Product Development Firm's CEO on Personal Branding in Forbes

Kevin Mako Featured in Forbes: Building a Personal Brand That Stands Out

Forbes can’t seem to get enough of our CEO and President, Kevin Mako. That’s right, one of the most coveted business magazines in the world invited him back again. This time, Kevin and his colleagues at the Young Entrepreneur Council were featured in an article sharing his insider tips on how inventors craft a strong personal brand.

Indeed a personal brand helps individuals stand out amongst their peers and build a meaningful network. As the premier product development agency in Austin, we take pride in consistently growing a great network of partners, including manufacturers and parts providers from all over the world.

We attend trade shows, participate in programs such as Make48, and host a multitude of events, including the annual MAKO Student Innovation Award and Dreamvention, where Kevin is seen above with Cobie Smulders, one of the prominent stars in Avengers and How I Met Your Mother Star!

What have we learned over the years that has helped us build these great relationships? When it comes to networking, this is Kevin’s key takeaway; it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know.

Building a Strong Personal Brand

A personal brand is an external expression of how you perceive yourself and how you desire others to perceive you. People develop a personal brand as a means to control the way others see or perceive them. The purpose of a personal brand is to positively promote oneself to others with the objectives of:

  • Demonstrating skills and knowledge.
  • Make yourself memorable.
  • Building trust.
  • The ability to influence others.

Sound familiar? Because it should.

Personal brands are not unlike business brands. Businesses use branding to separate themselves from their competitors. Usually, they do this with a mission statement, by targeting a specific audience and simply state their competitive advantage.

When you’re creating a personal brand, you’re essentially doing the same thing at an individual level. As the premier product development agency in Austin, we often notice the best inventors align their personal branding with their business. With that in mind, here are tips on building a strong personal brand.

Focus on a Target Audience

Successful brands target a specific audience

So should you.

As the premier product development agency in Austin, we help our clients by helping them focus on a niche. Simultaneously, and guide them away from giving in to the fear of missing out on potential customers. “Entrepreneurs are taught that the narrower your customer demographic target, the surprisingly bigger your business will actually be,” Kevin explains.

A simple idea means less explaining and more promoting – and this applies to your personal brand as well. Kevin continues, “I’ve spent my whole adult life running an industrial design firm tailored to inventors, startups, and small manufacturer clients.”

MAKO Design + Invent’s world-class services are tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Kevin’s podcast, The Product Startup Podcast, is all about providing knowledge, expertise, and case studies to help startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Every opportunity that Kevin has to speak publicly, whether it’s an interview or keynote, he always focuses on one of these three groups.

Starting to see a pattern? Taking all this into consideration, it’s clear there’s absolutely zero confusion about Kevin’s area of expertise and who the target audience is. If you’re an inventor, startup, or small manufacturer – you’ll want to meet Kevin.

Kevin Mako, President and Founder of the product development agency in Austin.
Hone Your Key Messages

Continuing from the section above, what you share is equally important as who you share it to. For our product development agency in Austin, key messages are the critical points of what you want your audience to hear and remember. It allows you to control communications and build more predictable relationships with your audience as you judge the reception of the things you write and say. Here are some things to consider:

  • Keep it simple. A precise and concise message is more effective than a long one.
  • Be positive. People are drawn to those who evoke positivity.
  • Ensure there’s a purpose. What is the objective of your message?

Whatever your key message, make sure you do it consistently and leverage social media platforms to your advantage. You should also consider building your key messages into an elevator pitch – a quick, one-minute maximum summary of your personal brand!

Don’t Brag Too Much About Your Credentials

Maybe we’ve all had a first date that went something like this:

In a determined effort to impress you, your date boorishly begins to drone about their multiple university degrees, impossibly difficult-to-obtain academic awards, the “I’m special because I had to work until 10 PM for a week” accomplishments… 

If you haven’t gone through that, lucky you.

Jokes aside, technical and academic achievements are a great way to bolster your brand – but they shouldn’t define who you are. Successful businesses, like our product development agency in Austin, don’t plaster the front page of their website with achievements and reviews. We’re more than that. And you’re more than just your achievements.

When we’re meeting others for the first time, what we care about is personality. Do we get along? Can we have a good conversation? Do we have some kind of chemistry? It’s more important to be relatable than it is to be “the best.” Elon Musk is a great example of this. Love him or hate him, he certainly knows how to converse with his audience, especially on Twitter.

If you’ve ever scrolled through his Twitter account, you know it’s an alluring abomination of professional-esque PR blips blended with plenty of memes to aggravate the overly sensitive boomers passing by. It works for him, so find what works for you.

For the full list of personal branding tips, check out the Forbes article here!

About: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial designmechanical engineeringelectrical engineeringpatent referralprototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. Also, our founder Kevin Mako hosts The Product Startup Podcast, the industry's leading hardware podcast. Check it out for tips, interviews, and best practices for hardware startups, inventors, and product developers. Click HERE to learn more about MAKO Design + Invent!

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