Why is everyone talking about personal branding? And why should we care?
When we think of the term ‘brand’ we often think of the big ones, like Starbucks, Nike and Coke, to name a few. Their brand identity is so strong that you just need to see a colour or logo and you recognize the company. You know what they sell and you automatically get a feeling about the product and the values of the company.
Branding is important for a business because brand consistency creates a sense of trust and familiarity. When the marketing materials you produce are consistent and recognisable, it removes doubt and uncertainty and customers tend to trust that the product and service will also be consistent.
A personal brand is not the same as a brand (though both are important!), and I think a lot of people are confused about what it actually means.
Whether you realise it or not, you already have a personal brand.
When people talk about you privately or professionally, what they say about you is your personal brand. It’s your reputation, your values, the impression you leave when you meet people.
It’s not about faking it, fitting a role, or looking or acting a certain way, and it’s definitely not about being flawless. Forget about the image of the car salesman or real estate agent that just feels fake and pushy. Perhaps that works for some people, but honestly, it makes me want to run a mile rather than buy something.
I don’t want to be sold to – but I want to be served and cared about. I want someone to listen and help me (and that I’m more than willing to pay for).
Building a personal brand for your business is about making genuine connections with people who interact with you online and in real life. It’s about making sure that the message you put across is in line with your values and your ‘why’.
If you are truly yourself and project a genuine image of who you are and why you do what you do, you are naturally going to attract the right clients. Those you click with and genuinely care about. The ones that make you jump out of bed in the morning and when the work just feels exactly the way you want it to.
These are the clients who are going to rave about you to anyone and everyone and who will come back to you again and again.
Whether being ‘you’ means wearing a suit in a professional environment, or dressed in hiking boots, climbing to the top of a mountain with leaves in your hair, or drinking margaritas on a beach, if you are true to yourself and keep your ideal clients in mind (and how you can help them), you can’t go wrong.
If are the hiking boot kind of person but try to fake it and put across the image that you think is expected of you, the clients you attract aren’t going to be right for you.
Your personal brand is going to bring certain associations with it and, if done well, will give your potential clients a sense of trust and loyalty.
If you don’t dare to put yourself out there and be the face of your business, how are you going to stand out from the crowd?
The internet is a noisy marketplace and so many other businesses are competing for our attention, time and money. If you don’t find a way to connect with your audience, create a sense of loyalty and trust, your voice risks getting drowned out in the noise and your valuable message will be missed by those who need to hear it.
Building a solid and authentic personal brand takes time, but if you follow your heart and dare to be the face and voice of your business, it doesn’t have to be hard.
Perfect for social media and your website
Your personal brand matters when you meet people in real life, so keep this in mind when you are networking and whenever you meet new people. And remember, it’s not about faking it!
Professional personal brand images that truly capture ‘you’ are perfect for your website, social media, your newsletters, email signature and all of your marketing material. Combine authentic images with your voice, your passion and the incredible service or product that you sell, and your audience will pay attention. They will want more. And when they ‘know, like and trust’ you, they will make contact.