Donald Trump. Orville Redenbacher. Oprah Winfrey. These are all names that immediately evoke a product, a sentiment, or an experience. The strategy of applying one’s personal attributes to a business isn’t just for real estate, popcorn or media moguls.
Research suggests that faces were the first logos, and people were the first brands. The more you are out in front and interacting with the customer, the more you are judged in human terms – that’s where trust and loyalty are built.
When it comes to the ‘how’ of personal branding, there are two approaches to humanize a business.
The first approach is to position the organization behind a person. Tony Robbins is a good example. In this case, the individual will embody the business and its mission, and his/her name and image are the ‘front and center’ of everything the business undertakes.
The second approach does not tie the organization’s name to a person (e.g. proprietor) – thus freeing it up for future ownership changes – yet the business is tightly connected to its leader. An example of this model is Zappos’ Tony Hsieh.
In expressing your personal brand, you must have a brand strategy plan and then make sure you follow the below three points:
- Be real. The most effective marketing is not slick, pushy, and polished – it has an authentic, realistic and friendly quality.
- Be vulnerable. Find ways to tell stories of your failures – both in business and in your personal life. Admit that you’re sometimes overwhelmed by family, life or stumped by a business challenge. When you are willing to display your quirks and failures, trust is formed.
- Be transparent. Showcasing true stories is more powerful than impressive credentials. Client testimonials, case studies, and statistics of how many people you helped (and by how much) have the power to influence.
Sometimes a first-person story is far more compelling than academic degrees or awards.
When you are authentic, vulnerable and transparent, your brand is more visible and more visibility equals more customers/clients and more customers/clients definitely affects the bottom line.
By the way, which approach did you choose?
If you need a strategic coach to help you create your personal brand, you can take advantage of my VIP Strategic Planning Day.
© Copyright 2014 Laureen Wishom