In business, branding matters. Take two pairs of white shoes – one pair has no branding and the other has the Nike tick. Despite the shoes being otherwise very similar, the pair with the Nike tick will sell for much, much more. This tends to make sense when it comes to businesses, but what about when it comes to your personal brand? Typically when this topic is broached, most business owners or employees tend to shy away from the limelight citing, ‘I’m not good on camera’, ‘I can’t write’, ‘no one wants to hear what I have to say’ or ‘what difference will it make?’. Today, this mentality will leave you way behind your competition.
Never forget that people will do business with who they know, like and trust and through this article I’ll show how building your personal brand will do all of that.
1. Establish Yourself as a Thought Leader in Your Industry
“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
Of course not every industry is universally deceitful, but every industry has its own quirks that could lead to it getting a ‘bad rap’. It doesn’t matter whether you work in eCommerce, the automotive industry or IT, each one has customers (or business owners) who are misinformed or have had poor experiences around consistent themes.
For example, we’ve all had the experience of taking our car into the mechanic for a routine service, only to come out $800 worse off. We begrudgingly pay it because ‘the mechanic knows best’…but we have our suspicions. Questions like ‘What did they actually do?’, ‘Was it really required?’ and ‘What were my options?’ all come to the forefront. But here’s where you come in. Creating content to inform your prospects and empower them to create a decision-making process they can follow repeatedly. I typically categorise the types of content into the following buckets:
- Calling out bad practices
- Common misconceptions in the industry
- Explanations for why things are the way they are
- Education on how to decide who to do business with
Here are a few topics you could talk about in the mechanic example:
- 5 questions to ask your mechanic when there’s more (unexpected) work to be done
- A video example demonstrating a commonly performed bad practice in the industry (and how to avoid it)
- Misconceptions about mechanic work – i.e. why a seemingly small replacement can still lead to high costs
By covering these topics, you not only bring massive value to your audience but it also communicates: ‘I won’t do any of these bad things to you if you do business with me’.
Your competition will have testimonials, success stories and claims about their work but the difference in why someone will do business with you is because you have earnt the right to be their ‘trusted advisor’.
Hot tip: Create a Facebook or LinkedIn Group where people who like your content can enter and get more insights and tips. This way you can nurture people who really like your content and can create your own community, which becomes an asset for the business.
2. Give confronting information in a non-confronting way
“It’s Not What You Say, it’s How You Say it”
People appreciate honesty – provided it’s given in a tactful way in the right conditions. For example, let’s imagine a business owner has a family member – we’ll call him Bob – who works for the business. If a business consultant told the owner during the sales process, “Bob is holding you back, you could be better spending that money”, he could suspect there’s an ulterior motive due to the circumstances in which this advice was given. Surely they’re only saying that because they want us to spend Bob’s salary with them instead?
In contrast, let’s say you offered the same advice through a Facebook or LinkedIn video, but delivered it by telling a story of your own experience and how you managed it – the advice is received very differently. Firstly, you’re not personally picking out anyone directly, and secondly, it allows people to go away and apply that story to their own situation to see where they might be making the same mistakes. In doing this, people come to their own realisations, which is far more powerful than trying to directly convince them.
This is an example of how the delivery of information is critical to success brand building.
3. Showcase Your Work and the Process Behind it
“We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge.”
Now you might be thinking ‘if I give everyone the process, they’ll take all my IP and run!’ and look, I’m not asking you to give away every ingredient to your secret sauce but, remember, the value of an idea doesn’t come from the idea itself, it comes from the execution – and most people lack execution. Also, in a world where nearly any answer is at your fingertips, it isn’t hard for your audience to find answers.
Take social media marketing as an example – there are literally thousands of videos demonstrating how to create a Facebook ad, so why do people still pay digital marketing agencies to run their ads for them? The information is freely available?
Well, because it takes more than just information to get good results. It takes repeated testing of what ads work and what don’t; it takes the experience of knowing what things get flagged as ‘against Facebook’s community guidelines’, it takes the time investment of creating good quality imagery and copy, and it takes the understanding of what interests best work in that niche. As you can see, there is much more to just giving away.
4. People Get to See You For You
“The arrow doesn’t seek the target, the target draws the arrow.”
Everyone has different aspects to their personality and we exhibit those differences depending on the people we’re around. For example, you’re a slightly different person when speaking to your boss or employees than you are with friends and similarly, you don’t talk the same way to your parents as you would to your children.
Most people think you have to be your ‘business self’ at all times when building your personal brand, however when looking at the people who do this best, they find a nice balance between ‘business self’ and ‘personal self’ to connect with their audience. In a nutshell, the two aspects don’t have to be mutually exclusive and people will like you more when they see that you’re a real person – warts and all.
Now, you obviously don’t have to share every intimate detail about your life, but by showing your more personal side through humour, life experiences and interests, the people who naturally connect to it will come to YOU. You may also discover consistent interests and themes in your ideal customers – for example, the majority of your customers may also be parents, they may all love golf or meditation or be the oldest sibling of their brothers or sisters. All of these things help you delve deeper and deeper into your ideal customer persona, which can then be used for any paid media marketing.
Hot Tip: When building your community make sure you have a method for capturing their name, number and email address. I’ve spoken to too many businesses who’ve had their social media accounts hacked or banned, leaving them with no digital assets. Don’t rely on Facebook alone – your email list is a business asset!
Building your personal brand isn’t something you do for an immediate ROI (although it can happen quickly) and should also be considered as a piece of your overall business marketing strategy. So, if you’re looking to build your online presence in 2021 for either yourself or your business, then don’t hesitate to contact us – we’d be more than happy to help.
PS: You’re most welcome to specifically ask for me, Millar (the guy who you know, like and trust).