What do Gary Vaynerchuk, Richard Branson, and Steve Jobs have in common?
All have a strong personal brand that has elevated the brands of their respective companies. Personal branding shares many commonalities with company branding... but no one wants to feel like they have to "brand themselves"... so why do it?
Having a strong personal brand enables a leader to gain control of the conversation that’s already happening.
Jeff Bezos describes a personal brand as “what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
In the digital age, performing a Google search on an individual’s name is neither outlandish nor uncommon. The most effective marketers carefully cultivate their brand and leverage it for influence.
A person's identity and online habits have already laid the foundation for a personal brand.
People brand themselves through the clothes they choose to wear, the people with whom they associate, and the words they choose. Every micro-interaction online and offline plays a part in how someone is perceived by peers, followers, and various tribes. Social media provides unprecedented tools to control these perceptions.
According to Statista, global internet users spend more than two hours per day on social media. Devoting a fraction of that time to developing a personal brand could cultivate credibility, while building a valuable tribe of followers.
A personal brand can pave the way for future opportunities.
A personal brand can serve as an effective catalyst to fuel the growth of a company brand. In fact, according to Simply Measured, 90% of people trust recommendations from connections compared to only 30% trusting brands. Christien Louviere, founder of SellPersonal, frequently advocates for company leaders to play an active role in their personal branding: “Until a prospect is familiar with the brand, a personal brand helps establish a basic level of human trust that can take years to earn simply as a brand.”
Even if someone does not want to start their own company, those with a large online following can leverage their influence for financial gain by elevating a company’s brand. Also known as “influencers,” these people are often targeted by other companies looking to leverage the personal influence in exchange for compensation.
As Tom Peters once said, “All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.“