I’ve recently noticed an increase in articles, seminars and books on branding and in particular personal branding – perhaps because it is one of the areas I speak and consult on. I have a keen interest in this area, as I believe it is integral to the success of any company no matter what size.
So what is personal branding?
I believe personal branding is really personal public relations. Public relations is “relationships” with your “public” and it’s about how you or your business is seen and how you interact with other people that will build your reputation.
After all business and companies are based on people. People make products for people. People sell to and serve other people and people work with people and for people.
As a business owner you are the public face of your organisation. You represent what that company stands for.
If we want our business or ourselves to succeed, we need to be in personal alignment with what our company represents. Not everyone loves their job – but boy does it help if our personal aims, vision and values are in alignment with what that organisation represents. Why not share with your suppliers and customers your values and vision for your company.
According to Kevin Roberts CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi who has written a book on branding called Lovemarks, he says, “To me, it’s all about spirit, not about values.”
“Lovemarks go beyond the relationships to a loving relationship. If you’re not in love with your business, why should your employees or customers be? If you want to create a lovemark, you’ve got to be passionately in love with your own business.
And if you haven’t fallen in love, don’t expect your employees or your customers to fall in love,” says Roberts.
Therefore personal branding is more than just your image and the outer package that you present to the world. Although appearance and packaging does plays a major part in representing yourself and your company in a positive light. Personal branding is the emotional connections between the service or product and the customer.
A number of Managing Directors of companies in Australia have recognised the power of personal branding in building a strong company. They have established a memorable face behind the company to add a personal perspective to their business. Examples include Julia Ross (Julia Ross Recruitment) Sonia Amoroso (Skin Doctors), Sarina Russo (Sarina Russo Group), John McGrath (McGrath Real Estate) and John Symond (Aussie Home Loans). These people are inextricably linked with their companies and are very clear about the image they project.
No doubt there are many examples of well known personal brands in your country also. In the US think of Donald Trump or the UK, of course there’s Richard Branson.
They are examples of where personality of the company shines through the CEO. Or perhaps in the case of small business COE (Chief of Everything!).
Building a strong personal brand has the added bonus of building further recognition and media exposure. These people are known and used by the media as spokespeople in their area of expertise and as commentators on business issues. They are sought after as keynote speakers, television personalities and are invited to participate in numerous high profile and industry events. Through this personal public relations strategy, the exposure they receive is more credible than advertising.
Are you in love with your company and can you work toward establishing a strong personal brand?