Personal branding for business: Benefits and caveats
Often a business is like a child. You pour every ounce of your heart and soul into raising them. You’re constantly worried about them.
You feel personal elation when they succeed and it breaks your heart when they fail. Moreover, we feel an odd combination of pride and self-consciousness when we begin to see ourselves in our businesses. If you’re in the nascent stages of building your brand, it can be difficult to determine a unique and engaging entry point.
After all, you don’t want your business to just an anonymous smudge in a busy and overcrowded marketplace. You want a brand that will resonate with people.
A brand that’s vibrant and compelling, a brand that’s synonymous with quality, reliability and reassurance. A brand that stands out from the competition and is the only name that your client base associates with your product or service.
With this in mind, it’s not uncommon for dynamic entrepreneurs to build their branding around themselves. After all, what shows the personal touch more than becoming your brand? Personal branding in this way has some clear benefits, but it also has some equally clear caveats. If you choose to be the face of your brand, however, you need to adopt a very specific approach to your branding strategy…
Personal branding can help build trust
Your relationship with customers and clients can make or break your business. Any good salesman will tell you that discerning customers don’t buy from businesses, they buy from people. You already pour so much of your heart and soul into your business and putting your face on it can be the logical progression.
It shows that you have a personal investment in your business and care not only about its success or failure but about maintaining the standards upon which your business is built. Moreover, it marks you out as an expert and authority in your field, marking you out as reliable and trustworthy.
In order to capitalize on this, you must have a collaborative and intimate tone in your content marketing. Your social media interactions, your blog posts and your videos should not only give potential customers a flavour of your personality but also offer a ‘peek behind the curtain.’ This will help to strengthen potential customers’ investment in you.
Personal branding can help you stand out
The digitally led globalized marketplace is a busy and extremely competitive environment that can cause even the most expertly run business seem like a wallflower. Every business that expects to survive needs a USP and building your brand around yourself, your knowledge and your expertise. After all, what could be more unique?
While personal branding can help your business to stand out it can also subject you as a businessperson and as a person in general to unnecessary scrutiny.
Beware the appearance of vanity
Businesses that build themselves around personal branding walk a fine line. By all means, use your image as a declaration of personal investment, but be wary of the appearance of branding.
Putting yourself too front and centre so that your face is on everything from property signage to personalized business checks can become counterproductive.
Personal branding should not preclude you from a logo, a slogan, a colour scheme or any other measures upon which successful brands are built. Your image should supplement an existing branding strategy, not supplant it.
Integrity is everything
Entrepreneurs who choose to become their brands are a little like celebrities. With the slightest crack in their PR veneer, the knives can come out for them, with disastrous consequences for their businesses.
Associating your name and image with your brand builds an extra layer of accountability for your business which is a double-edged sword. It builds trust and investment in your business, but it also sets you up for a fall if the masses see the slightest break in your integrity.
Dishonest behaviour of any sort will be extra crippling to your business’ reputation and could potentially lead to the failure of any other business you attempt to set up in your name.
If you’re going to take this step, everything you do, every transaction you make and every word you write needs to be beyond reproach. This goes not only for you but for your employees which brings us to…
You need to keep an extra close eye on your employees
Your employees are, in the eyes of customers, clients and leads, the face of your brand as much as you are. They need to be cognizant of that. Any lazy, rude or inappropriate behaviour that they exhibit throughout the course of their jobs is a slight not only on your business but on you personally. Needless to say, recruiting the right people is of paramount importance as is regular training and orientation.
With the right safeguards in place, personal branding can help your business stand out from the crowd and be a beacon of good practice in an increasingly impersonal business landscape.