Whether you know it or not, you have a personal brand.
Hold up. Wait a minute. ✋
What does personal branding actually mean?
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, defines personal branding as:
"Your brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room."
Forbes describes the term "branding" to be traditionally reserved for businesses, but with the rise of social sites, social media and the gig economy, personal branding has become fundamental. A personal brand is made up of the unique combination of skills and experiences that make you who you are. It is how you present yourself to the world!
A strong personal brand can make or break your business
Effective personal branding will differentiate you from the competition and allow you to build trust with prospective clients and employers, Forbes also states.
The importance of personal branding for entrepreneurs in establishing their business success cannot be overlooked.
As an entrepreneur, these 4 main factors are constantly on your mind:
There's too much not to lose track of!
Deepak Kanakaraju from Digital Deepak mentions that in sales, people buy you, rather than your product. They buy into who you are and what you represent, and this couldn't be more important than in today’s convoluted business marketplace. In the present global economy where anyone can sell anything, or anyone can copy what others are offering; having a strong personal brand is crucial, in order to stand out.
And it is crucial not just to stand out, but to be trusted by your audience - this is key! 🗝
People trust something they can relate to, like a person, not just a brand. With that trust comes loyalty, and with loyalty, come fans who proudly recommend your brand to others.
Let's break it down into simple terms:
Trust ➡ Loyalty ➡ Fans
Why personal branding is more important than ever 🤩
An article by Geekschip concludes that these are the main credibility features which define a good personal brand:
“Your personal brand is a promise to your clients… a promise of quality, consistency, competency, and reliability." – Jason Hartman
How many smart and talented people do you know who are struggling financially or career-wise? Chances are, quite a few...
Despite having the skills and expertise, they somehow fail to jump-start their businesses or careers. A big reason for this is that they lack the credibility outside their current circle of influence. This is where personal branding helps!
Think of it as a “credibility bank”, where consistent work on your personal brand can give you an opportunity to make small daily and weekly credibility deposits.
Carry on those credibility deposits 😁
Over time, as you increase your circle of influence further, you will also increase your credibility to more and more people.
2. Marketing funnel
“Marketing is telling the world you’re a rock star ✨. Content Marketing is showing the world you are one.” – Robert Rose
Every entrepreneur wants to build up a well-positioned personal brand with excellent marketing, which can bring several benefits to their company. Every entrepreneur is unique. But all entrepreneurs will agree that when they try to create a relationship with their customers, it is necessary for them to influence and build a good reputation in the minds of people of all industries.
This is so important - because when people like or dislike something about a particular brand, they will spread their opinions that by sharing their experiences with the people around them, directly or indirectly; which is bound to have an influence on others opinions.
3. Relationship building 🤝
“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realise it themselves.” – Steve Jobs, Apple
If you ask any successful businessmen or women, they will tell you that the secret lies in your relationship with the people you interact with, and how you value your resources in a business.
The easy and time-tested way of promoting a personal brand is by roping into your professional network more people and maintaining a healthy relationship with them. The importance of branding for entrepreneurs encourages them to add more people to their professional network as well.
A strong personal brand can give you access to exclusive networks. A good example would be getting an interview with, let’s say, Michael Jordan - arguably the best basketball player that ever lived. And also, a very famous celebrity!
If a choice needed to be made between a blogger with a disorganised and unclear personal brand...or someone with a well-built personal brand, who has a reputation for working with celebrities and well-known figures - who do you think would get picked?
Of course, the chosen one would be the person with a well-built personal brand, 10 times out of 10. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.
Personal branding can help you in many other areas like finding the right people to join the team, and also when converting clients.
Another reason why personal branding is valuable? The gig economy is not going away anytime soon. The average person switches jobs every 2-3 years, and by 2020, freelance and contract workers will make up 43% of the U.S. workforce. Crazy times!
Diane Mulcahy, the author of The Gig Economy says,
"We’re seeing only one trend here, which is that the gig economy is big and getting bigger. Companies will do just about anything to avoid hiring full-time employees. Add to that the fact that there is no job security anymore, and workers are increasingly aware that they need to work differently if they want to create any sort of stability for themselves.”
If you aren’t effectively managing your online reputation, then you run the risk of losing out on business. LinkedIn is a great tool to build an online reputation and is an easy way to showcase all of your own achievements.
4. A personal brand allows you to charge what you're worth
A personal brand builds your credibility and allows you to charge more for your services. It’s basic economics – supply and demand. As an entrepreneur, you only have a limited amount of time in any given day. As demand for your time, skills, and expertise increases, you can start to charge more for your time.
💼 As you build your brand, you will build a following - and as a result, a lot more people will want to work with you. If done right, your personal brand should also attract other movers-and-shakers who can provide more opportunities, in your direction!
💼 As you build a personal brand, you’ll need to get very good at vetting opportunities quickly and saying “no” a lot! While a personal brand can attract bigger, better deals, it will probably also attract many more opportunities that are not worth it, as well.
💼 Only say yes to deals that further your mission and align with the direction you are heading. This is where I’ve personally seen personal brands get derailed. They start saying yes to opportunities that are not a direct alignment with their values, goals, and mission. It’s important to start developing your “no” muscle early on!
While we're on the topic of personal branding for entrepreneurs, probably one of the most cliche but powerful examples is that of the late Steve Jobs - a visionary who dreamed of disrupting the technology world from his garage and did so with panache, elegance and simplicity that mirrored his own personality.
Whether you’re looking for a better job or more sales for your company, personal branding is more important than ever. You don’t need to be Oprah or Richard Branson to have a great personal brand. It’s a matter of continually crafting and curating your digital presence and most importantly, keeping it real! Your honesty, transparency and authenticity are what will differentiate you in the long-run.
''You never get a second chance to make a first impression—make it one that will set you apart, build trust and reflect who you are''.
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About the author
Ardita is from Albania and joined the High-Profile Club as a Marketing Assistant. She is passionate about Mathematics and knowledgeable on a variety of computer programming languages. Continuing a BA in Accounting and Finance at South Bank University, Ardita has keen interests to deepen her knowledge in accounting, financial markets and business. She is highly motivated to learn new things and develop opportunities.
Find Ardita on LinkedIn.