First of all, what exactly is personal branding?  How is it different from regular branding, and why is it a growing trend in today’s marketing world?  

Personal branding is the practice of marketing yourself as a brand.  Unlike traditional branding, it requires authenticity and transparency to gain trust in prospective clients or customers.  The millennial generation is harder to market to because they are skeptical of long-established brands, do research and choose where to spend their money based on how companies align with their values.  

In today’s world of interconnectivity and easy methods of instant research, it is almost impossible to avoid in some capacity, and companies to some extinct, also rely on personal marketing to find new employees or freelance.   

To hire new employees, a business now uses the online networking tools of LinkedIn, background check services, and Facebook to check out prospective employees.  In many ways, how you conduct yourself online can be seen as the future of personal branding.  

It is the also best method of marketing used by solo entrepreneurs, or small businesses or companies run by a single person or a few individuals. Often, these are professions that provide a service rather than a product, such as writers, therapists, coaches, artists, and other professionals that operate alone.  It can also be used for small organizations or businesses that share common values.  

There are many benefits to personal branding, and creating a personal brand can give you an advantage in your industry in the following ways.  

Five Ways that Personal Branding can Give you an Advantage:

  1. Makes you stand out and be memorable.  In a sea full of competitors, it can be hard to distinguish yourself from the rest, especially if you provide similar services. A personal brand can set you apart from your competition.    
  2. Shares your mission or story.  When people choose to buy a product or service, they often buy based on emotions and how they feel you will help with their issues.  A personal brand can help communicate your mission or why you do what you do, which is better emphasized by a personal touch.
  3. Helps you to find your ideal clients or customers.  By doing #2, you ensure that you get clients or customers that share similar values, and who fits your product or service the best.         
  4. Shows how you are established and builds or engages trust.  Today, anyone can make a website for free and create basic logos.  Companies with a more polished personal brand look like organizations that have been established for a longer period rather than those just getting started.  In addition to creating a better-established image, you can also engage trust with your audience by showing your authentic self.  
  5. Could build a legacy.  For small business firms, you can create a legacy that lasts until either selling the business or passing the business to your family.  For individuals, an established blog built on a personal brand can be converted into books that can be sold to maintain a lifestyle after retirement.       

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What does personal branding require?

Personal branding requires authenticity and transparency.  

Authenticity requires that you ‘get real’ with your clients or customers.  You don’t wear a mask or pretend to be someone you are not, and it is certainly a practice and lifestyle to not only show and be you who are but promote it too. This is where transparency comes into play.  Transparency is the willingness to let the public see the real you.  

Not all professionals can practice full authenticity and transparency as well.  Depending on the trade or service, a professional image must be maintained to gain trust for rendered services.   Personal branding does not have to embody all of your authentic self as well, but cue in enough to win the kind of clients or customers you want to work with.  

For example, think about Elle Woods from Legally Blond.  Her authentic self is very bubbly and seemingly ditzy.  However, during the most critical moments of her case, she still has to tone down her authentic self and put up a front of professionalism to win cases.  For certain jobs, a strong front is what is needed to allow these professions to thrive.  While she doesn’t have to hide her pink and wonderful personality completely, she does have to display confidence and assurance in her profession as a lawyer.  The same must be applied when working on your personal brand.

To do the best practices of personal branding, you have to be able to show the real you, and that can be a lot harder to do in public than wearing a facade.  If you feel like you would have a hard time showing your real face, then this type of marketing may not be the best form for you.  

If you would like to know more about personal branding, and how it would benefit you, contact me today.