In the network marketing, MLM, and direct sales industries there is some conflicting information about how to go about establishing a personal brand in the industry.
Lets look at what a personal brand is. A personal brand is a way of attracting business to you by promoting yourself in addition to or in place of your product. In these industries people do business with individuals they like or feel they can relate to. They also do business with people who come across as having insider knowledge or leadership skills.
While I do not recommend portraying oneself in false terms to establish a powerful brand, it’s a good idea to play up your strengths. If you are just starting out, your brand should be based around the strengths you bring to your new business, not the fact that you are just starting out and haven’t made any money yet.
Portraying oneself as a strong leader does not necessarily mean posing with a sports car or even dressing up for a photograph. It means telling a story that will invite people to relate to you and be curious about your business.
The fact is – there are 100s of income opportunities on the internet these days. They are mostly marketed in very similar, and unoriginal ways. A very effective branding technique is to look at what other people are doing, and do something very different.
In this particular industry there are basically two general types of branding I see a lot.
- The first is the “money and cars” type of brand which portrays success in the business as a pleasurable experience and encourages site visitors to imagine having nice things and a lot of money as a part of the home business experience.
- The second is the “soft” brand. With this type of brand, often used with health and wellness MLM products, the financial rewards take a back seat to having a “feel good” product. While this type of branding is often instigated by MLM companies to build product loyalty, it often functions to conceal a weak compensation plan where few distributors make much money.
Neither of these types of branding are particularly original. I would suggest that on the internet it’s a good idea to build a brand that goes against the grain of these two types and establishes a more unique sort of image for the distributor.
This is a creative process. The secret to building a loyal following and attracting customers is building a deep brand on the internet. This sort of branding cannot be bought, it must be earned.
How is a deep brand established on the internet?
Through the written word. Distributors who wish to brand themselves but are unwilling to write web content on a regular basis will struggle to create a brand. Blogging is perhaps the most familiar form of content distribution, but getting traffic to a blog requires comprehension of how information is actually distributed on the internet – the sort of marketing knowledge that is never taught in most company-provided marketing training.
In fact, some companies in the industry actively discourage or even prohibit discussion or content marketing on the internet. My only advice is – avoid these companies like the plague.
Branding with content takes time and patience. Distributing the content effectively requires specialized knowledge of how the internet really works.
Who said building a brand is easy?
Building a brand does not have to be hard, but it does take time.
For this reason, brand-building should be piggy-backed with other marketing activity. It is unwise for an independent distributor to invest money in branding-only activity. Still, most promotional activity should be done with an eye to increasing visibility of the brand.