3 reasons to harness the power of personal brand in your business
What is personal branding?
Definitions vary, digitalmarketing.org define it as 'an ongoing process of developing and maintaining a reputation and impression of an individual, group, or organization'.
Your 'personal brand' is beginning to replace the traditional CV and. as one of LinkedIn's favourite topics, it is easy to see why.
Personal pages outperform company pages for a number of reasons - they don't both have the same functionality for a start, but one of the main reasons is they are about the person.
LinkedIn company pages are passive and can be tough to increase engagement on. Personal profiles on the other hand, give endless opportunities to find and interact with people, and you can massively increase engagement if you’re willing to put in the time.
Harnessing this on an individual level is one thing.
However if you are a company founder, CEO, Director, unlike Miranda Priestly (who IS Runway magazine), you might not be keen on being 'the face' of your company.
Perhaps you are more introverted, maybe your core skills don't lend themselves, you simply don't have time, or you feel it should be about everyone in the company, and not just you.
All understandable and viable reasons, however I suggest you ignore the power of your people at your peril.
You only need to look at the numbers to see that people win over legal entities any day. I check the personal pages of prominent industry leaders a couple of weeks ago versus their organisation and there was a huge difference:
Carrie Rose, CEO and Co-Founder of Rise at Seven has 51,133 followers, Rise at Seven has 15,967 followers
Ryan Reynolds (yes he is on LinkedIn) has 226,942 followers, MNTN has 32,458 followers
Richard Branson has 19,701,215 followers, Virgin has 238,425 followers.
Given that LinkedIn makes up more than 50% of all social traffic to B2B websites & blogs, and that personal pages outperform company pages by like, a MILE, perhaps we should be considering the impact of personal brand on our business no?
Now. I've used LinkedIn here to illustrate the point, but remember that not all marketing can be measured in metrics. So why consider leveraging a personal brand?
1. Attract the customers you want
If you are a company founder, chances are the company you founded has values that are aligned to your own. Quite often we start something from personal experience. As a 'company' it can be hard to communicate those values, and they can sound a little meaningless in the third person - 'XXX are delighted to share the initiative as it is important to us.'
blah blah blah. snore. 💤
Share those values via a human being, and they become distinctive. Relatable. 'I did this because it is important to ME, what do you think?'. Instantly your business has a face, it has feelings, it has purpose. Much easier for people to get on board with.
And by values I don't mean some well meaning statement you've stuck on your website or the wall above your desk. How you conduct yourself speaks volumes about how you do business. Sharing what you value, and equally what you do NOT, will naturally start to sift the wheat from the chaff in terms of the potential customers you attract - meaning the right people will start to find you.
2. Increase recognition and recall
Two very powerful tools you want in your business arsenal. You can be happily sharing your values until the cows come home but if people do not know you exist, you're going to find it tough to make sales.
If people know you exist but struggle to remember who you are or what you do, again - you're fighting a losing battle.
Particularly when a business is still young, it hasn't had chance to develop a reputation. Chances are if someone mentions the business name (you know the one you spent hours agonising over!), no-one will have heard of it, but they may have heard of you.
We're designed to remember faces (if not always recall names) but we also remember things because they are different, how they stand out, how they make us react. Marketing positioning after all is all about picking your space in the market and defining it ⬇
😊 this is what we do
😀 this is how we do it
🙄 this the alternative.
Your personal brand is the opportunity to tap into that; people will begin to build a picture of who you are, and will therefore remember you, or even better - know who you are before you approach them.
3. Build trust & confidence
Again - how you conduct yourself not only speaks volumes about how you work, it also establishes your reputation. A good personal reputation develops trust, and just as importantly gains you credibility.
Visible and memorable is good, but there is no point in only seeking visibility if you don't back it up with EVIDENCE. If the customers you are trying to attract think you're a useless wassock now is there?!
Again, this is where your personal brand can come in and save the day.
Going back to LinkedIn for a moment - even if you're not comfortable with writing posts yourself, you can comment on others' posts and demonstrate that you understand their problem, you can share the experiences of other happy customers, you can gain credibility by association. Show your experience and they will believe you/your product have the answer.
By curating your personal brand whenever your potential client comes across your presence, digital or otherwise, read your blog posts (like this one right here), dip into your socials, ask people in their network about you.
If what they find consistently shows you know what you're talking about you'll earn trust. If they feel they can trust you, they will also have confidence in you.
Marketing an individual, product, group, or organization is essentially the same process, but remember your personal brand exists, whether you like it or not!
Every interaction you have with someone is a tiny window through which your/your business can be viewed and opinions and judgements will be made.
It's going to happen, whether you decide to use it to enhance your business or not is entirely up to you!