If you are in any type of service based business (professional, creative or trades) your personal brand is truly the jewel in your marketing crown.
You must get that in order before you start investing and diving into all other website, digital, PR, social media and marketing activities. Not doing so really compromises success and return on investment in the short and long term.
Everyone has a personal brand to leverage and it’s fundamental to reputation and growth. And in today’s digital world, it holds even greater relevance as it’s often the only way to differentiate a business in noisy competitive sectors.
The impact of your personal brand will have a negative or positive effect on the clients, suppliers and staff you want to attract. If done well, authentically will amplify and strengthen the greater business and marketing objectives.
We are all saturated with content, digital overwhelm and social media fatigue. This has further driven the need to focus on personal branding to stand out, be relatable, credible and likeable. Consumers have so much choice, and with that choice comes confusion in a sea of blandness and cliché promises.
Many service businesses are grappling and vying for a chunk of their market pie. And a chunk that is profitable and sustainable. But inundated with pop culture expectations to become a thought leader or influencer, it has become tiresome and inappropriate for many. These labels are terribly overused and misused, creating a great deal of angst and branding denial. Misunderstanding and misuse often leads to hesitation and fear which results in badly executed branding or worse, none at all.
What’s your personal brand?
I estimate that over 60% of people respond to communicating their personal brand in one of three ineffective ways. They are either an ostrich, a Trump or a Switzerland.
People buy from those they ‘know-like-trust’. So accepting the ‘know-like-trust’ model, and the fact that invariably eight or more touch points are required before a prospect engages (especially in service sectors), it makes total sense to undertake personal branding and positioning before all other marketing and digital activities.
Your personal brand on your website, LinkedIn profile or other social media must be inspiring, engaging and a base of trust and value. You need to step up and out and be the best version of the real you. An ostrich, Trump or a Switzerland won’t bode well — you need to stand for something and show who you really are. Hold your purpose around a centrepiece of pride and the value you offer.
The whole purpose of digital (and offline) marketing is to take prospects to either your website, landing page offers or social media pages. And as humans looking for a stronger sense of connection and trust, your brand needs to demonstrate who you are with transparency and value. It will be key to combating competition and taking ownership of a chunk of your market pie.
Your personal brand has to be authentic; truly it is the jewel in the crown that will differentiate you and your business. Everyone scrambles to be ‘the best’ in their sector, but being ‘different’ is actually more powerful and can be woven intuitively into communications cleverly. It’s a balancing act but one that is really a core part of growth strategy.
If you are an established service business, no doubt you will have already embarked on a range of marketing activities. So the horse has bolted. But if your personal brand isn’t a clear, inspiring magnet you should rectify that urgently. If it is, fabulous — you will be seeing a good ROI on effort and spend.
And if you are about to launch or re-brand your service business, get crystal clear on your personal who, what, where and why to get off to the best start.
Get your personal branding right and all other marketing activities will benefit.