Personal branding is the practice of marketing people and their careers as brands, and the process of developing and maintaining a good reputation and positive impression of an individual, as opposed to a business or organisation.
These days, your reputation can be your strongest asset or your biggest liability. Successful marketing is now executed by savvy business owners or employees, and with a much more positive effect than when implemented by a brand itself.
This is where personal branding becomes invaluable.
In a world where we are constantly bombarded with advertising, and with every other brand trying to convince us that their product is the best out there, people are less trusting (and have a shorter attention span) than ever.
Be honest, when was the last time you saw an advert and thought to yourself, ‘that’s the *insert miscellaneous product/service here* for me!’ and then actually went on to purchase it? We’re betting not recently. Conversely, if you’re anything like us, an over-zealous advert is more likely to have the opposite effect.
In the digital age, word-of-mouth recommendations are worth their weight in gold, but that doesn’t mean you need to exponentially expand your social circle overnight. In fact, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from others, even people they don’t know, over branded content.
If you want to be seen as a knowledgeable, trustworthy, expert in your field, positive personal branding is essential.
It’s not about bragging about how great you are, or about everything you’ve achieved, but more about how your knowledge in a specific area can help solve a problem for your target audience. At its core, it’s about building trust.
The primary focus of a personal branding agency is to help create, develop, maintain, and improve your personal brand. In simplest terms, your reputation.
Successful personal branding can influence public perception of someone by positioning them as an authority in their industry, elevating their credibility and essentially making them stand out from the crowd.
A personal branding agency will work with you to project (and protect) your personal brand and its values to the world and ensure that your target audience knows who you are, what you stand for, and why it’s worth choosing you and your services over your competitors.
A personal branding agency will support you by helping you develop an understanding of your personal brand while helping you to clarify your goals and objectives, and how to communicate these in the right way to your target audience.
Developing a personal brand in the digital age requires a lot of time and a well-planned strategy. If you’re serious about growing your reputation in a positive and impactful way, it’s critical to find an agency that will help you do it right.
Here are five ways in which you can benefit from using a personal branding agency:
A personal branding agency will develop a strategy that will help you build your personal brand both online and offline. This can be using a range of social media to build your online presence, a website, blog or digital portfolio, and even advice on how to present yourself during networking events and on social media.
When building your reputation, details matter. A specialist agency can create polished and consistent branding that reflects your personality and expertise across all platforms while knowing where best to place this content to reach your target audience.
Whether they’re creating from scratch or refreshing an already existing personal brand, an experienced agency can give valuable, unbiased second opinions on your image and reputation...good or bad. Look, as much as we’d all like to believe what our mum says, sometimes you’ve got to listen to a more neutral party. A good agency can truly look at your personal brand from the outside and help you identify and capitalise on your strengths, and how to improve on your weaknesses.
Any agency worth talking to will know personality is key. A clear and well executed personal brand strategy pushes your personality to the forefront – as it is the simplest and most effective way to convey your message. A branding agency can advise on tone of voice, authenticity and how best to build relationships within your industry.
For example, if you’re big on a humorous and friendly approach this will shine through and attract people who prefer a more down-to-earth and easy-going business relationship. A stylish website alone doesn’t build trust. Getting to know the person who is offering the service does.
According to a survey, 66% of consumers think transparency is one of the most attractive qualities in a brand. This includes what the brand’s owner and employees care about outside of garnering business and improving profit margins.
Having a successful personal brand needn’t mean you share every aspect of your life online. Far from it. An oversaturation of potentially irrelevant content doesn’t attract anyone. In a crowded space like social media, the right content and outreach strategy are key to connecting with your audience, investors, and the press. Branding experts will be able to share the secrets of what type of content is best, where is the most effective place to share it, and when. The goal is to create and curate content that promotes you as a thought leader within your industry.
It might feel a little overconfident, but almost anyone can become an expert in their industry. It may feel second nature to you now, but your personal career experiences and insights can help you contribute to ongoing industry conversations and even identify new trends. A good personal branding agency can help you leverage your expertise by helping you figure out your most marketable skills and how to integrate them into your personal brand.
Have you ever been on a website infused with so much personality that you feel like you know, or even want to be mates with, the brand’s owner? That’s successful personal branding.
Almost every market is saturated with options for consumers, and a human touch, be it a memorable anecdote, an honest insight, or even just an amusing picture can make all the difference when someone is deciding where to lay their trust.
Consumers increasingly seek authentic and personalised experiences from today’s brands, with 88% saying authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support, and 46% saying they’d be prepared to spend more money if buying from a brand name they trust. This is where personal branding can be advantageous for any brand of any size.
In the simplest terms. If people like you, and the persona you’re putting out into the world, they’ll be more likely to trust and purchase whatever it is you’re selling.
An authentic and well-thought-out personal branding strategy can help humanise any company, which can only have positive results.
Be genuine: Anyone can have a personal brand, meaning it must be tough to find a unique approach, right? Wrong. Without sounding like a self-help guru, there really is only one you. You are entirely unique, let that shine through in your content and interactions, and always aim to be your authentic self.
Stay focused: This is not an area to try and be a Jack of all trades. You cannot be everything to everyone. Keep a clear goal and message in mind, and only worry about what your target demographic is saying about you and your brand.
Stay consistent: Being consistent is very similar to having a narrow focus—it’s much easier to get recognized positively for one topic if you consistently create content and a personable brand voice around it.
Create a positive impact: Always remember that you are the brand, not your job, your title, your company, or any project that you might be involved with. Take a step back and think hard about the footprint you are leaving at any time and the impact it has on your personal brand. Pay it forward, help others where you can and of course, treat others as you would like to be treated – this behaviour will all pay off in the long run.
Become a storyteller: People connect with interesting stories and real-life emotions. It is also easier to connect with someone with a genuine sense of self and passion for what they’re discussing. Without a personal touch, your brand will be dead in the water. One of the best ways to tell a story and connect on a personal level with your audience is through blog posts, videos or imagery. Always have your phone ready!
Let others tell your story: People love to talk, and you shouldn’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth; it is what gives personalised credibility, and it can work wonders for your personal brand.
Be prepared to fail: Sounds fun doesn’t it? Really though, nothing worth having ever came easy. The very best branding will always come from repeated trial, and error, mistakes and failures — not from instant perfection. Failure is tough, and all of us generally want to avoid it. However, to have a personal brand that rises above the rest, you need to get knocked down a few times along the way.
Deliver insights, not information: Information can be simply sharing content from others, your audience can find this anywhere. Insights are your own takes and opinions on what is going on in your industry and the world. You’re adding your unique view, formed by your own life experiences. It’s this kind of unique content that will keep people coming back for more.
Personal branding is most successful when backed by a strong, clear, and purposeful business strategy. One cannot succeed without the other and integrating the two can be a powerful branding combination.
No matter who you are, and where you are in your career, anyone can benefit from working on their personal branding. Selling yourself and your business through authenticity and good intentions immediately shows those who are interested in all that you have to offer, in a personable and memorable way.
Creating a personal brand is a big undertaking, that constantly evolves and changes. There are no hard-set rules, but these guidelines will give you an idea of the first steps. Relatability, consistency, and confidence combined with the expertise of a personal branding agency can do untold good in the growth of any brand or business and will help you become a name worth knowing in your industry.