In a world where individuals and brands often try to be “everything to everyone,” it has become increasingly important to work on how you want others to see you. In other words, establishing your personal brand has become inevitable today. But do we all have it? And how does one begin with personal branding? Let’s discover as we go along.
Simply put, personal branding is the practice of marketing an individual instead of a product/service. This individual could be a business tycoon, like Ratan Tata, a celebrity like Shah Rukh Khan, or a common man. It is because there is a perception and opinion attached to every individual. So, when you market an individual, you want the world to have a certain perception about them or look at them in a certain way, which could be as a thought leader, a business inspiration, or just someone they idolise.
This kind of marketing results in a ‘personal brand.’ Throughout this piece, we’ll look at personal branding more in a brand/business context.
So, what is a personal brand? It
Your personal brand is how you appear to others, i.e., your presence and personality. As per Jeff Bezos, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
You must have seen typical branding efforts. While brands and marketers take branding the product/service seriously, they often neglect personal branding as a means to create a lasting impression. Take it this way: you know how famous Tesla is, but you also know how Elon Musk’s promising personal brand helps position Tesla as a top electric car and clean energy brand.
In some situations, a personal brand can even outshine your business. And there’s nothing wrong with it because, ultimately, it’ll be the face that people associate with your brand, positioning it high.
This brings us to some vital elements built on by a personal brand: purpose, position, promise, personality, and presence.
You must have heard of LeBron James, the OG basketball athlete. Referred to as King James today, he has become a lot more than just a player; he has become a phenom. On the court, James tops the list of NBA top scorers with 3 NBA championship titles and 4 MVP awards. But the magic is what happens off-court. James’ personal branding is fascinating!
He has branched out of sports, entered media and retail, and is involved in several philanthropic deeds. To begin with, he established the I Promise School, a no-cost elementary school in Akron. This is one of the many reasons why big brands like Nike often collaborate with him: ethos to his personal branding!
James is also a part of some historically successful ad campaigns, like Nike’s “Training Day – a glimpse of a day in the life of LeBron James.”
In retail, James is a co-founder of UNKNWN, a sports fashion brand. Besides being a co-founder, James often promotes and models for UNKNWN collections.
and also enjoys his ownership of Lobos 1707 Anejo, his own tequila.
It doesn’t end here. James has a social media following of more than 159 million people! He doesn’t just post facts and figures; his social media feed is a blend of his skills of engaging fans and personal insights, like about his family.
Still, wondering how personal branding can help you or your business? Read on.
64% of customers today are driven by belief, i.e., they are not only concerned with how good your product is but also expect you to have a “powerful face.” This could either be your own personal brand or your company’s personal branding.
They think along the lines of
To answer all these questions, you must focus on personal branding to communicate your views or prospects to others. Consequently, personal branding is SO important because:
When you focus on personal branding, your chances of becoming more visible and identifiable increase. It’s a sure-shot way of positioning yourself as a thought leader in the industry, as personal branding necessitates you to identify your strengths and weaknesses.
For instance, consider this layman’s example. Say you are a product; in that case, an employer becomes a buyer. So why should they interview you and not other applicants? This is where your personal brand can add a “unique value proposition” to your application, differentiating you from competitors.
Regardless of what a customer purchases, they can find a similar product/service elsewhere. What makes you authentic is their entire experience while working with you.
By investing in personal branding, you can focus on creating unique content and build better relationships with potential customers. This will help you attract more like-minded people and establish a quality network of loyal customers and collaborators.
An excellent example of an authentic personal brand is Gary Vaynerchuk. Besides being known for his personality, he is a renowned business expert. His lack of self-censorship is what makes him stand out the most. In fact, if a speaking engagement requests that he tone down, he probably will decline it.
Source: Gary Vaynerchuk
Personal branding campaigns are an excellent channel to increase sales. As per LinkedIn, marketers using social media for personal branding in their sales efforts are 51% more likely to surpass their anticipated sales.
Further, it is also known to enhance B2B sales performance. Pam Moore, an established marketing strategist, suggests it takes 5-7 minutes for people to retain a brand. In this case, personal branding can be an excellent aid to nurture and convert them.
Bill Gates is an excellent example of how personal branding leads to B2B success. Despite having left his position as Microsoft’s CEO over a decade ago, he is still largely recognised as a technology leader. Even when the world first witnessed his presence, he came off as a young visionary. With countless public speaking events, philanthropic work, and a social media presence, Gates has a very promising and visible personal brand. His personal brand reeks of intelligence, social causes, and well-endowed foundations.
Personal branding often involves utilising social media. More than 59% of the world’s population is now on these platforms, making them one of the most valuable assets for reaching target audiences and promoting your brand.
Below are some fool-proof personal branding tactics using social media.
Successful personal branding is all about having a loyal following. In any case, your followers are the ones who will make and consider you a leader.
So, start by figuring out:
Once you have your answers, prioritise one goal at a time.
Again, clout only happens if you offer something that adds value to your audience.
Typically, unique personal branding should entail creating something of your own: educational content, personal anecdotes, ratings & reviews, original artwork, motivational content, etc.
Feel free to utilize all of the above simultaneously as well!
Long story short, create something worth following you for.
Consistency is arguably the most faced challenge when it comes to branding in general.
Let’s say your target audience is mostly split between LinkedIn and Instagram. So, a good place to begin posting consistently is to figure out how often to post on these two platforms. You must also research the best time to add a post. For instance, it is suggested that posting between 6-9 am and 5-6 pm works best on Instagram.
To ensure this, you can also utilise tools like Buffer and schedule your social media posts.
Trust, authenticity, and relevance are critical to all personal branding campaigns.
This implies sharing content and personal experiences that your audience can relate to and rely on. It could be anything from challenges you faced in establishing your brand to how you balance your work and life. But before you pen down your thoughts, ask yourself a few questions like
You can hit the bull’s eye when you have all the answers to such questions.
Quiet often, there’s a chance of you becoming too personal and engrossed with personal branding. This might leave your audience feeling so burnt out with your stuff that they might skip your brand altogether.
So be conscious about the same and set clear boundaries for yourself.
As digital spheres constantly change, how you market yourself and your brand must evolve simultaneously. A great way is to invest time and effort in personal branding. Creating a personal brand that also resonates with your business requires a deep understanding of yourself. It demands a lot of consistency, authenticity, and relevance. But once you blend them, you’ll have a prominent, recognisable, and unique brand.
After all, all it takes is one, “Oh, I know you, you’re the one who….” to realise that you’ve made it.