Co-founder of The market atmosphere a digital marketing agency that helps brands enter their next growth phase.
What do LeBron James, Selena Gomez, Richard Branson and Serena Williams have in common? Excellent personal branding.
In the Harvard Business Reviewexecutive coach Harrison Monarth defines personal branding as something “much more intentional” than your reputation; it’s “how you” want people to see you” (emphasize his). And the good news is, you don’t have to be LeBron James, Selena Gomez, Richard Branson, or Serena Williams to take advantage of personal branding.
My wife and I promoted our digital marketing agency with a split of about 50-50 between personal and business content. Specifically, we’ve seen seven benefits of using personal branding to market our business.
1. Building trust and awareness
Nielsen conducted a study in 2013 and found that 60% “of global consumers” who have access to the Internet “prefer new products from a well-known brand rather than switching to a new brand”. It’s not a recent statistic, but it remains a telling one. People have always wanted to know who they’re doing business with, and that’s not going to change.
Personal branding is a great way to build trust and awareness among potential and existing customers. For example, in my industry, a lot of similar information is spread online about digital marketing strategies. You can go to a dozen digital marketers and get nearly identical general tips. But with personal brand content, you stand out because of Who you are an addition to what you bid.
By pulling back the curtains on your business, you enable people to take a look at the day-to-day running of your business. By demystifying the process, you can create the familiarity that will keep your brand top-of-mind.
2. Become more recognizable
As you build trust and awareness, you’ll also connect more with potential and existing customers.
They will see the trials and tribulations that come with running your business. Sign up Inc., AJ Agrawal, CEO of Alumnify at the time, described “how powerful it is when someone tells us a personal story related to his or her business.”
When you think about some of today’s most well-known companies like Apple and Amazon, chances are their origin story is one of the first things that come to mind. Origin stories remind us that many people who reached incredible heights didn’t start out as the best. Everyone has to start somewhere.
3. Stand apart from the crowd
It sounds contradictory, but personal branding not only makes you more recognizable, but can also help you stand out from the crowd.
One of my agency’s clients is a prime example of this duality. She sells office supplies. For the most part, people view stationery products from different companies in a similar light. However, with personal branding, this client has been able to showcase her witty personality, giving her brand a unique flavor that sets her apart. Her videos show potential and current clients that she is recognizable and that she brings an “it” factor to the table.
4. Not having to ‘sell’ so much
If people know what to expect from you, you’ll have to sell them less on your products or services.
Thanks to our personal branding efforts, when my wife and I get on the phone with potential customers, they already know us through our content; they have seen what we have to offer. They don’t often look around to compare our digital marketing services with other agencies. Instead, we’ve found that they tend to use that sales pitch more as an introductory call to get started.
5. Getting the ‘Trickle-Down’ Effect
With personal branding, you can build a stronger, longer-term foundation as a trusted, reliable company. That will help you re-up existing customers and win new ones.
Remember that Nielsen study I referenced above? If people know who you are and what you stand for, they’re more likely to turn to you when they’re ready to make that particular purchase. Think about the companies you choose for in your own life.
For example, you probably don’t need to board your dog very often, but if you do, you’re more likely to turn to the local dog boarding facility that posts behind-the-scenes videos of staff playing with the dogs they groom. That’s a brand you’ve been exposed to, and you probably think it’s safer than a competitor whose ads you’ve seen online.
6. Increase your reach
Some of the most popular videos circulating on our social media feeds today can be classified as “edutainment”. By producing personal branded content, you increase your reach on social media.
For example, like wax reported by means of the drumAs fintech continues to accelerate, financial brands are looking for ways to create deeper and more meaningful connections with consumers. So much so that edutainment “content, which blurs the lines between education and entertainment, is booming on TikTok and has helped make finance the fastest growing category on TikTok in Southeast Asia.”
I’ve seen the popularity of edutainment with our own personal branding efforts. If you put one of our personally-branded videos next to one of our business videos 80 to 90% of the time, the personalized video will perform better. My theory is that people like to learn from one video in a fun way rather than watching videos that are just for entertainment or videos that are strictly “all business”.
7. Getting More Unique Opportunities
In short, personally branded content is a way to more implicitly market your business, and it may well help you secure your business. Lake ways to market your business implicitly, such as speaking engagements and collaborations.
The personal branded content my wife and I have uploaded to our personal social media accounts has brought us speaking engagements that we might not have gotten otherwise. People see who we are as people, as a married couple and as digital marketing experts and invite us to speak at events. These speaking engagements have helped us continue to position ourselves as thought leaders in this space, creating a loop of personal branding success.
Creating personalized branded content doesn’t necessarily have to be a complicated process. In the second (and final) part of this series, I’ll give you some tips that will help you build a great personal brand.