There is a lot of buzz surrounding the concept of personal branding amongst entrepreneurs. These days, it seems like just creating a successful business is not enough; you, as the business owner, must be just as famous as your brand.
With examples like Sir Richard Branson and Virgin or Elon Musk with Tesla and SpaceX, it makes many wonder whether it is the person behind the business or the company itself that creates success. Well, maybe it’s a little bit of both.
The real question is whether or not building a personal brand is really worth the effort. An awesome business idea will be successful whether or not a famous name is attached to it. However, having a strong personal brand behind a startup can actually fuel its success.
Here are several reasons why personal branding can impact your success:
1. People Trust People, Not Brands
Consumer trust in businesses has been decreasing year over year as customers are overpromised by brands that simply do not deliver. This makes it especially difficult for companies just starting out to get people to give them a chance. However, people do trust people.
Studies have found that consumers trust recommendations from “real people,” such as friends, families, colleagues, and even peers who appear to be knowledgeable on the subject. In fact, 88% of customers agreed that they would trust an online review from someone they didn’t know more than in-your-face company advertising.
This is why branding yourself as the expert is essential to building trust with your customers. Through the creation of well-articulated content and valuable insight, customers will eventually grow to trust your opinion.
Take Neil Patel’s story as a case study here. He started off as a serial failed entrepreneur who just could not get things going. However, he knew a lot about the digital marketing industry, so when he co-founded his company Crazy Egg, he began to share his expertise through blog posts and interviews.
Since the information he shared was so helpful and relevant to his company’s audience, it helped his startup gain traction. Eventually, his name became so well-known that he launched his own website to sell his marketing services, earning him the title of “marketing influencer” and thought leader in the industry.
Patel’s story is proof that sharing knowledge is the way to build a reputation which can support your business endeavors. By creating quality content that is helpful and informative to your customers, you are in a much better position to earn their trust.
“Trust is built when someone is vulnerable and not taken advantage of.” – Bob Vanourek
2. Followers Can Equal Sales
It seems like everything that the Kardashians (and by extension, the Jenners) touch turns to gold (depending on how you look at it). It’s certainly not because the products they sell are of top-notch quality, nor have they been the first to create a revolutionizing business to change the world. The fact is that they have mastered personal branding and they use it to produce sales.
Fans equal consumers, so attaching any of the Kardashian-Jenner names to a product practically ensures success. For example, when the youngest of the clan, Kylie Jenner, opened up a temporary pop-up shop as a point-of-sale for her online cosmetics company, the event became national news. Fans flooded the store because the experience was more than just trying on lip gloss; it was about meeting Kylie and being a loyal follower of her brand.
This kind of personal branding works because of the psychological effect that a celebrity endorsement has on us “regular” folks. This tactic tricks us into believing that if a product is good enough for a celebrity who is rich, successful, and beautiful, then it must be good enough for us. So, if our favorite actor or model creates a product or features it on their Instagram, we may buy it just because we like who they are as a person.
While you may not reach Kardashian-level celebrity status, gaining notoriety among your colleagues and customers as a reputable name can create the kind of loyalty that equals revenue. If your fans like you and trust your opinion, then it is quite likely they will be willing to buy what you are selling.
3. Personal Branding is Free Marketing
Your social presence is basically synonymous with personal branding success, and it is also one of the cheapest marketing platforms out there. Creating a YouTube channel or maintaining an active Facebook or Twitter account is a marketing strategy that costs practically nothing when it comes to personal branding.
Making yourself a micro-influencer as a way of pushing your own business or product can be highly effective, if executed correctly. In fact, micro-influencers can actually bring in ten times more revenue than big-name endorsements. Using your personal social accounts or blog to advertise your messaging is a super powerful and inexpensive way to market whatever business you are in. The key is getting involved in relevant online communities and staying active.
Keep in mind, your personal brand does not need to be stuck to a single company. If a business goes bankrupt or shuts down, then all of their branded marketing content is essentially useless. However, if you change career paths or start a new venture, your past personal branding efforts still hold a lot of value.
“Branding demands commitment; commitment to continual re-invention; striking chords with people to stir their emotions; and commitment to imagination. It is easy to be cynical about such things, much harder to be successful.” – Sir Richard Branson
If your career is going to be long and successful (which is hopefully your goal), then investing in personal branding is certainly worth the effort. Not only will it help to build consumer trust and social buzz for your current business venture, it can help to pave the way for any future opportunities that may come your way.
How are you using personal branding to elevate your own success in business and life? Let us know in the comments below!