What is a personal brand and why Eventers need one

January 10th, 2016   
What is a personal brand and why Eventers need one

What is a personal brand?

As an Eventer and athlete publicly competing, your brand is simply what people think of you when they hear your name or see you. Your brand only exists in the minds of the people that know you.

What are you like? What can someone expect when he/she interacts with you?

Simply put, your brand is how people perceive you.

For example, read the below names and think about what feelings and adjectives that come to mind. Your impression of them defines their personal brands and as a result is the driving force behind their careers.

  • William Fox-Pitt
  • Buck Davidson
  • David O’Connor
  • Mary King
  • Laine Ashker
  • Jessica Phoenix
  1. Would you want to be coached by them?
  2. Would you want to purchase a horse from them?
  3. Would you trust them to endorse a product?

Why does your personal brand matter?
From appearance to personality and everything in between,  your clients (students, horse buyers, and anyone else you earn money from) will evaluate and judge you by your brand before they do business with you.

What people think and feel about you, influences their interactions with you. Ultimately, decisions they make may impact your riding career and income.

For example, when you are at an event, you are building your brand whether you mean to or not. Everything, from your trailer appearance, your horses’ appearance, the way you dress, the way you ride, the way your students ride, the way you interact with your groom, your spouse and the public are all contributing to your brand. This also extends to your website and social media presence. The way you appear and conduct yourself in the public arena is contributing to your brand.

How will your personal brand help you succeed?
We all have dreams of what we want to accomplish in life and you have the ability to turn dreams into achievable goals if you put together a plan. Recognizing that your appearance and everything you do and say impacts your personal brand is the first step to creating a brand that will bring you success.

Regardless of where you are in your riding career (established professional, just starting your own equine business, adult amateur, or a junior/young rider) your personal brand sways your success and opportunities constantly.

The reality is, whether you have consciously been working on your personal brand or  not, it already exists. It is truly an amalgamation of your daily activites.  The great thing is that you have the power to improve and change it all the time.

Your brand is not a likability meter. If goes much deeper than that. Even though someone genuinely likes you, they may not necessarily believe you are a good coach or a good trainer or a reputable horse dealer. Your brand contributes to your business success more than your friendships.

However, it must be built on the authentic you. You can’t pretend to be a better rider or coach than you are. You can be a good sport, caring horse person, and helpful. With the right attitude, you can get better at everything you do and and become the Eventer you want to be. Your personal brand grows with you.

So you need to determine what your goals are as a rider and what business you want to grow. Often riders wear many hats including, rider, coach, horse trainer, horse seller, and various other side businesses.

As a result, you need to be working on your brand for a variety of audiences including owners, sponsors, parents, students and clients.

How can you improve your brand?

Step 1 – Clearly define your goals:

  • Do you want to coach?
  • Do you want to train horses?
  • Do you want to sell horses?
  • Do you want to ride for your country?
  • Do you want to attract owners?
  • Do you want sponsors?
  • Do you want to attract clients for your other business ventures?

It can be all of the above.

Step 2 – How do people currently relate to your brand?
Make an informal audit of your brand. Ask your current students, clients, friends, etc. for an honest answer. Ask them what they hear other people saying about you. Be prepared to not to like all of the comments. This is the toughest part of this exercise. But to go forward, you need to know exactly where you stand so you can begin to work at bridging the gap.

Step 3 – Learn from the success of others.

Take a look at the people you admire and have made it to the place you are aiming for.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel here. Emulate what successful people have done before you. Take a look at their social media. Watch them at events. Watch their students. Visit their facilities. Success can be copied.

Step 4 – Proactively manage your brand.

Online essentials
With today’s technology, you have many powerful vehicles to create and change your personal brand. Unfortunately, this technology also has the power to damage. Plan your posts in advance. Spontaneity is great but think twice before publishing and how it contributes to your business.

  • Facebook fan page
  • Twitter account
  • LinkedIn
  • You Tube
  • Blog
  • Instagram
  • Website
  • Email

Personal presentation essentials
Your game plan must include more than just branding yourself online – it needs to include all aspects of you. Think of yourself as a product. Your plan needs to include the tangible and intangible characteristics of personal branding including the presentation of your:

  • barn and property,
  • horses,
  • tack,
  • trailer,
  • personal attire,
  • hair,
  • makeup,
  • behavior (verbal and non-verbal communication every time you expose yourself to the public).

What’s next?
You must understand your competitors, clients, and potential, so you can develop a brand that promises the right things to the right people.

  • Define your goals.
  • Decide what you need to change. Be honest with yourself about the state of your personal brand.
  • Ensure your future actions contribute to growing the brand that will attract the audience for your success.

As you get more experience and skills, you constantly evolve and so does your brand.

 

Need help with your marketing and attracting owners and sponsors?
If you need some help elevating your brand and implementing a professional strategy and plan, email me or phone me 1-705-492-5559. ATHLETE-BIZ is the newest division of Sable Marketing.