Exposure and visibly are essential components to running a successful business. However, in the age of digital media and influencer marketing, developing a strong personal brand can be just as important as developing your corporate brand.
Your personal brand can (and should) complement or even enhance your corporate brand. This will ensure that you are top-of-mind for those within your target market, which will prevent your business from being overshadowed by the competition.
During the Black Enterprise 2017 Entrepreneurs Summit, Ramon Ray, a personal branding expert, gave a presentation on how professionals can cultivate their personal brands in ways that can also help them to become local celebrities in their market.
Here are a few key takeaways from Ray’s presentation:(Image: Ramon Ray at the 2017 Entrepreneurs Summit)
1. Understand What Personal Branding Is
In order to build your personal brand, it’s important to understand what it is, and how it is different from your business or corporate brand. According to Ray, a personal brand is “sustained fame [or achieving celebrity-level status] in your local market [geographically, or among others within your industry].”
Once your personal brand cultivates enough traction and strength, it will become locked within the minds of your target audience. As a result, you will become everyone’s first choice when looking for assistance or support from your area of expertise. It will also help shield you from “price discounting,” which conditions customers to devalue your product or service. Lastly, a strong personal brand can help you develop customer loyalty with clients.
2. It’s Not About the Money
You should not expect to immediately receive monetary rewards, while still in the process of building your personal brand. The purpose of developing your brand is to build your own fan base; not to immediately book a paid engagement. However, once you increase your personal level of star power within your market, you can then expect to receive paid opportunities.
3. Your Brand Needs to be Original
In order to be memorable, your brand needs to pop, sizzle, and bring out something dynamic.
Some personal traits that may help your personal brand stand out more:
- Exuding Happiness: If you can exude an authentic sense of glee, people will instinctively find your personal brand attractive and incite curiosity among your target audience, as they will want to learn more about you and the work you do.
- Being Excited: It’s important that you consistently project passion and excitement when talking about your business. This will, in turn, get others excited about your business, as well.
- Showing Focused: When discussing your brand, being articulate and speaking coherently about what you do is critical to making a lasting positive impression. Try not to go off on a tangent when speaking about the product or services that you’re selling.
Connecting with others is a great way to build your brand in your local community. So, get out and network! It’s important that you are nice to people, but you must also be strategic in how you network. Connect people in a genuine way, and show them how your product or service can and will add value to their life.
5. Effectively Utilize Social Media
Your social media posts on should be shareable, engaging, and bring value to others. Posts should also relate to the product or service that you are selling—if they don’t, then it’s not worth sharing.
One of the best ways to build your social media presence is through video, which tends to attract the highest form of engagement online. Video allows you to bring your personality to life. In addition to creating and promoting your own videos, share videos of other people.
In addition to creating and promoting your own videos, share videos posted by others. Social media is all about give-and-take; the more content you can share with your audience, the bigger your fan base will become.
6. Be Practical
There are a number of practical tactics that you can take to build your brand:
- Produce and Host an Event: producing an event allows you to bring your fans directly to you.
- Have Your Own Dynamic Website: Having a website for your business is standard in today’s digital-driven world. However, business owners with their own personal websites have an additional platform to showcase the products and services they have to offer.
- Write a Book: This is another way to add legitimacy to your brand, because writing and publishing a book can highlight the extent of your expertise.