This year, make personal branding a priority. Whether through social media channels such as LinkedIn or Twitter, or traditional outlets such as professional communities and industry publications, promoting yourself and your skillsets will help you grow your business.
This week’s article will look at what is personal branding, why it’s essential, and how to develop your brand.
What’s A Personal Brand?
A personal brand is a unique identity that you create for yourself. It’s the image of you that differentiates you from others in your field.
You should build your brand even before you launch a business and continue to optimize it as you grow as a professional.
Your personal brand cements you in the minds of your audience and establishes you as an authority in your industry.
A solid personal brand increases visibility and credibility and will attract opportunities, collaborations, and sales.
Personal Brand vs. Reputation
Personal branding is a proactive step to promote yourself in your industry and the professional world. You’ll build your brand through an authentic and consistent presence that aligns with your values and goals. Digital media is the most popular medium today, but you might also use traditional avenues such as public speaking and television appearances.
Your reputation is what other people think of you. These options are formed by interactions that the public has with you, whether in person or virtually. Stories that circulate about you, whether true or not, also impact your reputation.
Personal branding is in your control, whereas reputation is based on the experiences and perceptions of others. However, your reputation can negatively impact your brand. For instance, you might employ the right strategies and present an authentic, consistent image, yet be at the wrong place at the wrong time. An unfortunate event could lead to a negative report and harm your reputation. The result is that people doubt or distrust the image you project in your personal brand.
Personal Brand vs. Business Brand
You also need a business brand, but the two are different. Whereas your personal brand focuses on your unique experiences, achievements, and qualifications, your business brand focuses on your services and products. Your business brand should educate your audience about your company’s vision, mission, and values.
Your personal brand builds your reputation and influence in your niche or community. In contrast, your business brand differentiates your company’s services and products from its competitors.
Why A Personal Brand Is Important
- Personal branding will help you stand out in the crowded marketplace.
- Your brand can amplify your credibility and authority in your industry.
- Personal branding can lead to increased sales and revenue for your business.
- According to the Pew Research Center, 74% of Americans trust a person with a respected personal brand, and more than 50% would recommend, do business with, or seek advice from these individuals.
How Personal Branding Can Be Used To Help You Target Specific Markets And Expand Your Reach
As we’ve written in previous articles, content is king, and nothing has changed in 2023. A strategic content marketing strategy builds brand recognition, demand, and revenue.
By consistently producing high-quality content that aligns with your personal brand, you’ll establish yourself as a thought leader or expert in your industry. You’ll develop a unique personal brand that makes you competitive and attract attention from potential investors, collaborators, and customers.
Today, consumers look for relationships with the brands they turn to for products and services. Therefore, they want to know the person behind the business brand. Telling your personal story and sharing your ongoing challenges and experiences helps you connect with your customer base. In addition, your clients are highly likely to share your unique brand content with their family and friends, thus expanding your sphere of influence and identity.
Customer retention and word-of-mouth marketing are two of the most powerful strategies for growing your business and expanding your reach.
How A Personal Brand Is Developed
Personal branding looks much like the visioning and strategy sessions you might have for your business.
Introspection. Spend time reflecting and identifying your unique strengths, expertise, values, goals, etc. What do you want to accomplish in this world? Why? What makes you qualified to do these things? What drives you?
Brand statement. Once you’ve figured out who you are, write a summary that encompasses the answers to the questions you focused on during the introspection phase. You may want to bounce this statement off those you trust for validation. Then, keep your brand statement nearby as you create and implement the remaining branding elements.
Share your personal story. Sharing your personal story will open the door to authentic, deeper relationships with your audience. First, talk about your life journey, struggles, and successes. Then, make it valuable by providing your audience with actionable insights they can use to grow and succeed.
Digital presence. Everyone is on the internet, so you need to be there too. While it’s possible to create a personal brand solely through traditional media, you’ll find that the process will be much slower. A website or blog is an effective channel through which you can share your experiences, ideas, innovations, opinions, and knowledge with your audience.
Social media. Social media channels are perfect for interacting and building relationships with your audience. Building a community of followers helps you overcome the limitations of social media algorithms. You’ll be able to exchange ideas, answer questions and correct any negative feedback circulating your personal brand. However, limit your social media presence to two channels that help you reach your objectives. You can’t be everywhere at once, and consistency is critical.
Networking. Here, you can work on personal branding through traditional channels such as industry events and associations. Take advantage of opportunities to speak at events, and submit articles and opinion pieces to your industry association print media. In addition, reach out to other industry leaders and influencers who can help optimize your personal branding strategy.
Guest Posts. Create a list of top websites and blogs in your industry. Then, seek opportunities to submit guest articles. You’ll expand your name recognition and further cement your expertise with a broader audience.
Consistency. Personal branding will suffer if you fail to be consistent. And consistency applies not only to your digital presence but also to the messages you deliver and images you project. Furthermore, your followers will want to see your personal brand reflected in your business brand. Otherwise, they will distrust you and walk away.
Personal Brand Examples
What are the most popular personal brand examples?
Oprah Winfrey. What comes to mind when you see the name, Oprah Winfrey? Mostly like, it’s positivity, personal growth, success, empowerment, or overcoming adversity.
Tony Robbins. Tony Robbins has built an incredible personal brand that makes his name synonymous with self-improvement, leadership, motivation, and helping others.
Elon Musk. Elon Must is top of the news today, but he didn’t launch his personal brand when he bought Twitter. Instead, he has been optimizing his branding for many years, creating an image of someone who is a brilliant entrepreneur and CEO, a person with an ambitious vision, and a risk-taker.
Marie Kondo. Marie Kondo may be less known than the previous three. Still, she has built a solid personal brand around organizing and decluttering. In addition, she has maximized her online presence as a consultant, author, and authority on these topics.
Personal Branding Pitfalls
While social media is one of the most effective tools for building and optimizing your brand, it can also be your worse enemy. A single tactless tweet or post can ruin all the work you put into building your brand. So be careful how you use public platforms to express your opinion on inflammatory issues. Before speaking out in favor of or against political and social issues, ask yourself:
- How is this going to impact my company brand?
- Will I alienate potential customers?
- Will I be happy if this post or tweet is discovered a year or more from now?
There is a growing tendency today to share personal stories. It’s certainly an effective tactic for increasing engagement. So, again, ask yourself: “Will I be happy if readers find this story about my personal life that I’ve shared with my online audience?”
It is worth your time to develop your personal brand, especially before you launch a new business. You’ll build credibility with your audience and differentiate yourself from others in your profession.
- A powerful personal brand can lead to increased customer loyalty and word-of-mouth referrals, both of which help you grow your business.
- Personal branding will position you as a thought leader and respected voice in your industry, driving business growth.
- Your personal brand and business brand are not the same. Therefore, you need to work on both.
- You have control over your personal brand, but your reputation is how others perceive you. The two interact, and one can influence the other, but damage to your reputation can be due to events that are out of your control.
- To succeed, you’ll want to be proactive and intentional with building your brand, consistently presenting yourself in a way that aligns with your stated vision, ethics, goals, and objectives.
Ready to get started and need some help? Contact us, and let’s start the conversation.
*** I hope everyone had a peaceful and inspiring holiday season and is ready for 2023! For more articles like this, sign up for our weekly blog, comment, and share on your social media channels.