Let’s begin with a simple question… What words come to mind when you think of the Duchess of Cambridge? For me, the words that spring up are, mother, queen, nurturing, dignified and wholesome. Let’s think of someone else… how about Bill Gates? Intelligent, intellectual, philanthropist, entrepreneur and powerful. These word associations with the people mentioned above is their personal brand. It’s what defines them; it’s how they are perceived by the external world.
And let’s be very clear about the fact that these personal brands have not “just happened.” They have, over time, been carefully crafted with a focussed and pointed strategy, probably led by their branding or PR teams.
Building a personal brand strategy is not just for the celebrities and millionaires of the world. It’s a valuable tool not only for any business owner or entrepreneur, but for the employees of a company as well. Your personal brand is a representation of your value system, your ethical needle, your industry expertise and personality and it’s therefore important to ensure that the messaging, and imaging about you reflect the brand communication you want to share.
Before I talk about the benefits of a personal brand strategy, I want to point out that it takes time, effort and a defined strategy to build a successful brand, because it involves building trust with your audience. However, it also takes seconds for the trust and success of a personal brand to be wiped out. Think about people like Prince Andrew, Meghan Markle and Rolf Harris.
But on a more positive note, let’s discuss the benefits of building a personal brand…
1. Builds trust. That’s the primary aim of building your personal brand strategy… to build trust with your audience and that includes your employees and customers. It’s not easy to build trust so one of the most important aspects is to demonstrate your authentic self. People are very perceptive and if you are fake, they will see right through you. Show your audience who you really are.
2. Humanisation of your product or service. When people purchase a product or service, nine out of ten times, it’s because they feel an emotional connection with it. And that’s what a good personal brand does. It humanises your offering, creating an emotional feeling/ connection with your product or service.
3. Presents you as an authority in your field. A well-thought through personal brand strategy will give you the opportunity to show yourself as a thought leader in your field, through speaking events, publishing opportunities and interviews. For example, Brene Brown is considered to be the authority on resilience, empathy and courage in our personal lives. She has one of the strongest personal brands that has been built up over time and is considered to be the go-to person for self-development and personal growth.
4. Increase your reach and visibility. The aim of building a personal brand is to present yourself in a positive light to your audience. A well-thought out strategy will ensure that you are seen often and in the right places by your audience. Today, with the omnipresent existence of social media apps like Instagram and LinkedIn, it is possible to be seen and heard more regularly; although be careful about overdoing it. You don’t want to annoy your audience either. Make sure your messaging, tone and appearance are in sync with each other to project a cohesive personal brand.
5. Strengthen your company brand. Your personal brand and your company brand more often than not complement each other. Ideally, you want them to work together. So, if you have a strong personal brand that attracts people to you, chances are that it will reflect on your company brand as well. That’s not to say, there have never been disconnects between the two. Take the case of Elon Musk. His personal brand is in the doldrums. However, his company brand has never been better, with Tesla being the most successful car manufacturer during COVID. Of course, this could be due to a variety of reasons, including its environmental focus and reputation for innovation. A more positive example is that of the brand of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge- both with strong personal brands, both of which have had a huge positive impact on the overall branding of the Royals.
6. Be a role model for your employees. If you have a successful personal brand that stands for yours and your company’s ethos, it will give employees a benchmark to live upto. A leader with a personal brand that reflects, for example, principals of empathy and compassion, will inspire employees to also try and emulate those qualities. The personal brand of a leader like Bill Gates, for instance, will inspire employees to try and adopt an innovative and cutting-edge approach in their work.
In the past year or so, we have been working closely with business and leadership coaches, trainers and consultants and the importance of building a strong personal brand for members of this industry cannot be overstated. Their USP is their personal brand; their ability to draw people to them and influence change. Whilst working with these clients we dig deep…over an intense discovery session to learn what they are REALLY about and what about their personalities, ethos, messaging and offering influences and inspires change within their clients.
At Somer Design, we’re strong believers in the importance of a dedicated and focused personal brand strategy.
It’s worked for us and continues to do so, and we believe it will add value to you and your business. We’ve worked with several clients on building their personal brands in conjunction with their company branding. We’d be happy to brainstorm with you on how we can help with yours. Give us a call on 020 7112 9068 or email us at [email protected]. Or you can fill up the contact form on our website for us to call you. We look forward to hearing from you.