There’s a common misconception that your company’s brand is bigger and more important than your personal brand. When you’re a top-tier company like Coke, that’s completely true.
But when you’re a small or medium-sized business, your personal brand and corporate brand are basically intertwined. What you do personally will directly affect how your business is perceived.
Here’s what Jason DeMeyers had to say on Forbes:
There’s a common misconception in business that it’s the company’s brand alone that matters. In certain areas, this is true. For example, when considering small ticket items that are consumer goods such as toothbrushes or toilet paper, the vast majority of buyers are not interested in the company’s CEO. But for smaller businesses, service oriented firms, B2B companies, and artisan B2C companies, the owner’s brand is absolutely critical.
You could benefit from a personal brand. Here’s how.
Benefits Of Personal Branding
We could go into countless case studies of times personal branding issues have wrecked a small company’s hopes, but instead, let’s focus on the positive. Here’s what you and your company get from taking charge and crafting your own branding:
- You control the message. When potential clients, employees, or even employers look for you, they’ll be more likely to find information you provided.
- You have a focus/direction. Often, knowing how you want to professionally brand yourself will lead you to naturally pursue opportunities to deepen your branding. Your expertise and authority in your field will subsequently grow.
- Your company will gain loyal customers. Remember how Steve Jobs became synonymous with Apple’s brand? The fascination with Steve led many people to become loyal lifetime customers of Apple. Strong personal branding can bring your company similar loyalty (though realistically not on the same, cultish scale as Apple).
- You won’t be limited by a single business’s goals. As Shanice Cameron writes, “If my vision was to create a huge design agency that I’d eventually sell, a business name would be the best fit. But a huge design agency just isn’t my goal,” so she used her name as her brand.
Taking charge of your personal brand simply makes sense. However, you can’t simply charge into your branding efforts without planning ahead.
Know How You’ll Brand Yourself
A lot of people make the mistake of blindly making their personal brand. The purpose of personal brands isn’t to provide a social overview of every aspect of your life. It’s to establish you as a clearly identifiable leader in your field.
Can’t decide what to focus on? Start with your goals. Make a list and see what stands out. (Jacob Share has a great article that shows how to do this.)
Do Something Worth Talking About
Another way to increase your personal brand is to do something worth talking about. The fact is, we’re hired-wired as human beings to care primarily about ourselves. Great leaders inspire us because we can see some part of ourselves in them, and we believe or hope we can achieve something like them, too.
Being part of something truly worthwhile can inspire the same hope in people learning about your personal brand and make it much more effective.
Take John Noel. His personal brand focuses on two things: being the CEO of My Assist and being a philanthropist.
You don’t get to call yourself a philanthropist without being truly committed to making the world a better place, and that’s exactly what John has done with the Make A Mark Foundation. Founded by John and his wife in 1993, Make A Mark created an entire village in Kenya that houses 1,000 orphans. He is also involved with Trees 4 Children, a cooperative charitable effort between Make A Mark and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point that utilizes forestry principles and economics in an attempt to apply business solutions to Kenya’s sustainability and substance problems.
By spending so many years working with Make A Mark Foundation, John Noel has earned the right to brand himself a philanthropist.
While your personal brand doesn’t need to be based on decades of charity work, try to do something that’s worth other people in your field talking about. Then become known for doing that thing.
Begin Branding Now
Planning and executing a personal branding strategy takes time and work. Begin setting personal branding goals and developing an action plan today.
This post was originally published at an earlier date.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock