Can personal branding help an entrepreneur survive a start-up and transform into a ground-breaking CEO?
Jeff Bezos, the inspirational CEO behind Amazon.com, fought against the odds to become a celebrated pioneer of e-commerce.
His story reveals how he drew on his personal brand to revolutionize the online retail industry, and how you can apply his tactics achieve your business goals.
What Can You Do to Become the Jeff Bezos of Your Company
Incorporate Your Brand into Emerging Trends
Jeff Bezos is an entrepreneurial visionary. His brand attributes can be traced back to his first business endeavour as a teenager. He created an educational camp with the intent of teaching young students new ways to think in old areas.
Years later, when Bezos was a senior vice president of the hedge fund group D.E. Shaw, he stumbled across data that reported the Internet was growing at 2,400% per year. Determined to capitalize on the trend, he quit his job and created a business plan with his wife for a virtual bookstore that would change the world of retail shopping.
To this day, Bezos continues to search for budding developments in a variety of areas that interest him. He dedicates time to scouring the internet for ideas, talking with people, and analyzing statistics that will point to profitable trends. In doing so, he has grown Amazon to reach into markets beyond books to include digital media and web services.
Take Action: Set aside time to explore the happenings of your industry. How can you incorporate your strengths and passions into emerging trends?
Commit to Standing Your Ground
Bezos took a risk when he left a secure job to launch Amazon. He took bigger risk staying in business during the dotcom bubble burst.
Amazon was expected to fail. Its business plan focused on creating brand awareness over profits and mimicked many other dotcoms that were imploding at the time.
The company didn't report a profit until the fourth quarter of 2001, almost four years after going public.
Common sense would have said to close shop but Bezos stayed committed. He boldly exclaimed to Inc. Magazine, We're going to be unprofitable for a long time. And that's our strategy.
Bezos ignored naysayers and remained focused on Amazons long-term goals that concentrated on the modernization of customer service. His determination paid off. Amazon emerged from the internet bubble to stand toe to toe with Goliaths of retail like Wal-Mart and Target.
Take Action: Reflecting upon your personal vision and values, write a bold commitment statement for your long-term goals. Are you willing to risk failure to achieve success?
Create an Experience Your Audience Wants
Expressing your brand in terms that matter to your target audience is a vital component of a successful brand. Bezos has flawlessly integrated this concept into Amazons customer-centric business strategy.
In his 2008 interview with CNN Money, Bezos credits much of Amazon's success to consistently delivering on three fundamental things their customers want:
- The best selection
- The lowest prices
- The cheapest, most-convenient delivery
Bezos is hyper-aware that operational excellence is Amazon's value proposition. He delivers this by streamlining the customers experience and competing on price.
Bezos positions the brand with innovative features designed for customer satisfaction: one-click checkout, daily deal highlights, customer product reviews, personalized recommendations based on previous purchases and search queries, etc.
Take Action: Determine the fundamental requirements of your target audience in terms of your value proposition. How are creating experiences for your audience based on their desires that position you differently from your competition?
Keep the conversation flowing how have you used your personal brand to achieve a goal?
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Kimberly Bordonaro is a branding consultant who transforms tenacious entrepreneurs into profitable brands. Known for delivering astute branding advice for start-ups through lyrical metaphors, she blogs at kimberlybordonaro.com – a site that has been praised for its addictively informative (and fun!) content by many in the marketing industry.