You can become famous through luck. But becoming known and a trusted a personal brand requires consistent work over many months, and perhaps even years.
strategy is simply a fact of business life these days. In fact, as traditional
PR and advertising becomes less relevant (who is seeing these ads any more?), I
could argue that increasingly, the personal brand IS the company brand, especially
in smaller companies.
Branding strategy is
about creating an emotional connection to your product or service. It’s a lot
easier building a connection to a person compared to an ad or a piece of
will undeniably have a more important role in marketing strategy because it can
create a permanent and sustainable competitive advantage based on emotion.
There is only one you. That can be a legitimate point of business
For the love of Jeni
Here’s an example of
how a personal brand can become an integral component of a corporate branding
Ice cream is
basically a commodity. You can tweak the ingredients and the flavors but there
are only so many ways to make and sell ice cream, right?
become one of the fastest-growing retailers in America? Because people love the
company’s founder, breaking from the pack to
They love her
never-say-die founder’s story, passion, commitment to the environment, and
honest business partnerships. The love of a real person like Jeni turns the act
of buying ice cream into an
Of course she
creates a delicious product. But lots of companies do that. Compare the growth
opportunity for Jeni’s stores with Baskin Robbins (also yummy and expensive by
the way) — the largest ice cream retailer on the planet. How do you grow Baskin
Robbins? More ads that nobody sees? More flavours? Lower your price? Tweak the
Jeni is growing her
company through .
That can’t be copied by competitors. Who do you love at Baskin Robbins?
To a large extent,
The time is now
This is a
historically important trend — and one that is overlooked by much of the
corporate world — because it could only be happening now.
I started out in
business more than 30 years ago, pre-internet days! Back then, how would I
become known? How would it even be possible for a nobody like me to build a
Back then, becoming
“known” was in the hands of a gatekeeper like a newspaper or trade journal
editor, or perhaps an executive in the publishing industry.
But today, the
opportunity to become known in your industry is up to you. Everybody has the
opportunity to publish content and be heard, to build an audience and establish
the presence, reputation, and authority to have a meaningful competitive
The advantage goes
to those with the vision and tenacity to do build that personal brand.
Advantage: Small businesses
For the most part,
large companies can’t take advantage of this trend. I can only think of a
handful of examples where the emotional tie to a company is based primarily on
the devotion to an individual — Oprah, Elon Musk, and Richard Branson come to
However, it’s so
much easier for a small business to establish a meaningful emotional connection
based on a personal brand.
In a small business,
the owner has a relatable founder’s story. The owner of a small business can
still be out with customers and show their smile, their heart, their passion.
They can be out in the community showing they care. And most important, they can
be part of the content story — the blogs, videos, photos and podcasts — in a
personal and intimate way.
If you’re an
entrepreneur or small business owner, establishing a personal brand could be
your most important branding strategy.
Personal branding strategy requires a new mindset
A branding strategy
based on an individual can be uncomfortable. I’m speaking from experience!
When I started my
company, I did not want to be the focus of attention. I wanted the focus to be
on our work and the amazing results we were getting with our consulting
I started my company
in 2008 and finally by 2016 I reluctantly admitted to myself that my company
brand was … me. It took me eight years to actually feature my face on the
landing page of my website!
I’m an introvert.
I’m uncomfortable with self-promotion and being the center of attention. But I
also realized that the only way to stand out is to have the courage to show
myself and tell my unique and honest stories to you.
I stand out in a
very crowded field of digital marketing because there is only one me. You can
stand out in your industry, too … because there is only one you, too!
The key is having
the plan, courage, and resilience to go for it.
Personal branding is a process
If you take one idea
from this article, I hope it is this: Creating a personal brand isn’t about
luck. It is a systematic process.
The biggest thing I
learned when researching my book is that nobody
becomes known in their industry through luck.
You can become
becoming and a trusted a
personal brand requires consistent work over many months, and perhaps even
years. through luck. But
It is a process, and
it is within reach of anyone. In the process of writing the book, I interviewed
97 people who have become known in a wide variety of professions all over the
world And they all did the same four things to become known:
They identified a
rational idea they wanted to be known for (this may be different from your
They found a unique
way to tell their story
quality content consistently without fail
engaged with an audience to nurture an emotional connection
Today, every person
reading this blog post has the opportunity to build a personal brand that leads
to business benefits. In many cases, this can be more powerful and effective
than any ad you could ever devise.
By the way, over the
last eleven years, I have never taken out a paid ad to promote my business.
And here is a
stunning opportunity — chances are, your competitors have no idea this is even
a thing. This branding strategy is still under the radar.
Is it your time to