A personal branding strategy has a different purpose and result than a business branding strategy. It is important to be certain that you do want to develop the personal brand.
If you are developing a business and want to sell it someday, it might be more profitable to you in the long run to focus on branding the business. If you brand yourself as your business then your business success will be heavily dependent upon your reputation.
For example if your personal brand name is Donald Trump, and your name takes a hit for something like criminal charges or allegations, then your declining personal brand may also affect your business bottom line. People who live in your condos might start to sell off or you find the market value of your condos decrease or become hard to sell. Especially if you spend all your time pandering to people who can’t afford to buy them in the first place. This is the “message to market” part of your marketing that is extremely important to pay attention to.
However, having said that, even though the majority of the masses are not his target market for high-end condo purchases, they are good for $100 ++ individual donations that has raised MILLION$ for the cause. This was a perfect “message to market” using a personal brand.
Building your brand as only personal can also restrict the potential of financial returns when the day comes that you want to sell your business. This is a prime issue with law firms and physicians private practice. This is also an issue with mom and pop businesses like “Sam & Ella’s Diner” or “Bob McDonnell’s Plumbing” or “Jeremy’s Photography”.
Of course this doesn’t mean it can’t be done. It only means the product must be able to outperform the individual for the business to be able to successfully transfer to another owner or management. Under the long list of those who have successfully started a personal brand and were able to successfully transcend it to a business brand are such well known folks like Ralph Lauren, J.Peterman, Brooks Bros., Eastman, Abercrombie & Fitch Co., Ritz-Carlton, Kellogg’s, and many more.
By focusing on developing only on your “personally” branded style of businesses, you will need a well thought out exit strategy long before you want to retire. Building and focusing your business on you can result in having your customers become dependent upon you and only associate your business performance with you.
Personal Branding Traps
The other real downside to personal branding is also the level of treatment and respect of your customers. They may become reliant on speaking only with you about your service or product. Or they may feel like they now have some sort of “special” relationship with the owner after they have purchased your product or service. It is not unusual for a customer to think that because of the personal nature of your business that they now should be treated as a friend and afforded discounts or favours.
After the previous considerations, if you do decide it is you, as the individual, you wish to brand then when branding yourself be sure to brand YOU in your personal branding strategies
For example; consider the people who make their living just on their personal reputation like Oprah, Frank Kern, Tony Robbins, Lady Gaga, Dr Mercola, Gene Simmons etc. They have built their names into financial empires. Whatever they put their name on increases in value.
If you decide you don’t want to brand yourself harmonious with your business then you can simply hide as the manager of the company or as an internet marketer, and still make a good living. No one needs to know the WHO behind different online and brick and mortar store fronts. Your customers don’t concern themselves with who is paying for the advertising that is driving traffic to a sales page if you have what they need.
If you do want to become a BRAND though, you have to find a way to
Personal Branding Strategy
“I began by acting like the person I wanted to be, and eventually I became that person.”
~ Cary Grant
To be famous you must WANT to be famous. People will recognize you, want things from you, and your ability to blend in will slowly fade away. At least among the niche crowd who selects you as their icon.
I can tell you from experience that only a few YouTube videos makes you recognizable in the grocery stores. People will see you and people will approach you and want to talk.
How to Create Your Personal Brand
Who do you want to be? Or better put, who do you want people to THINK you are?
Examine the people you want to emulate. What are the attractive qualities they have that you want to have associated with your brand. Make a list and put “I am” in front of that list.
Make the changes to become that person. Buy the clothes that person will wear and wear them. Even if all you can afford is one outfit – WEAR IT! Cut your hair, eat the foods, live in the place you will live (even if only in your mind if that is all you can afford to start.)
However, some Name Brands have taken a hit and survived like Tiger Woods, Mike Tyson, Hugh Grant, Mel Gibson. Others have fallen from grace and then rose victoriously from the ashes like Miley Cyrus, Martha Stewart, and Lindsay Lohan.
Your fans can be quite forgiving especially if your reputation was damaged by a “human” element also endured by your followers. Like drug use, depression, or blindly following bad advice from a lover.
Becoming the authority or celebrity of your niche means people should be able to identify with you. People will take your word on faith, and people will buy what you tell them to buy. It is a position of trust you need to be careful not to abuse. Celebrities have been sued for using their influence to peddle “snake oil” type products.
