What does your personal brand mean?
Does it matter?
How can having a personal brand make a difference to your business brand?
Personal branding has become a bit of a buzzword, an overused phrase that leaves many rolling their eyes. Are you one of those who is left thinking what on earth is personal branding about?
Why does a personal brand matter?
Whether you are starting out as a new business owner or you’re an established entrepreneur, you’ll want to be found in the market. We all need clients, right, but it can be so disheartening on a competitive and crowded playing field when we’re pitching against others, but not being seen.
Have you ever found yourself going to networking meetings and then ending up feeling slightly dejected because there were others there running a similar business to you? How do you start to stand out?
This is where your personal brand can make the difference. I was a teacher for a long time before I became a social media marketer. I had fantastic social media marketing training and I felt confident that I could help small business owners with their social media, but I was struggling to raise my profile. Do you know how many social media managers and consultants are out there?! I needed to find a way to find my own voice and stand out from the crowd. Working on my personal brand proved to be key.
Find your superpowers
Your personal brand defines what makes you different and what you can offer that will help your customers. You need to find a way for your expertise, what you’ve got to offer, your knowledge and your talents to stand out. Think of your personal brand as a package which represents what you offer and how you can make a difference to your customers.
Imagine you’re on a supermarket shelf. What makes you the sparkly, shiny, different package to all the others that are on the shelf? Are you are going to be the one that people are drawn to because you have got your personal branding right?
What does it involve?
Think of your personal brand like this:
- how your offers help customers and clients to address their pain points
- how you show up on social media
- what your website says about you (not your product or service)
- what you say and how you behave when you go to networking, both online and in person
- how you talk to people about your business
Your personal brand creates transparency and trust in your business for new followers on social media or people who land on your profile after a Google search.
Yes, you have your business brand, whether it be a physical product or you have a service that you sell, but if you add your personal brand to this, you’ll establish the all important ‘know, like and trust’ relationship more quickly.
I speak from personal experience. I started on this journey thinking about my personal brand about three years ago. Since then I have thought carefully about my motivation for my business, what my values are, what my expertise and knowledge is, and how I package this up into offers which help my audience decide if they want to buy from me. My personal brand has enabled me to get my ideal clients, because they know who I am.
Why are people put off the term ‘personal branding’?
Understandably there are those who are sceptical about talking about their personal brand, perhaps because they think it’s all about being personal. Surely, it is about having to talk about your life story or family or sharing photos of what you had for breakfast. No, it doesn’t have to be.
Show your audience what your expertise is, what your knowledge is, what your mission is, how it is that you want to help people. My personal brand encapsulates wanting to help entrepreneurs feel more confident about creating content and less overwhelmed about posting on social media.
You control the message
There is strong evidence that if you are prepared to talk about your values and your mission, this will ensure you have control about the public view of you. You can control the message that is being put out without there being any misconceptions or doubts.
Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos said,
‘Your personal brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.’
If you want to control this and it matters to you that your brand is built on a good reputation, then you’ve got to craft the message.
How to ensure your personal brand is authentic
Spend some time reflecting honestly on what you think about yourself. You’ll also want the message about yourself to align with what other people say about you too.
Try this activity to start working on crafting a personal brand message which is genuinely you. It will help you to meld together what you see as your strengths and incorporate what others think about you.
Start by listing the following:
- words which describe your character
- your wins
- your greatest successes, not just in your business now, but what you’ve done previously.
- businesses you have previously owned or previous jobs you’ve had
- go back to your successes from when you were at school and college
- think about the good things that people have said about you in the past
- your current expertise, knowledge, skills, talents and interests
You want to write everything down.
Then look at your client reviews and testimonials. Look at what other people are saying about you, your friends, your associates. This will also take time.
Brain dump every bit of information that’s about you. There will be more words, phrases and statements than you realise.
Then start to cross off and discard all the bland, samey and boring bits that are not going to help you stand out and lack dynamism. Whittle your lists down until you get to statements and words which you feel strongly define you, but are also reflected in the words of your clients, your community, your friends, your associates.
Shorten it down to as few statements as possible because you want your brand values to be as focused and succinct as possible.
I managed to summarise all my information into three neat themes – Communication Counts, I’m happy to stand out from the crowd and The teacher in me.
These themes are authentically me. Take a look at my table to see how I arrived at them. The statements listed underneath each heading are what I regard as my superpowers and what others have said about me.
You could arrange your statements in a table like this to make it visually easier to understand.
Don’t try to be everybody’s cup of tea
Find out what is authentically you and become known for what you want to be known for.
It’s all too easy, especially on social media, to compare yourself to other people. It is more important to think about what makes you different to them. This is: You. Think about yourself and what makes you authentic.
You don’t need to be liked by everybody. You don’t want to be everyone’s ‘cup of tea’. Trying to please everybody and be all things to all people will result in your content becoming the same as everybody else’s. In other words, beige and forgettable.
Your personal brand will help to focus on the customers and clients that you want to attract. If you’re too general and bland, you won’t attract your ideal clients in the first place and then they are less likely to come back to you.
Make your personal brand so powerful, strong and defined that people want to keep coming back to just you. They won’t be tempted to look elsewhere, because they’re a bit bored with you.
The sweet spot is when what you’re offering matches the needs of your ideal client. This is key for marketing your personal brand.
Hopefully, I’ve helped you to see the benefits of a personal brand and how it enhances your business brand. Think of it as a way to express what you want to be known for. If you keep in mind that ‘people buy from people’, your personal brand is an asset that you need to promote. It will help to drive your business forward.
Would you like to know more about how to craft your personal brand or define your brand values? I’d like to help you. I’m keen to see many more small business owners use personal branding effectively to attract their ideal clients. Drop me a message here to see how I can help you.