Marketer and entrepreneur Stephen A. Hart is a man of many passions – family, podcasting and most importantly – branding. As a Brand Strategist and creator of Brand In Demand, Hart is eager to help professionals and entrepreneurs identify and communicate the strong personal brands that will lead to success in business, relationships and even negotiation.
How does a strong personal brand relate to negotiation success?
When one thinks of negotiation strategy, personal branding may not always come to mind. The reality is your brand plays a huge a role in your ability to persuade or negotiate successfully.
“The very first thing that happens with marketing [and branding] is awareness,” Hart shares. “You must be able to draw attention and awareness – which leads to that conversion [sealing the deal or landing the contract you wanted].”
According to Hart, a strong consistent brand also helps build credibility and trust amongst your target audience – two things that are critical to successful negotiations.
How do you build credibility and trust?
For Hart, using your brand to build credibility and trust begins with knowing your “why”.
“Most people hear the term brand, and they think of the visual elements - like a logo,” he explains. “But do you understand what it is that you’re offering and why? Do you understand who you’re serving and why?”
Being able to understand your “why” leads to clarity and specificity in your messaging, which can allow you to better speak to the values and challenges your opponent is experiencing.
“If you understand that group, then you will be able to speak their language and capture their attention,” Hart shares.
Visual brand elements can also lead to enhanced trust. While people tend to underestimate the importance of fonts and colors, they go a long way – and can even lead to stronger negotiations.
“Different font styles communicate different tones, “Hart elaborates. “When everything is cohesive – you come across as more credible, making it less likely that somebody would question you.”
If your audience(s) see consistency and cohesion from your brand’s visual elements (website, social media, marketing materials etc.) – they are more likely regard you and/or your business as trustworthy.
One of the things that you get with trust is the benefit of the doubt – which can be critical to a successful outcome in negotiations.
How do you develop a personal brand if you’re working for a corporation that has its own established brand?
Branding isn’t just for entrepreneurs. Many professionals are working for companies with established branding, but there are still opportunities for them to develop a brand of their own. For Hart, it comes down to answering a few key questions:
Do I understand my why?
Where do I want my life to go?
What’s the purpose that I want my legacy to have served?
Hart says once you have those answers, reverse engineer to see how you can start working towards those goals each day, week, month, and year.
Hart emphasizes the importance of both visual elements and messaging to a strong brand; however, he also stresses the importance of understanding that brands change and evolve over time – and that’s okay.
The most important trick is to have a clear long-term vision for where you are going and who you are serving.
“What is fueling you and where do you want to take your path?” Hart encourages listeners to clarify.
As part of his Brand You Academy, Hart has created a self-paced brand development course for professionals and entrepreneurs. In 2022, he will be hosting in-person bootcamps equipped with real life case scenarios and hands on engagement.
For additional resources or to learn more visit www.stephenahart.com.
Listen to the full episode here.