As a business owner, your personal brand is an important part of your company’s success. Understanding, developing and maintaining a personal brand should be part of your overall marketing strategy. But what is a personal brand? The following insights will help you to understand personal branding and think about how best to implement your own.
1. You are Your Own Chief Marketing Officer
Don’t be reluctant to promote your personal brand. Developing a personal brand is not bragging. People care who they do business with. Letting others know who you are, what you think and how you add value helps build trust and respect. These are essential elements of a successful business relationship. Don’t be uncomfortable sharing valuable information about how your thinking makes you and your company stand out. These same insights can also differentiate you from your competition.
2. To stand out and work for you, your brand should hit the three Cs:
Connection: First, your brand should create a connection emotionally. Show your values and your empathy for your customers’ needs. Be authentic about what matters to you and to your company.
Choice: Second, make it easy to choose to work with you by having a value proposition that stands out from your competitors.
Confidence: Third, a personal brand builds confidence through a consistent message.
Your brand is a series of promises.
As you develop your brand, remember that your brand is a series of promises.
Ask yourself: What are the promises of your company and your personal brand? Identify them, know what they are for yourself. Then, work on articulating them so that others can understand the promises you make to clients, prospects, and stakeholders. Finally, build on the promises with consistent brand messaging. For example, a design-build firm may differentiate itself as artistic and unique. If so, then cookie cutter images and designs are not going to promote these features. Instead, company messaging must further the promise of being custom and the owner’s personal brand needs to align itself with this promise by portraying artistry. A company brand promise should align with the personal brand of the owner. It would not be the same if the brand focused instead on another aspect like quality or price.
3. Make your Brand Communication Meaningful.
There are three layers to communication. First, a communication must be functional; it must tell what a product or service does. Second, a communication must articulate the value proposition by sharing what is unique about the business and how that difference enhances the product or service. For example, an attorney with a background as an entrepreneur would be able to bring the personal insight of this prior experience to benefit clients who are entrepreneurs. Third, the messaging should be emotional. It should evoke a feeling; address a pain point and show that you get it – you know how to get through to the other side.
4. Your Brand Helps People Know, Like and Trust You.
For a brand to have meaning, it needs to be out in the world. For that reason, a business owner needs to have a visible, public presence outside of the organization. Blog, attend events, sponsor a charity. There are many ways to be visible. The key is to make sure the visibility ties back to your brand. Visibility comes into play with specific client relationships. Make a point to have contact with a client that allows the client to see that you care. A mid-project check-in or a post-project thank you note will go a long way to demonstrate that you think the client matters.
As a business owner, your personal band plays an important part in your overall marketing strategy. Understanding the concept of a personal brand and being strategic in its manifestation is critical to brand success.
Jen Dalton, CEO of BrandMirror, has over 15 years of experience in strategy, marketing, and coaching. In 2012, she made a gutsy move into the entrepreneurship space, launching her branding business and became a certified master personal branding strategist. She specializes in building your digital thought leadership on LinkedIn and other social media. You can find her bestselling book, The Intentional Entrepreneur, on Amazon, which highlights how business owners can leverage their personal brand to grow their business faster.