What Is a Personal Brand, and Why Do You Need One?
According to a study by the BRANDfog agency, 77% of people will prefer to buy something from a company where the owner is the one managing the social networks. In a survey by the Rambler&Co media holding company, 46% of respondents defined a person's image as the sum of their deeds and actions forming their personal brand.
Personal branding is not just about fame; it doesn't equal your number of Instagram followers, even if you have hundreds of thousands of them. In short, a personal brand is the public image of an expert in a particular niche. It is a recognizable, widely-known name of someone who has created their own success. At our agency, we like to define personal brand as what people say about you when you leave the room.
On top of that, it also gives you added value in the labor market. A personal brand is a must-have in highly competitive fields. For company owners, it becomes a part of their company image. A strong and well-designed personal brand can significantly increase the competitiveness of your business projects.
In this article you will find:
A short test that will help you determine whether or not you need a personal brand
A guide on how to get started with personal branding
Checklists for creating and promoting your personal brand
Do You Need a Personal Brand?
Before you start building your personal branding strategy, answer the following questions honestly:
Are you a professional or an expert in your field? Can you prove it?
What is your goal? Why do you need a strong personal brand?
You can start the preparatory work if you have a goal and know how you can prove your qualifications. Don't try to build a personal brand out of vanity or "because everyone else has one."
Checklist for preparatory work with a personal brand:
Flesh out your expert image; make a list of your strengths and unique competencies. This will make it easier to identify potential growth points and the necessary resources.
Set an end goal for your personal brand promotion.
Make a list of criteria you will use to assess the result of the campaign.
Determine whether you have enough energy and time to work on your personal brand. If you realize that you're not yet ready to allocate a lot of resources to personal branding, consider hiring a contractor to help you.
3 Steps to Building a Personal Brand
All work on building and promoting a personal brand can roughly be divided into three steps: forming the brand core, packaging the content, and advertising. A personal brand owner can usually complete the first two steps themselves while hiring a separate specialist to promote the brand.
A personal brand consists of two main elements: reputation and reach. Reputation is the general opinion about your personal and professional qualities, strengths, and weaknesses. However, reputation alone isn't enough. You may have an excellent reputation but be completely unknown to everyone except a small number of your colleagues.
When we talk about reach, we primarily mean your popularity among your target audience, i.e. your potential customers. You don't need to be famous like Madonna or Lady Gaga and have mega-coverage on social networks to build a successful personal brand.
To effectively promote your brand, you need both reputation and reach.
Identify the core of your personal brand: your unique qualities and characteristics. Use them to determine what resources you have to promote your personal brand. When developing your personal brand, focus on the traits and qualities that will help you to achieve your company's business goals and plan your growth strategy accordingly.
Packaging is everything that characterizes an expert from the outside: for example, style of dress, appearance, demeanor, communication style, brand identity, etc. All packaging elements must work together to help you achieve your business goals. They shouldn't contradict your personality.
Personal brand promotion is a strategic plan based on interactions with your target audience. These mainly include mass media publications, speeches at events (as an invited expert), and attending events as a listener with active networking while keeping active in social networks and expert communities.
During this step, we recommend that you:
- Manage social networks, publish materials in the media, and provide expert commentary;
- Speak at events, hold webinars, and (optionally) act as a lecturer for themed online courses.
All personal brand promotion activities should be included in your general strategic content plan, which should list your main advertising channels, content types and formats, performance criteria, and checkpoints. It should also contain the approximate budgets for such works. Personal brand owners usually outsource this block of activities to a dedicated specialist.
Checklist for promoting a personal brand:
You have identified your goals and objectives and clearly understand why you need a personal brand.
Conduct an audit of the personal brand owner's resources and form its core.
Use your strengths to create a unified visual environment for your personal brand, i.e. create its packaging.
Create a strategic promotion plan together with a specialist.
Be prepared to devote your time and other resources to working on your personal brand.
Personal brand promotion is usually outsourced to specialists as it requires considerable expertise. However, there are exceptions.
Alexander Likhtman, the founder of the ITCOMMS agency, explains when it is best not to outsource your personal brand.
1. Don't hire a contractor to promote your personal brand if you are a good writer and have no problem managing your social networks. No copywriter, even a very good one, can perfectly emulate the style of the writer and create a text the author will like.
2. It's a bad idea to hire a contractor if the customer is a control freak with heightened anxiety. Not everyone is ready to give other people access to their accounts, as it requires a certain amount of courage or chill.
3. Don't outsource personal brand services to a contractor who immediately tells you what you need to do without conducting proper research, getting to the bottom of things, and creating a matrix and a content funnel.
In all other cases, you can and should outsource personal brand promotion to a contractor. The image you create for yourself must match your character. If it's a 100% fake personality that has nothing to do with you, people simply won't believe you. There is no need to demonstrate or show off the classic attributes of success if you don't like them. However, that doesn't mean you don't need good visuals.
Alexander Likhtman about personal brand:
The key is to make them feel natural, which is exactly where you'll need experienced professionals who will offer you the photo, video, and social network account concepts that match your personality type.