The concept of branding has been taken on board since way back by more sizeable companies and organisations. But think about it: every business and every individual in business has a personal brand. It’s out there! While some of us don’t knowingly or deliberately cultivate our brand, it exists nonetheless. And it can dramatically affect our success as an entrepreneur or business owner.
Your personal brand exists in two different spaces in your business - internal and external. The first, internal branding, is the way you’re perceived inside your business. External branding is the way you grow and manage your client base.
Those of us in small business, and large, are constantly looking for ways to exceed our client expectations, and optimising our personal brand can be a make-or-break component in achieving this.
Like to optimise your personal brand? Here are some tips.
BE YOUR BRAND
In the corporate world or in small business, everything you do and say affects how your personal brand is received. And that reflects back upon your business. As a business owner, think about repercussions. Posting that photo on Instagram might seem funny now, but if it’s an unwise choice of image, there could be consequences that hinder your future development.
More importantly, the more often you recognise your personal brand as a key ingredient in your business, the more rewarded you feel when business and connections come your way!
PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH
So far, so great. You’ve got the hang of it - your personal branding is part and parcel of your business. Now you want people to feel as if they know you and your company authentically.
It’s important to be honest, and not fictitious, because if you’re not authentic, your audience will find you out. Let’s say your business identity is all about sass, independence and creativity, which ultimately affects whether clients choose to work with you. If you’re perceived by others as embodying those qualities yourself, any action you take will ultimately shine through your business and your audience will immediately resonate with it.
YOU’VE GAINED A FOLLOWING – NOW KEEP IT LOYAL
The more your audience feels they resonate with your business, the more likely they will stick around when times are tough. Your website and social media are a great extension of everything you do, so weave your personal brand through them. If you see your followers increasing, you’re probably doing something right!
TELL YOUR STORY
Consumers love stories. A great way to build your personal brand is to write thought leadership articlesleadership articles or opinion pieces and offer them to media for publication. This gives your audience a window into your life and who you are – a great way of enhancing your image. Tailoring opinion pieces to certain media outlets will help in driving your business, and a relationship between yourself and your market.
Networking is essential, and it’s important to connect with the right audiences. You can use both traditional and new media methods to reach the right people. Go to industry and personal events or connect via social media –it’s all out there! If you’re a lover of detail and organisation, keep track of your networking on a spreadsheet - list names and contact details of people who may be relevant to your brand. This ensures you have contacts you can reach out to, when you want to pitch an idea or need business advice.
TAKE FEEDBACK ON THE CHIN – AND USE IT
Taking business feedback in your stride can mean the difference between a positive or negative personal brand. As perception of you and your business is continuously shifting, it’s important to get feedback regularly from those inside and outside of your circle, to get an idea of areas where you could improve. That doesn’t mean asking a total stranger, but consulting family, friends, colleagues and others you trust. It helps you to refine yourself - and ultimately your business.