The days of the faceless corporation are over. Fact. More than ever before business leaders and visionaries need to be seen and, more crucially, heard.
Why? Because it will help…
- Bring dynamism to your vision
- Add meaning to your mission
- Make your values believable
- All of which will galvanise people to subscribe to your cause
Anyone who engages with your brand feels like they’re getting the real deal. An actual human story conveyed through a powerful platform to help grow your business.
People buy people. Fact. Beyond the cliché is this… people buy stories they believe in. And they love to follow them. It’s why the current buzz word on the block is ‘authenticity’. We all want something real we can believe from and someone real we can believe in.
IBM call this Brand Belonging and they’ve measured its business impact to prove that increasing Brand Belonging can grow revenue and increase market share better and faster. How is this possible? We live in a world where too much is superficial and temporary. We feel like we need to question what is actually true. Even on the news.
“It’s important to build a personal brand because it’s the only thing you’re going to have. Your reputation online, and in the new business world, is pretty much the game, so you’ve got to be a good person. You can’t hide anything, and more importantly, you’ve got to be out there at some level.”–Gary Vaynerchuk
We long for deeper connections
Have you ever tried to connect with a faceless company? You might come across a brilliant vision statement or a carefully crafted value set on their website, but the words mean little unless you believe there’s a human story behind them. That’s why we get so excited when inspiring ideas are presented by the founder, with passion, power and conviction. Think Steve Jobs and his keynotes. Think Simon Sinek and his thought leadership. We want to listen. We want to hear more. Sometimes we make notes. And, if it really resonates with us then we spread the word. This is why TED Talks are so popular.
Why hide your personal power behind a company name? Why bury your ingenious ideas in an About Us page? Your audience wants more.
What’s really exciting is that it’s never been easier to find a relevant channel to broadcast your message. It’s never been easier to access your audience and light up their world!
And it doesn’t need to cost a penny.
Everyone who wants to be anyone should take time to develop their personal brand
If you’re working for someone else then this quote says it all…
“Brand yourself for the career you want, not the job you have.”-Dan Schawbel
But if you’re running your own business it’s even more essential
Yes, it’s still hugely important to put effort into creating your company image. However, getting your own message out there as the Founder has many additional benefits.
Before you build your sales team or invest in marketing, the majority of your business will likely come from your existing contacts, from networking and word of mouth. It stands to reason that you need a powerful and memorable personal brand to maximise these opportunities.
Equally, when you want to attract the right people to join your team… people who align with your values and want to become part of your success story. People who buy into you as a leader. That’s when personal branding comes into its own as a driver of growth.
“All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”-Tom Peters in Fast Company
What if you’re building a business to sell?
Should you avoid making yourself visible as the Founder? Absolutely not. Regardless of your company name, it’s your vision, personality and ideas that will make your business unique.
If you’re building your business purely to sell then you probably have a shorter, more defined timeline in mind. You’ll need even more rocket fuel to get it off the ground, and guess where that’s going to come from?
Your personal brand. You’ll fire-up people to climb on board… clients, team, partners and eventually a buyer. An anonymous, impersonal, façade is never going to get you there fast enough.
Okay, you get it and you’re up for it, so where do you start?
Here are some suggestions to ignite your personal brand…
- Take the time to understand what impact you want to have in the world, then create your brave, powerful and compelling vision statement.
- What do you do every day that solves people’s problems? This becomes your mission.
- Compile a list of your deepest core values , no more than 7, and then tell people why they’re important to you.
- Buy your personal domain.
- Create a simple logotype of your name.
- Brand your email signature.
- Include your story on your company ‘About Us’ page, and of course on your own personal website.
- Be completely consistent in your communications. Both visually – use the same fonts, colours and image styles. And verbally – be consistent in the language you use and your tone of voice.
- Share your insights, be visible on social media. Interact- a lot.
- Write articles. Take pictures. Record videos. And broadcast them.
- Write things in your own words first. Even if you use a copywriter to help with editing. Let your voice, passion and personality shine through.
- Invest in a professional photograph that captures your personality.
- Dress the part – let your wardrobe be another channel to express your brand.
- Public speaking – be brave, bite the bullet and embrace it!
- And finally… Apply for that TED Talk! 😉
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”–George Bernhard Shaw