Now, I am not a brand-building-guru. There are many personal branding gurus out there building successful seven figure businesses and there also many out there jumping on the proverbial bandwagon.
Everybody has one. You are building a personal brand whether you like it or not.
The question is whether it is a good one or not. As my Mum used to say, “You can’t kid a kidder”. You cannot fudge the system.
The personal brand that you build has to be you. Because if you portray a persona that isn’t you, you will eventually be found out and your credibility will be shot.
My 15 year old step son told me recently that he’d been on a date with a girl he met on ‘the gram’ (Instagram for us oldies). The problem was, when he rocked up, she looked nothing like her pictures online. “I’ve been catfished!”, he said. He left sharpish!
Now, if you build a genuine (I don’t like the word authentic – it’s been overused a lot) personal brand, it has several benefits:
- Increased visibility and recognition
- Enhanced credibility and trust
- Prospective clients come to you, rather than you chasing them
- You get to command a premium price-point (“I don’t think I can afford you!” is a good thing to hear)
- Increased influence and thought leadership
- You get referrals from clients and your network
I have spent 13 years building a personal brand (in my current status of being a business owner) and thankfully I have managed to get to the point where I have a respected position with my peers and prospective clients, I am generating regular high quality referrals and often get the “I don’t think I can afford you!” feedback.
It is worth noting that a personal brand isn’t there to appeal to everybody, it’s there to appeal to your target audience.
A strong personal brand will also detract those that don’t want to work with you and who won’t be a good fit for you.
Take time to reflect on what image you are portraying to your audience. What are they saying about you when you are not in the room? Are you getting regular referrals and commanding a premium price for your services? Are you respected by your peers?
Developing a strong brand is a key part of the market positioning when building out a business plan. Make sure you are clear on what you want from yours.