Branding is a very common element of a marketing campaign, and has been for many years. We all recognize the power of international brands like Nike, Coca-Cola, and Apple. Personal branding, on the other hand, is a little bit less well-understood. Rather than focusing on a business, personal branding seeks to help an individual build a powerful brand. Think Donald Trump or Oprah. That brand can stand for anything, though for most business owners credibility and expertise are significant components.
From time to time, I am asked why personal branding is so valuable—why a business owner should focus on their personal brand instead of simply their company brand. Below are three important answers to this question:
People buy people. When it comes to choosing a business to purchase from, consumers have consistently demonstrated that they prefer to do business with others that they know and trust. Where a company can sometimes seem “faceless” or anonymous, an individual has no such problem. While billion-dollar brands can establish credibility for the business, it is much harder for a small to mid-sized company to achieve this type of credibility without an emphasis on personal branding.
People are more memorable than companies. In addition to establishing credibility, creating “memorability” is a critical function of an effective brand. Simply put, you want potential customers to think of you when they need your products or services—not your competitors. And it’s easier for an individual to create this type of memorability than it is for a business itself.
People can become experts, companies very rarely accomplish this. One of the most important goals we have for each of our clients is to turn them into experts within their market. There are many ways we do this—from publishing books to appearing on NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX affiliates across the country. While it is relatively easy to turn an individual into an expert, it is much more difficult to create a company brand that conveys this message. In fact, most businesses that have successfully branded themselves as experts within a market usually accomplished this by first establishing individuals within the business as leading experts.
Now don’t misunderstand—building a corporate brand is important as well. But when it comes to getting the most “bang for your buck” as a small or mid-sized business, it’s impossible to beat the power of personal branding!