Is personal branding more important than business branding?

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In a world of information overload, personal branding allows organisations to cut through the noise of brand messaging and connect with their audience directly.

The power of a personal brand is exponential and more people are waking up to the idea that personal and business branding need to be used together for sustainable brand growth.

What is personal branding?

Personal branding is the process of crafting a clear identity for an individual by combining their unique characteristics and values to create a clear image in the mind of their audience

Mitchel White

Think Elon Musk, think eccentric entrepreneur. 

Think Tim Ferriss, think Four Hour Work Week and business.

Think Billie Eilish, think experimental musician. 

Each of these people have crafted a very clear idea in people’s minds of who they are. They live and breathe their personal brand to build upon strong brand foundations which allows them amass a following of likeminded people who align with them.

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The benefits of a personal brand over a business one

A personal brand can be taken with you. 

Elon Musk was the cofounder of Paypal and now Tesla. His personal brand is transferable. It’s not directly linked to the business brand. If he decided to part with Tesla, his personal brand as a successful entrepreneur would remain and he could put it to work in another organisation.

Business branding is obviously important, I’m not saying you should have one or the other. But to take an organisation to new levels, having someone with a great personal brand at its helm to drive it forward can speed up its growth and boost brand awareness.

Personal branding examples

The world is full of personal branding success stories but some of the names that stand out in 2020 for me are:

  • Ben Francis, GymShark: He has built a multi million dollar brand and personal brand in the process, focusing on opening up about how he built GymShark Ben now has a huge following across social media.
  • Elon Musk, Tesla: A mustard-like character but you can’t deny the power of Elon’s personal brand. His tweets make the news and even have an impact on the Tesla share price. His personal brand effect is huge.
  • Tim Ferriss: A prolific content creator and author, Tim has become well known for entrepreneurship and business. He has used content in various forms to build a powerful brand. His Tools of Titans book used the brand equity of others to establish himself as an authority in business and small business marketing
  • Billie Eilish: Everything Billie does is on brand with her personal branding strategy. Her interviews, her website, her music. It’s all “quirky” and experimental. She knows how to deliver her personal brand message and she’s grown huge influence in the process.

Building your personal brand with content

You and your team are the best advocates for your brand, you’re knowledgeable about your industry, audience and brand. 

Who better to be the spokesperson for and human face of your brand?

A worry some people have when you talk about creating your own personal brand is a lack of presenting skills or confidence. No matter what your personality or specific skill set, there is a method for you to create your own personal brand. If you prefer writing you can use social media and blogging, or if you have great public speaking skills then video might be the ideal platform for you to amplify your message.

But before you jump in and start shouting from the rooftops, just like your approach to your business branding, you need a clear strategy and plan of action. 

Don’t waste time spinning your wheels, get focused on what personal brand building strategies are going to have the biggest impact. 

Start by writing a list of topics your audience might find helpful, tools like Moz Keyword Explorer and BuzzSumo could help you here to identify keywords and topics your audience are already searching for. Now you have an idea of what topics you’re going to talk about it’s a good idea to decide what format would best serve your audience and which fits best with your existing strengths, this will guide where you’re going to publish your thought leadership content.

Write a list of content types you could use, it could include:

  • Video
  • Podcasts
  • PDF guides
  • Infographics
  • Courses
  • Webinars
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Once you’ve decided on the type of content, the medium for sharing is important, different messages and content types work better on different platforms. You could use your own website, podcast directories, other blogs, social media, YouTube and question sites like Quora to share your content.

The most important thing here is to create a consistent content strategy for your personal brand. Plan your content ahead and post regularly, there’s nothing worse than going to a blog and seeing the last post is over a year old, the same goes for your YouTube channel. Commit to a sensible posting schedule you know you can keep up with and post regularly to add value to your audience.

The beauty of personal brand building is it’s primarily free, besides the time spent writing or recording your content or investment made working with a designer to produce content. Personal brand building can be as inexpensive as you want it to be.

Tools like writing blogs, posting on LinkedIn and recording videos for YouTube are free and effective in building a personal brand. LinkedIn is especially great for connecting with like minded people in your industry and beyond, posting regularly up to four times a week keeps you at the top of the mind and helps build your brand as an expert in your field. The key with any brand building activity is to use your platform to add value. Don’t use your blogs or videos to self promote, create shareable content that gets your audience thinking. 

Personal branding tips

For personal brand building to work, you should focus on quality content delivered consistently. 

Building a personal brand isn’t a short term fix so you need to commit to delivering real value with your content over a long time. Start by creating one or two content types, this could be anything from blogs to videos and post them out on one or two content mediums. Test the reaction to your content, once you know you have one content type and medium nailed, try adding in new types to reach other segments of your audience.

Rushing content and overcommitting to building your personal brand can result in a haphazard approach, creating a personal brand image of a lazy, sporadic marketer – something not many of us would like to be branded as.

Focus on quality over regularity.

Start now

Building a personal brand takes time, it’s not something that happens overnight. Personal branding builds trust and just like trust in a relationship, it takes time and commitment to build it. 

Get started by defining your personal brand, communicating it and amplifying it with on brand content.

Serve, Mitchel White, Ethical Marketing Book, personal branding

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