Business vs. Personal
Last week, I was charting the growth of my online business and personal brands, and I was shocked by the results. The social networks for my personal brand are nearly three times bigger than the company brand. One reason this surprised me is that my company (The Brand Coach, LLC) is nearly 10 years old. We have sponsored events, won awards and been featured in numerous publications. Nonetheless, the social networks for the Jai Stone brand still dwarfs the online business presence. Initially I chalked it up to the fact that most of my online profiles were initially established with my personal image and details.
As I started to look through my email list, Facebook friends and LinkedIn connections, I realized that 85% of the list were people with whom I had personally connected. Moreover I had maintained a connection with them for an extended period of time. As I took inventory of the various connections associated with my business profiles, I realized that at least half of the connections were strangers. People had connected to the business brand because of the value of the service, referral or information they received. But what was even more impressive is that even people that I met professional, still looked for my personal profile when searching the social network. They were PPCs (Personalized Professional Connections).
I remember teaching a workshop about 2 years ago and I was asked “What is more important, your personal or business brand?” I started my answer with something like “It really depends on your industry and target market.” I was just about to continue when one of my long time colleagues raised her hand. She commented on how she had known me for more than a decade and that my name was known all of the country as a marketing expert. That statement struck me as funny since I had spent more time promoting the business than myself. It was then that I started to realize that the business’ credibility sat squarely on the shoulders of my personal brand. While I had tried very hard to keep them separate, there were other influences in the growth of a brand. Influences beyond what I had strategically circulated.
Assume the Position
In business we carefully craft the image of organization. We create services, experiences and messaging to attract our target market. But a personal brand is a lot more organic and far more likely to take on a life of its own. I had always thought of myself as an extension of my company, but came to discover the opposite. It doesn’t mean that The Brand Coach doesn’t attract clients in its own right. But it does mean that I under estimated the contribution of my personal brand. These days I work equally hard at promoting myself as an expert and positioning the company as an industry leader. The success of one relies on the other.
If you are considering increasing your personal visibility, my suggestion is to be strategic, and be big! I’m going to give you a toolkit for personal branding success.
Personal Branding Toolkit:
- Head Shots – professional head shots are the building block of a personal brand
- Personalized Domain & Website – www.YourName.com sends the message that you take yourself seriously. Have a functioning website.
- Social Media – Be sure to have the relevant social media profiles. An active Twitter handle speaks volumes.
- Promote – Consistently showcase your expertise with a blog, videos, press releases etc. (For tips, read: Shameless Self Promotion by Peggy Duncan)
- Accessibility – Be approachable and accessible via multiple communication channels. You will be surprised how many opportunities will come your way as a result.
Since this is such a popular topic these days, I will be spending more time on Personal Branding in the near future.
Happy Branding Everyone…