By Glen Carlson, an EO Sydney member and managing director of Entrevo Pty, LTD.
Consider there are three distinct types of brands you can develop; a business brand like IBM, a product brand like iPhone and a personal brand like Jamie Oliver. Personal branding is now a vital tool for entrepreneurs and small business owners to communicate value, create demand for their expertise and ultimately grow their business. So why do so many people resist it? There’s an underlying fear amongst struggling business owners and entrepreneurs that building a personal brand results in a loss of privacy, being seen as showy or even arrogant.
Unfortunately, they’re missing out on a huge opportunity to escape the struggle and build a thriving business because of a simple but important misunderstanding of what building a personal brand is really all about.
We’ve all come across that shameless self-promoter who bleached his teeth, slicked back his hair and is standing next to a Ferrari in all of his profile photo’s in the name of ‘branding’. He’s the guy who’s great at making himself the centre of attention, but often not much else. It’s both misguided and cringe-worthy and does little for developing his ability to influence.
Your brand never needs to be a showy veneer.
Instead consider your personal brand in terms of your reputation; it’s nothing more than what you’re personally known for.
Imagine the following scenario: a handful of key players in your industry get together for an event. Your name comes up in conversation. What if you could pre-determine what they say about you?
That’s what designing a personal brand is really all about. Not creating a show for the masses, but engineering a powerful reputation amongst the key people of influence in your field.
For example, let’s say you’re a new player in the accounting industry. If that was the case, you might like the heavy hitters in that field talking to each other about how they’ve heard you’ve “exploded onto the scene”. Even better if the word going around is that you have a strong track record for consistently bringing in projects ‘on time and under budget’. Would those kind of conversations help your business? Of course they would.
You don’t need to give up your privacy to be known in the right circles for delivering remarkable results for your clients.
Personal branding needn’t be about sharing your personal life at all, but simply sharing your expertise, your value you can deliver.
The problem is that it can take decades to build a reputation in your industry organically. Over and over I hear business owners say, “I’ll just let my good work speak for itself”. Unfortunately two or three years later – despite their consistent good, hard, work—they’re still struggling.
In today’s hyper competitive market, the stark reality is that being good at what you do simply isn’t enough.
You need to be a person of influence in your industry. These key people of influence develop strong personal brands by focusing on five key tasks.
Your personal brand reputation, and therefore your ability to influence, ultimately stems from the development of the principles. Used correctly, they will become the bedrock of a powerful and congruent personal brand.
The Key Principles:
Perfect your pitch: perfecting your pitch gives you the power to clearly articulate your value and become known for the right core message you want conveyed.
Publish your content: publishing your thoughts in blogs or articles (like this one) gives you instant credibility and authority, you become known for (and, fingers crossed, respected) for your ideas.
Create hot products: When you create great products you become known for your ability to solve specific problems for a specific niche.
Establish a strong profile: both online and in the media—attracts more inbound opportunity.
Partner for growth: partnerships and joint ventures with key people and brands not only give you leverage for growth, but enables you to become known by the people and businesses you associate with.
Instead of thinking about your brand in terms of image or show, instead focus on developing yourself in these four areas.