Personal branding has been a hot topic since the dawn of the digital age. In the last 13 years, it’s become one of the most searched topics by people:
However, one area of personal branding has remained elusive: measuring it effectively. Many personal branding guides, coaches, and textbooks advocate tracking little bits of data here and there, but we need a comprehensive, common-sense model for measuring our personal brand. In this series, we’ll build a model of measurement for a personal brand that anyone can use, constructed with free or very low-cost software.
The Universe of Branding Metrics
In traditional brand marketing, we face a veritable cornucopia of ways to measure our brand’s strength and effectiveness. Consider some of the most common branding metrics:
- Unaided recall
- Intent to purchase
- Ad impressions
- Foot traffic in store
- Search metrics
- Brand followers
This list could go on for quite some time, as many marketing metrics in some way contribute to brand awareness or are derived from audiences who know our brand.
When it comes to personal branding, the situation is no different. Our personal brand is our way of marketing ourselves, and we should apply marketing measurement to it. The simplest way to organize all of the metrics we have access to is with some kind of framework.
Consider what powers a brand: positive, reinforcing experiences throughout the customer journey:
During the journey, each experience we have with a brand leads to the next stage in the journey.
This framework, revised and slimmed down a little, is an appropriate way to group and organize our personal brand metrics:
Let’s look briefly at each of the stages of this journey.
How aware is someone of our existence? Are they aware of us for the right reasons? Consider some of the metrics we could measure for awareness:
- Branded organic search, such as people searching for “Chris Penn”
- Mentions on social media
- Mentions in press, blog posts, and other citations
If we have no awareness at all, the rest of the journey can’t happen.
When someone is looking into who we are, they’re considering us. They’re deciding whether or not they want to engage with us in any capacity. Consideration metrics might be metrics such as:
- LinkedIn profile views
- Website/blog visits (new visitors)
- Social media engagement, such as replies or comments
When someone moves from considering who we are (and our relevance to them) to an active role, to someone looking to potentially make a commitment to us, they are evaluating us. They have an idea of what they’d like us to do, and they’re willing to take greater actions to gather more information. Evaluation metrics might include:
- Key page visits on our website, such as our about page/bio
- Asking others on social media about us
- Attending virtual events we’re part of
- Subscribing to our blog/newsletters
When someone wants to commit, they’ll take a meaningful action in relation to our brand. What might they do?
- Download a piece of content from us that requires registration
- Make a purchase from us
- Directly message us and ask us for help
- Hire us
As with business, so too does loyalty matter to our personal brands. Our interactions with someone don’t stop after they’ve made a commitment. We still need to reinforce our brand with people post-commitment. We measure this loyalty in these ways:
- Returning visitors
- Active subscribers to our content
- Ongoing conversations from identified customers
- Repeat purchases/downloads/commitments
- Promotions/bonuses in an employment context
Finally, we’re always looking for advocates on our behalf. We want to expand our brand’s impact and influence in every context. How might we know our influence is expanding?
- Continual increases in branded organic search
Organize The Data
No matter how little or much data we have, we need this overarching structure to organize it and make sense of it. Otherwise, we risk measuring the wrong things - and once we measure incorrectly, we are nearly guaranteed to do the wrong things in support of those incorrect measurements.
The lists above are not comprehensive. They are not the only metrics we could measure. They are merely a starting point, thought-starters we use to categorize common personal brand metrics. Adapt the lists above as you see fit, based on the data you have.
Next: Data Assembly
In the next post in this series, we’ll begin the process of finding and gathering the data for measuring our personal brand using some of the tools we mentioned in part 1. Stay tuned!
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