Building a personal brand can drive incredible results for your business. But to make it successful, you need to be able to distinguish you from your company.Elon Musk’s personal brand has more followers than all three of his company's combined. People are more interested in following his life, rather than his company for a reason - “People connect with people,” says Kevin Stimpson. More than ever, it’s crucial that founders and CEOs create personal brands to capitalize on exposure, but more importantly, build deeper relationships on an H2H (human to human) level.
The Benefits of Building a Personal Brand Outside Your Company
Personal branding is exploding because it’s more powerful than corporate branding. People appreciate doing business with other people. People like seeing the face behind the company. People like the human-ness that personal brands embody. Moreover, personal brands are aspirational. For instance, when your audience sees you creating the magic behind your life and brand, they feel:
- Like they can relate to you
- Connected to you
- Inspired by you
Combined, both create a stronger bond and loyalty. People say stuff like:
- "Esther Perel is THE expert on relationships. You have to read her book."
- "Check out Gary Vee's podcast. He knows anyone and everything related to influencer marketing."
- "Sophia Amoruso is the most relatable CEO out there.”
- “Richard Branson is epic. Virgin must be incredible to work for.”
Versus “Oh, I used that brand. It was a good experience.” See the difference? Plus, personal brands can give you the freedom to create a business, be successful, and walk away with the opportunity to create something new if that’s what you need. In other words, if your business is not tied with your name, then your success is not solely related to the company. Instead, it’s reflected in your amalgam of passions, interests, and achievements of your entire life in your personal brand. When done correctly, a personal brand can have immense benefits for you and your business:
- Drive traffic and publicity to your business
- Puts a face to your company
- Expands opportunities to explore and innovate outside of your current ventures
Personal brands create deep personal connections that we all crave in the digital age. Thus, more than ever, it’s essential to be transparent and real.
The Golden Rules of Building a Personal Brand
There are a few best practices to keep in mind to create a super successful personal brand:
1. Be Personal
It sounds like a no brainer, but you have to be personal in your personal brand. Share your background and lifestyle with your audience. Share the ups and downs, the crappy moments, and the celebratory ones. Talk in your normal voice. Take raw footage without all the photoshopping and edits. In other words, audiences are becoming savvier, and they want to follow people who are authentic and relatable. It’s imperative to let go of the corporate persona and jargon and be real with your audience.
2. Relevance + Value = Success
A successful personal brand perfectly balances:
- Relevance: How pertinent is your message to your audience and business?
- Value: How does your message elevate your audience and business?
When you find a messaging strategy that brings all your value to the table, and it’s relevant to your audience’s and business’s unique needs, then you’ll create a personal brand that’s engaging, inspirational, and influential.
5 Steps to Creating a Successful Personal Brand
Step 1: Brand Your Personal Brand
If you really want to distinguish your personal brand with a degree of freedom in your business, then you must know where one starts and the other ends. Remember, your brand is just one facet of you. When you zoom out of your life’s bigger picture, you’ll see a wide variety of interests, expertise, and experiences that can differentiate your personal brand from your business. Of course, your business is your baby, and like any proud parent, share the big, exciting, and memorable moments. Just don’t let your business be the whole focus of your personal brand. You can start by doing these three things:
- Create a logo of your name
- Pick brand aesthetics like colors and fonts
- Outline your messaging strategy
For more in-depth details on branding, check out our how-to on how to create a set of brand guidelines.
Step 2: Pick a Social Media Platform that Works for You
To create a consistent messaging strategy, you must pick and dedicate yourself to a platform your audience uses. We recommend starting on one platform and getting consistent and comfortable in one space before you dive into another. Some of the best influencers started on one platform, grew their audience, and honed their niche before expanding. One platform is a lighter lift and will feel less overwhelming when it’s time to create.Related: Our Favorite 5 Companies With a Strong Social Game However, if you’re going to use multiple platforms, remember it’s hard to create content that’s individualized for each platform. Make sure your content strategy accounts for material that can adapt to video, blogs, and images.Tip: If you’re not sure what social media platform will work for you, then start stockpiling a library of content. You can always sift, refine, and publish later when you have clarity on what kind of content you enjoy making.
Step 3: Map Out Your Content Strategy
Figure out what you want to talk about and why. Ideally, you need to understand your audience, your message, and which platforms you will distribute to and cross-promote. You also need to refine your content creation process so you can avoid these content mistakes. Ask yourself questions like:
- How will I create content?
- Where will my content live?
- How will I organize my content?
- What is the process from ideation to distribution?
- What’s the timeline?
- Who’s responsible and accountable for creating content?
With a solid strategy, you can create and distribute way ahead of the game. That way, you’re not stressed and scrambling in the 11th hour before your post goes live.
Step 4: Get Offline and Network IRL
While you can be building a personal brand significantly through digital means, IRL connections and word-of-mouth still go a long way. People will connect with your voice and message more than your photos on your website. Thus, when you get offline and let your audience hear you spread your message in person, then your brand starts to become contagious. Thus, you must get off the computer and into real life. Show up places and start networking. Speak at events, join groups, host parties, do whatever you need to do to share your personal brand, and spread your message in the real world. Plus, it’ll allow you to meet your audience face-to-face and learn what kind of content would benefit them instead of always trying to analyze and figure it out behind a screen. People will come up to you and say things like, “Your story really hit home with me.” Not only is it immensely fulfilling, but the feedback will let you understand what your audience wants way better than online analysis would.
Step 5: Write a Book
By the time you’ve done steps one through four, you have experience in the creation process. You understand what it’s like to create and manage a successful personal brand. Books are expensive to develop and expensive to market. It’s a huge project to dive into, but at this point, you know who you are and what it takes. Your audience is engaged and growing. You’re ready to write a book. A book gives you credibility and authority. It’s an opportunity for you to expand your audience to new platforms, guest posts, and speaking events. It’s an experience not many corporate brands have, but personal brands are uniquely qualified to deliver. With your blog and book in hand, you’ll have a sound system that will attract and convert leads into more buyers for your business. Related: Why Authors Promote Their Business With Content Marketing
The Power of Personal Branding
A powerful personal brand is a win-win situation. It benefits you and benefits your company. When people know you as the face of your brand but can also distinguish you as a living, breathing person connected to but separate from your brand, then you’ve hit gold. We all know Elon Musk for Tesla and SpaceX, but boiled down they’re all Elon Musk. His personal brand is, “I’m a visionary, and here are all the ways I’m going to change the world.”Any competitor can create a product or service similar to your company. But nobody can come in and try to mimic a personal brand. Nobody can be you. So how will you use your unique voice and message to stand out from the crowd, explore new markets, embrace your vision, and make your impact on the world? If you want to dive deeper into personal branding, check out the following article:
And if you’re ready to take the lead, then schedule a consultation and ask how we can help you in building a personal brand that builds your authority and puts you on a measurable path to ROI.
♦Discover Your Voice♦♦Elevate Your Authority♦
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