Brand is something we used to talk about all the time. Though it may not dominate conversations anymore, its importance has never diminished. But the brand conversation has evolved. It’s grown from the way your company is perceived to the way you, the owner, are perceived. In an era of personalization, you also need to create a personal brand.
So how is a personal brand different from your business brand?
According to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” With the advent of social sites, personal branding has become a fundamental part of the landscape. A personal brand is how you present yourself to the world. Separate from your company brand, it should also complement it.
Oprah may be the goddess of personal branding
Oprah’s continually building equity in her brand, estimated at $2.5 billion. She has always stuck to her core competency: Challenging her millions of viewers to live the best lives possible by understanding their potential. By being true to herself, Oprah has inspired millions to be their best selves. And really, how can you not love Oprah?
Think of Richard Branson: Smart, rich and wildly successful–a great personal brand
Richard Branson is one of the most visible, successful and well-known men of our era. He has stayed true to his core values, seeking adventure and taking some big-time risks. By being himself, he has often done exactly what other business leaders cautioned against. He’s not afraid of crazy publicity stunts like dressing as a flight attendant for a competing airline. His unorthodox style and commitment to his passions have helped him create a powerful personal brand. “Too many companies want their brands to reflect some idealized, perfected image of themselves. As a consequence, their brands acquire no texture, no character and no public trust.” You have to hand it to Branson–this formula has worked well for him!
Humanizing your brand builds trust
Particularly for small businesses, putting a real, human face to a brand name helps develop the loyalty and trust that are fundamental to building relationships. Think about your website, specifically your Aboutpage. Does it tell a story about you? This is where we go to find out about the people with whom we’re going to be meeting, talking or potentially working. We’re looking for something special; something personal that elevates the person we’re going to meet. We’re also seeking commonality–shared interests and/or passions that will help us feel connected—it could be anything–sports, gardening, biking, hiking, travel, schools, our kids’ activities or our pets.
It’s not enough anymore to create a company brand
Our social channels have forever changed the landscape. With phones as our constant companions, people are now sharing their lives online. For many, it’s way too much of their lives. There is a need to constantly be proving that we lead impossibly busy, fascinating lives. Think about the information you’re sharing across your social channels. Your online narrative should be consistent with how you want people to think of you.