates with your target audience.