How to build your personal brand as a startup founder
Wednesday, June 22, 2016/
We live in a world that is becoming increasingly connected yet disconnected at the same time.
While it has never been easier to communicate with anyone anywhere in the world we lose something when we stay behind the veil of technology: deeper relationships.
We forget that relationships underpin every business transaction. The deeper the relationship, the more profound and profitable it becomes.
Your customers crave connection – real connection – from the businesses they buy from.
They don’t want to interact with a faceless business, hear from general auto-responders or enquire only through a web form.
They want a real relationship, a real person – they want you.
Whether you are B2B or B2C, online or offline, product or service based, personal branding has never been more important.
But where do you start, particularly if you’ve been hiding behind your brand for some time?
Start by being authentic
So often in business, we play a role. While this can help us to keep boundaries between our personal and professional lives, these same boundaries can also stop us from being who we are and building deeper relationships with our clients and contacts.
While you should keep a level of mystery about you, make sure you aren’t hiding the real you. It is alright to show vulnerability and humanity at times; it will often make you more relatable and accessible to your customers and followers.
Day in and day out we market our products and services but what about ourselves? You are unique. No one else has the same knowledge, opinions and experience as you do. No one will see the world through your same perspective.
Own it and use it to your advantage. Talk about what makes you different and what value you personally bring to the table. Share your opinion and experience. Answer media callouts where you (not just your brand) could give input.
If you struggle to talk about yourself, or you are humble to a fault, have an opinion-based blog or a tip segment in your newsletter that is credited to you, not just your brand. Also, use your biography, LinkedIn profile and testimonials to do the selling for you.
Give yourself a voice inside and outside your brand to showcase your personal experience and expertise.
Be seen and heard
To build your personal brand, you need to be seen and heard (sorry introverts there is no way around this one).
While this does involve building your online presence and demonstrating thought leadership through blogs, articles, media interviews and social media, all of which you can do from your office, you also need to get out into the world. Spread your message through networking, speaking and building relationships with others.
Start seeing yourself as a product you need to market. Pinpoint your unique selling points and the problems you solve and launch yourself out into the marketplace. You’ll find it helps your business marketing too.
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