Personal Branding Isn't Shameless Self-Promotion
Consider the three types of branding you can develop as
a business owner: a company brand, product brand and personal brand. In today’s competitive landscape, we’ve seen how personal branding has become a vital tool for entrepreneurs to communicate value, create demand for their experience and grow their business. So why do so many people resist it?
Often, there’s an underlying fear that people will lose
their privacy and be viewed as insincere. This assumption isn’t unfounded. We’ve all come across the brazen self-promoter who bleached their teeth, over-styled their hair and shamelessly flaunted themselves in the name of branding. They’re great at making themselves the center of attention, but not much else. This misguided approach does little for developing an ability to influence; luckily, your brand never needs to be this showy veneer.
Instead, consider your brand in terms of representation; it’s nothing more than what you’re personally known for. What if you could predetermine what people say about you or your business? That’s what designing a personal brand is really about— not creating a show for the masses, but engineering a powerful reputation among your peers. I’ve identified five key principles I use to continually develop my personal brand:
1. Perfect Your Pitch: The foundation for creating a successful personal brand is being able to effectively communicate what you want both yourself and your company to be known for. This mustn’t be something like “customer service” or “integrity” because this is entirely egocentric. It’s all about you and your product. The truth is: People don’t care about you or your product; they care about themselves and their problems. Your customers care about results. When you can craft a compelling pitch about the results you and your organisation deliver, that becomes the foundation for a well-respected personal brand.
2. Constantly Publish Content: Publishing content in the form of blogs, articles, reports, etc. is about taking your business pitch and scaling it. It’s not about vanity. It’s about packaging your sales pitch into compelling and sharable content. When prospects invest time (their most precious asset) in consuming your content, they become pre-sold on the idea of spending money with your company. Having a strong content strategy shortens sales cycles and expands your reach, while allowing you to charge premium prices through increased demand.
3. Create Hot Products for Specific People: If you’re reading this, you likely already have well-performing products and services. What people sometimes forget is that products can be designed to achieve different objectives. In the same way Apple has
an ascending transaction model where they get you using iTunes, which then sells you music and movies (and then you buy an iPad, an iPhone, a Macbook, etc.), it’s the product ecosystems that make money, not the individual products. A chef without a product ecosystem is just a chef. A chef with a product ecosystem is Jamie Oliver.
4. Establish a Profile: A strong profile—both online and in the media—attracts more inbound opportunities. It can take decades
to build a reputation in an industry organically. Over and over, I’ve heard business owners say: “I’ll let my work speak for
itself.” Unfortunately, two or three years later—despite their hard work—they’re still struggling. By strategically highlighting your accomplishments through awards, appearances, Google, earned media and owned media, you can build visibility and credibility with your target audiences quickly and effectively.
5. Partner for Growth: Partnerships and joint ventures with key people and brands can give our companies leverage and enable us to become known by the people and businesses with whom we associate. When I look for businesses to collaborate with, I make sure their highest values (as well as their customer base) match closely to mine. Otherwise, it won’t be a rewarding experience for anyone involved.
Glen Carlson is an EO Sydney member and co-founder of the Key Person of Influence Business Accelerator, the world’s leading personal and business brand accelerator. Contact Glen firstname.lastname@example.org.