Whether you’re running a start-up or you’re a veteran business owner, your personal brand is equally as important as your business’s brand.
Regardless of whether you’re the face of the business or a behind the scenes worker, you’re bound to deal with other people. These interactions help shape people’s perceptions of you and can have a strong influence on how they see your work and view your business’s brand.
What is it?
Your personal brand is made up of other people’s perceptions and understandings of you based on their interactions with you and knowledge of your experience, expertise and accomplishments.
“We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.” –Tom Peters
If you have heard the term personal brand, you have probably heard of this quote from Tom Peters. While it is so commonly used, many people overlook its true meaning:
Having a personal brand means presenting yourself as the face of the business through every interaction whether in a meeting, interview, networking and on social media.
Why is it important?
Your personal brand is what differentiates you from the next person. It’s how you present your skills and knowledge in an industry.
Influencer Marketing Hub describes a personal brand as what makes you memorable.
Personal branding can make you a memorable candidate for a job and motivate clients to return to you for your services.
In short, personal branding is what makes people choose you, over the competition.
How do you establish it?
A study by Glenn Llopis found that 70% of people thought they had defined their personal brand and 50% think they’re living it.
The study shows that, in contrast, only 15% of people had a real definition of their personal brand and less than 5% were consistently living it at work.
With such uncertainty around your personal brand, how do you create one?
- Be yourself. While it is necessary to hold a level of professionalism and act as though you’re a representative of your own business, it is important to understand the goal is marketing yourself. If you’re trying to be someone else, people will see through the act. People appreciate authenticity.
- Your story. Highlight who you are, your unique aspects and story. This is how you communicate your unique selling point. Ask yourself: What makes you different from the rest?
- Consistency is key. A LinkedIn article mentions the importance of consistency of your personal brand both online and offline. That is, your behaviour should represent your core values, regardless of whether actions are public or behind closed doors.
Social media is a great asset for representing your personal brand and you need to make sure that your behaviour matches that represented within your social media platform.
How to use it for business development?
92% of consumers trust recommendations from other people, even those they don’t know, over brand content. Consumers trust each other more than they trust big brands and businesses.
Using your personal brand within your business provides a friendly face for consumers to trust, giving you the opportunity to potentially build a stronger relationship.
John Hall from Forbes explains that employees’ personal brand can become a competitive advantage that helps companies differentiate them in the eyes of consumers. This is implemented when employees’ personal brands are beneficial in creating human-to-human connections with customers.
Maybe it’s time for you to refresh your personal brand, or implement others into your business. How important is personal branding to you? Do you have a personal brand that you implement daily?