When branding yourself you can take this time show off your personal skills. This will allow you to let people know who you are and what you are capable of. Make it apparent what you are an expert in so they have a reason to call on your product or service. You can even brag a little by making public announcements of your accomplishments.
“We sold $5 Million of these and gave $4 Million to charity!” Be sure to follow up any public announcements with the message of how it was solelyyour expertise that allowed all that good stuff to happen.
By taking the time to purposefully brand your name with expert accomplishments you could enjoy being able to
In this manner people will start to see you as a celebrity in your own trade and want you to attend to their needs. If they see in the paper that;
“Bob Johnson of Bob Johnson’s Plumbing has sponsored the Towns little league team now called ‘Bob Johnson’s Plumbing Maple Valley Little League’ and will give everyone in town a free Radon Gas inspection if we win the tournament this year. Come out and cheer this Saturday when “Bob Johnson’s Plumbing Maple Valley Little League” takes on the “Washington Wild Cats Little League”.
By sponsoring a team in this way, AND offering a reward if they make it and win the final League game, not only can you get more people out every game but this gives you FREE advertising for EVERY game because the papers will usually print community events for free!
ADDITIONAL INCOME IDEA ALERT: Just as an aside, when you do brand yourself, you can
Top 5 Personal Branding Tips
1. Be Everywhere!
Make sure you take the time to set up a profile on every digital and analogue location you can think of that is relevant or related to your trade. Social media sites and websites are super important. You can also publish books, have podcasts, produce helpful videos, and be sure to engage those who want to interact with you!
When you start setting up profiles people may want to reach out to you. Take the time to communicate with these people. When you post something on Facebook and people comment – acknowledge their comment and respond. If you do this then others will want to communicate with you too. This will help to build your brand and following. People will feel important if you take the time to acknowledge them. If you don’t – you lose a potential customer.
2. Be Helpful.
If you are promoting yourself to have a particular expertise in something. Give away some of it. A free inspection, a free consultation, a free t-shirt. All these “freebies” can work as great lead generation ideas that you can then use to followup with these potential clients and build out your business.
3. Be Newsworthy
Use your skills to help people in a way that gets you press coverage. As indicated above the local newspapers often give away free space in their paper if it is community related.
You can also take advantage of the fact that every time a paper is published they are under the wire to produce a minimum quantity of print. Often times if you write the press piece yourself and send it in, the circular will use it just to ensure they have an empty space filled. This is a good spot to try and slip in an advertorial style promotion too. You might just be able to get away with a few of these.
4. Be Loud and Be Different
Trying to be loud isn’t necessary for personal branding. Being your true self can be loveable too. Presenting yourself as a loud personality isn’t a predictable form of attention getting and you could just offend people. It could also just be lost in the crowd of others who are trying to be loud too.
To rise above the din you can try and be outrageously loud. Loud doesn’t have to mean sound either. Loud can be the way you dress, perform, and present yourself. People like Lady Gaga, who took a page from Madonna, when she created her brand.
Other notable loud personal brands include Prince, Liberace, Elton John, Bill Glazier, and Phyllis Diller.
This “loud” tactic is commonly adopted by used car sales personalities and mattress / home appliance sales personalities. The important theme to note here is the word “personality” as this is what you will be creating for your personal brand.
Many of the people who have made themselves a notable brand are performers. Performers then became celebrates. Study them and decide how you will become a performer in your niche.
5. Be a Professional.
When you become a celebrity you are going to be watched. Every time you leave you home remember to put your best forward. All the time no matter what.
A common thread of the top celebrities is they are professional, courteous and seemingly kind.
It is true that some people can rise to fame who are not particularly mature or professional. With the rare exceptions like Justin Bieber, the majority of people who don’t project professionalism and cater to moral noms, their flame eventually will flicker and wane within a short time.
Andrew Dice Clay may have been a shocking stage personality, and built his brand on that, but eventually people tire of it. Even the Shock Jocks that rose to fame like Howard Stern have curtailed their offensive image and were able remain on top.
The majority that fulfilled all the social demands required to establish their personal brands are still with us.
Even those who have passed on. 🙁
It has been commonly said that it takes 15 years to become an overnight success. The internet has been able to cut this time down significantly. It takes very little effort sometimes to get your 15 minutes of fame. But staying there? That is a different struggle.