Advice from entrepreneurs who have built amazing personal brands

Whether you like it or not, you have a personal brand. Your social media, your email address, and even the way you dress attribute to what people think of you as a business person, which in turn determines whether or not they would like to work with you. Although we were always taught not to judge a book by its cover, or a person by our first impression of them, we still do it, daily. Of course your business has a brand, but people work with people and that’s why your personal brand is even more important.

“[A personal brand] clarifies and communicates what makes you special–what makes you different from other people,” says Executive Career Coach and author of Personal Branding for Dummies Susan Chritton.

How do you consciously create this personalized brand? Don’t take it from us, take it from business people who have well-defined personal brands of their own.

“If people like you, they will listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.”

         –Zig Ziglar, Author and Motivational Speaker

The foundation to any personal brand is built on authenticity. From the start, establishing trust and credibility with your customer through messaging is essential. Begin by reflecting. Consider what message you wish to deliver and what value you can provide to others. This message should be short, to the point, and plastered everywhere. (Bumper stickers are optional.) In addition, your image, logo, and colors should be uniform across all mediums that involve you, including your website, social media, where you meet clients, videos of you on YouTube, business cards, and what others are posting about you.

Building credibility requires authority and a vast amount of knowledge in the subject matter. The fastest way to let other people know of your authority status is through publishing a book. Authorship brings instant credibility to you and your message. Not to mention, that a book is also the quickest way to construct a stable personal brand. From your book, you can build out color schemes and messaging, while your headshot tells prospects if you are the friendly, approachable type or a drill sergeant. Whether a book serves as the springboard to build your personal brand or a tool to rebrand from the mixed messaging that you previously had, what your book is and what your business’ voice are should be congruent.  

“Your customer doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”             

          – Damon Richards, Customer Service Expert

Politicians wouldn’t be very effective if they didn’t have a firm grasp on who their constituents were, would they?  The same premise pertains when building a successful brand. Without a narrowed focus, it is impossible to articulate a solid message that speaks directly to the individuals whom you’re trying to reach.  After identifying your target audience, you must gain understanding into their habits, wants, and proclivities. Become a student of their interests. Along with defining what their desires and problems are, examine how your product or service might meet their needs. In addition, create free content addressing questions and concerns that your target market has. It’s not enough to write about what you want, you have to write about what they want.

In a world consumed with screens of all sizes, it’s easy to get lost in midst of all the noise. To counter this, you must get out of the chair and into the community. This exposure doesn’t have to pertain exactly to what your area of expertise is. Volunteering is a great way to build a broader network. Helping others in initiatives that matter adds a caring, kind element to your brand. However, extreme care must be taken to safeguard your reputation. A poor attitude or spotty follow-through with commitments can quickly lead to the erosion of the brand you’ve worked tirelessly to construct.

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”

         -Warren Buffett, Business Magnate, Investor, and Philanthropist

Once you establish name recognition, care must be taken to ensure your position is not compromised. Building a personal brand is not a mountain peak you slide down once. It’s a sandcastle on the beach that must be renovated as waves continually erode its foundation. Remember, as your notoriety increases, so do the number of eyes watching you.

Similar to consistency in your actions and message, it is vital to remain a student of your industry. As new research reshapes your area of dominance, stay on the cutting edge so as not to lose your place at the top. Newcomers can easily trump your status as an industry leader if you remain tethered to yesterday’s news. Personal branding is never complete. There is no finish line in this race. In order to remain attractive to those seeking your counsel, take the time to attend seminars and refresher courses that add further depth to your message. There isn’t much room at the top. Victory comes to those who work hardest for it. Don’t allow your hard-earned expert status to be compromised due to lack of attention.

Personal branding is a decision to take control of your direction in business. It is a long-term commitment and to be genuine, branding shouldn’t be viewed as a job, but a deliberate expression of who you are. View your branding as a car you drive along the highways and backroads of your career. Remain vigilant and aware that every action you take is being watched.  Furthermore, remember that your personal brand is a promise. Consistently deliver value to your customers and your personal brand will become your greatest asset. Distinguish yourself early and enjoy the view from the top.

Get Your Personalized Authority Scorecard

Receive a complimentary critique of your business’ marketing and digital performance without having to talk to a human.

Authority Scorecard