Does online personal branding really work?

I had a conversation with a friend the other day who is a self-proclaimed “entrepreneur”, but doesn’t seem to believe in the need to do any personal branding. I was shocked, as I think the two go hand in hand. I believe everyone has a personal brand, whether you like it or not. And it can work for you if you take care of it and build it, or against you if you don’t. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an entrepreneur, stay-at-home-mom (or dad) or full-time employee, or something in between. But, as I learned this week, not everyone is as convinced that personal branding is as important as I believe it to be.

Some business owners believe branding is a simple matter of pasting a logo and vision statement on a website and related promotional items. For others it is some ethereal method of bringing consumers to your website. One of the things I teach in my Write a Book in a Week program as well as my Social Media Masterclass is that idea of personal branding starts with a better understanding of who you are, what defines your business and how well you combine the two.

If you can’t clearly articulate what values you hold as an individual and what you seek to accomplish as a business – then how can you expect to convince your customers about the very things that should make you unique?

Many individuals, like my friend, who involve themselves in some version of affiliate revenue programs or multi level marketing scheme may feel that a personal identity (or brand) is not needed. I can follow that logic to a certain extent as the organization you’re promoting should take care of their branding and marketing. Isn’t that what we pay them fees for? However, if you are trying to set yourself aside from the crowd then the individuals you engage with for your “business” are more concerned about your trustworthiness than they may be with the product you are pitching. Are they dealing with an subject matter expert or an employee-like, commission based sales person?

The reason so many marketers fail is due to a lack of trust at some level. If the business can create a sense of trust in the potential customer, the level of trustworthiness will translate into the level of acceptance of the information, products or services the business owner presents. This process doesn’t start with the company, but with the individual representing it: in the fertile soil of personal branding. Did you know writing a book can be one of the ways to set yourself aside from the crowd and establish yourself as the number one authority in your field? Click here to learn more about my program.

Personal branding can utilize a logo, positioning statement, website specific downloads, forums, blogs and any number of elements to infuse a branded message, but it all goes back to whether the business owner really understands who they are and why they do what they do. Instead, some attempt to take a shortcut and observe another website that seems to be doing well with their branding techniques and imitate it. While imitation is the sincerest form of flattery this approach never allows you to develop the core values that will help to define your business in a way simple logos never will.

As a quick exercise: see if you can answer these questions without thinking for too long. As I tell my clients, you should be able to answer all three in a one minute elevator ride with a potential client:

  • What are the core objectives of the company?
  • What principles are “sacred” and will not be altered?
  • What motivates you?

Personally I use the (shortened) answers to these questions as regular Tweets and social media updates that I send out. These are the type of questions that can help you develop a mission statement as a business owner. That mission statement should be the solid foundation for every branding idea you develop.


You May Also Like