If you want to launch a successful startup, you have two different branding strategies to consider. The first is your company brand. Of course, you are probably hard at work developing that. The second is your personal brand.
Why is a Personal Brand Important for an Entrepreneur?
When people read the term ‘personal brand’ they often think of writers, entertainers, and internet celebrities. In other words, people who make a living selling themselves rather than a particular product or service. You may be wondering why it isn’t enough to simply let your business branding do all of the talking. The answer is simple. In order to stand out from all of the other businesses in your niche, your company needs something more. It needs your personal brand to complement your business brand. Here are a few ways that having an impressive personal brand can benefit your startup.
- Investors will be more receptive to listening to your pitches
- You will create networking opportunities that can lead to important clients
- Your reputation within your industry will boost the reputation of your startup
- You’ll make important contacts who can be a great source of advice and feedback
- Customers and others will be able to associate a name and face with your startup
Defining the Term Personal Brand
The best way to define personal brand is through an example. When you think of the Virgin Group, you don’t only think of the businesses that bear the Virgin name, e.g., Virgin Airlines. Virgin founder, Richard Branson also comes to mind. In fact, you may even think of the man, before you think of the companies he is associated with. This is because Richard Branson has crafted a personal brand along with his business brand, and he has done it in a way that has helped his business empire to thrive. You may not become as globally well-known as Branson, but you can certainly build a personal brand that will help your startup become a great success.
Here’s something else to consider. In many ways, you already have a personal brand. Your job is to take control of that brand and make it work for both you and your company. If you think it isn’t true, try “Googling” yourself. If you have public social media profiles, or even have your resume public posted, you have already established a personal brand.
The good news is that you have control over these things. The bad news is that there are things that you cannot control. For better or for worse, the things that other people say about you also become part of your personal brand.
3 Personal Brand Development Strategies
Be Unique But Genuine
Let’s talk about Richard Branson again. The founder of the Virgin Group is well known for having a boisterous personality and a taste for adventure and thrill seeking. A good part of the reason that his personal and company brand are so successful is that people now associate the Virgin brand with his sense of daring and adventure. The result is that the Virgin companies have a vibe of being edgy, adventurous, and young at heart. If Sir Branson had opted to leave his unique and genuine self out of the equation, and simply represented himself as a serious business person, none of that would have been possible.
Create Great Content
The content that you create and that you share will do more to build your personal brand than anything else. This is because your content serves two purposes. First, it is your chance to tell your story and to communicate who you are to your audience. Your content is also the tool that you use to control the direction of your personal brand. You accomplish this by creating personal branding content that is more compelling and that produces more engagement than any content that is written about you.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that all content written about you is automatically negative. In fact, if other people write favorably about you in their blogs and on social media, you might want to share that content so that it also becomes part of your personal brand. It simply means that you want to put yourself in a position that where you are considered to be the premier source of information about your personal brand. Here are a few tips for doing this.
- Know your voice and stay true to that voice in every piece of content you publish whether it’s a simple tweet or a long blog post
- Have a clear vision about the way that your personal brand will fit into your business brand.
- Focus on producing blog and social media content that is current, relevant, and unique. Most importantly, your content should help your followers solve problems.
Position Yourself to be Your Company’s Ultimate Customer Service Rep
Your brand and your business brand are not fully separate entities. In fact, they are deeply intertwined. This means that you are the best person to represent your business to your customers. You can do this by becoming an active ambassador for your company. The best way to do this is through engagement with your customers.
- Send a personal greeting and a thank you to all new customers and prospects who either make a purchase or take significant steps towards making a purchase, e.g., requesting a product demo
- Stay in contact with regular customers. Let them know that you are always available to address any concerns or or meet their needs in other ways
- Respond to customers who leave comments on your personal or company blogs or social media accounts. Be responsive to their requests and questions and encourage them to continue leaving feedback
- When social media feedback is negative, respond promptly, politely, and let it be known that you are addressing the issue. Then, thank the customer for bringing the matter to your attention
- Find small ways to reward loyal customers such as discounts, access to premium content, or giveaways
- Use social media to broadcast company updates announce special events such as sales and special offers
Featured image credit: istockphoto.