Your company’s brand is vital to the success of your business, but did you know that your personal brand is equally as important? In fact, Forbes listed personal branding as one of the top trends for 2015. If you want to cultivate your company brand, you need to work to build personal awareness because both will work together to foster business growth.
Consider your brand to be the digital footprints you leave behind, allowing businesses and customers to determine whether or not you’re creditable as a professional. If your personal brand is less than par, your company will be perceived poorly. But, when both brand images are packaged together, you’ll yield a stronger ROI.
Business Benefits of a Personal Brand
Establishing your own brand allows you to stand out as an individual, which goes a long way to earning trust among modern audiences. With Bloomberg reporting 8 out of 10 small businesses failing within the first 18 months, your brand could be the make it or break it factor for your business.
Personal Branding expert, Jay Palter says, “It makes sense that leveraging the Personal Brand is essential because it is the source of trust and loyalty for many businesses. People do business with people they know, like, and trust”
You’ll be identified on a personal level through the reputation you’ve built, acting as the frontline to your sales process. The visibility displaying your track record will build your company’s vision, delivering a higher influence over business partners and customers. When you step out of the shadows to make your presence known, you’re more able to compete globally as a powerful business leader.
The increased personal awareness will work as a platform for communications to succeed through leadership campaigns, speaking engagements, and marketing programs. This added personal level of trust allows you to remain competitive to drive revenue to your company.
Basically, the stronger your personal brand, the stronger your company brand. Big brands like Crazy Egg and KISSMetrics are widely searched on Google due to the foundation Neil Patel created through his own personal brand. If you’re thinking of it as a popularity contest, you’re essentially right. Except, the more popular you become, the more revenue your business will generate.
Building Personal Awareness
The first step to increasing your personal awareness starts with finding your voice. This involves discovering why you are in the business you chose, and then portraying that reason out into the world. Basically, you take your passion and turn it into a competitive edge. It’s more than just displaying your resume. You need to combine your experience and credentials into a powerful outlet to get others to notice you through your specific expertise in a given industry.
Research Your Digital Impact
Whether you know it or not, you already have a digital impact. In fact, according to AVG, children as young as 2 already have a digital footprint. Therefore, you need to understand what people are already saying about you. Your online reputation goes along way as people first turn to Google, online reviews, and social media to establish first impressions. In fact, the information people find online about a person or company is now more powerful than word-of-mouth.
To discover your digital footprint perform an audit on yourself. Then, work to resolve any blemishes to promote a more positive awareness. Don’t expect to see changes overnight because building your brand takes time and ongoing commitment to generate results.
Become Easy to Find
With everyone conducting internet searches, you need to be found easily online. Secure a personal website to get your name listed on search engines. Even a simple 2 or 3 page website will be beneficial. Use the site to display your credentials, bio, resume, and any other relevant form of information. In addition, use the site as a social platform by creating your own blog. If you’re featured on any media source, be sure to include it on your website.
Associate with Strong Brands
Work to connect with strong brands and industry influencers to further establish yourself as an authority. Lets face it, you are who you associate with. So, make sure you’re associating with the right people. By connecting with industry influencers, you’ll promote your name and get it featured in highly recognizable places.
Distribute Your Message
Content marketing is a great way to show off your expertise and to get your name out to more places. Guest posting is a great option, but only when the content is valuable and featured on trusted sources.
No matter the method you use to distribute content, you need a solid content marketing strategy to ensure your content keeps your best foot forward. Only deliver high quality and relevant information that’s specific to your area of expertise. Your distribution outlet is equally as important. Only feature your content on trusted and relevant sources. By doing so, you’ll become a recognized and creditable expert that people will turn to first.
Get Chatty on Social Media
Although your content marketing is the fuel to your personal brand, your social media presence basically works as the engine. Utilize social platforms in your favor to keep your brand consistent. Create social media strategies for top sites like, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to not only distribute your content, but to chat up your followers to earn trust and loyalty. The more you network online, the more positive reputation you’ll gain.
Use LinkedIn as a Branding Tool
LinkedIn is probably one of the single most important social media tools to build your brand. Think of the site as your agent that’s offering real growth from potential opportunities. It acts as a personal billboard to promote your professional association and will act as a reference check for those researching your validation. You’re able to spotlight your expertise and let others find you as it’s a gateway to professionals around the world.
Don’t keep your personal brand limited to online. Although online marketing and brand awareness reign king, offline marketing is still viable. Step out into the real world to become a recognized member of your company to spark both business and personal growth. Engage with industry relevant individuals at conventions, speaking engagements, and networking events.
Make Authenticity Your Mission
When it comes to your personal image, you can’t put on a front. People will see right through you if you aren’t authentic. You can’t just appear to be valuable, trustworthy, and an expert in your field. You need to put action behind your words.
As Steve Tobak from Entrepreneur states, “If you do not consistently deliver the goods, you can dress up your online persona all you like– you’ll just be putting lipstick on a snake.”
If you don’t put real actions behind your brand campaign, there are many competitors who are more than happy to take your place. And, your customers will be eager to head their way.
Change Your Thinking
Throughout your entire campaign to build your personal brand, strive to add value and purpose in a compelling manner. Start thinking of yourself just as you do your company’s brand with a strategic approach to promoting the way you’re perceived.
If you make your own reputation your primary focus, you’ll appear to be fabricated and opportunistic, leading to failure. Take NBC News Anchor Brian Williams as an example. He let his personal branding get in the way of his obligations, costing him his seat on NBC Nightly News and possibly his career.
Keep your vision, your values, and your mission the core to your personal image. The rest of the pieces will fall into place to nurture the growth of your business.
“The Power of Personal Branding and Why Small Businesses Would Benefit” Business2Business
“How Strong is Your Personal Brand?” U.S. News