What the Hell is a personal brand and why do I need one?
Apocolypse aside (I’m choosing to focus on the things I can do something positive about), Personal Branding is the hot word on everyones lips at the moment but what the Hell is it? You may have a general understanding of what is it but you may not yet know what it can do for your business.
Spoiler Alert: It’s A LOT and not least in the confidence it gives you in ditching off the impostor syndrome and accepting yourself for everything you are in all your wild, unique beautifulness! (totally is a word)
Read on my friend to find out more…
“Sales is all about persuading people that the perceived value outweighs the perceived cost.
This happens so naturally when you have a personal brand because your ideal clients become invested in you as a person, adding tons of value to your service.”
— Me, I said this 🙂
Did you know that Bergische University published a study suggesting we have similar feelings about brands as we do about people we like? And also that we humans make buying decisions based on emotional factors not logical ones. So making an emotional connection with your audience is the key to a successful business.
I mean, that alone is reason enough to up-level from entrepreneur to personal brand no? Still need convincing? Read on…
FIRSTLY HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM A BRAND BRAND?
We all know about big brands like Coca Cola and Cadburys so how does a ‘Personal Brand’ differ?
A personal brand is by its very nature more intimate and more, well ‘Personal’! It’s all about you! It’s about your personality, lifestyle and values. It’s about how you can inspire your audience using these things and really connect with them on a level that big name brands never could.
Now the whole concept of getting your face out there scares the bejeezus out of some people but I’ll let you in on a little secret. You have TOTAL control over what you share and you don’t have to share anything you don’t feel comfortable with.
That said, you do have to let your audience in a little because this brave new world of social media has made MASSIVE CREEPS of us all. We love the behind the scenes stuff and knowing about your vulnerabilities and your wins over adversity because this inspires us. But we do also want to see what you had for breakfast (I especially love anything to do with food!) and what makes you ‘really’ tick.
As an entrepreneur, you have a personal brand whether you like it or not. It’s your visual identity, your reputation, it’s what people say about you when you’re not in the room. You can choose to ignore it, letting it develop organically beyond your control, or you can help shape it to depict you as the person you want to be known as and get it working for you.
The beautiful thing about a personal brand is that you can almost completely ditch the idea of ‘Sales’ because in telling your story and conveying your values your brand does the selling for you. Ultimately it doesn’t feel like selling, it feels much more like ‘serving’ which gives everyone the good feels! I’ll talk more about the power of storytelling in a future blog post so keep your eyes peeled or sign up for news here.
A consistent personal brand delivers a succinct message so your customers know exactly what to expect from you.
It is your promise to them.
So why up-level to a personal brand or why build on what you already have?
1 | BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF YOUR IDEAL CLIENTS NEEDS
Once you’ve identified your brand values, story and message and then detailed your ideal client, you can marry the two up and start speaking directly to those dream clients. You can show them that you understand them and their world view, that you share the same values and have the solution to their problems. And they will get on board because when reading your words they will feel like you are speaking directly to them and because your language suggests to them that you wish you serve, not sell. Nobody likes being sold to!!
2 | EASIER TO CONNECT ON AN EMOTIONAL LEVEL
Because you serve not sell you can ditch the salesy conversation and actually just really connect with them. You can do this by showing that you understand them and their problems, that you’ve been through it yourself and that you have the solution.
A big name brand could try the same approach but there’s no individual human to relate to so it just doesn’t work as well. As a personal brand YOU are the one they connect with and because our ideal clients are a reflection of ourselves, we will naturally have plenty in common with them. And because our ‘Why’ as sole traders is usually born of some personal experience that we overcame, we can show them that we know the way through storytelling.
Essentially you can think of your Ideal client as ‘You’, just a few steps back on the same journey.
3 | STOP WASTING TIME ON PLATFORMS THAT DON’T WORK
When you have a personal brand it’s SO MUCH EASIER to target your dream clients because it gives you a clarity you were, most likely, lacking before. Now you know who they are as people and their relevant habits you can figure out where they are online and stop wasting time on platforms that don’t work for you.
In my wedding photography business, as soon as I realised my ideal clients were looking for me on IG and that the ones contacting me through FB were largely prices shoppers, I binned off FB and put all my time into cultivating my IG engagement. I went from 0% to 35% of my leads coming from IG and I convert all of them!
4 | STORYTELLING IS AN EFFECTIVE ‘FEEL GOOD’ SALES TACTIC
The conversational, storytelling style that you use throughout your personal branding will not be pushy or salesy. It won’t need to be. And this has good feels written all over it, for you and for them.
The really beuatiful thing about telling stories (the honest kind not the ones that kids tell to get out of sh!t!) is that the listener has 100% control over how they feel about it. We humans do like to feel in control.
5 | SALES FEEL LESS ICKY
Having a personal brand makes sales feel less icky because your potential clients are already invested in your brand and you as a human so the decision to ‘buy’ is uncomplicated. You will have fostered a powerful relationship with your ideal client because you don’t sell, you serve, educate, nurture and support.
6 | DIFFERENTIATION
You can use your personal branding to differentiate yourself from other people and businesses. Differentiation is really powerful stuff. It has you standing out from the crowd. Done well, we can tie our personal branding in with our business in ways that no corporation could possibly get away with.
7 | MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK THAN BEING AN SOLETRADER
It’s like a brand brand so it has more ‘clout’ than being a sole trader, and more credibility, but has a more deeply human element which makes it infinitely more accessible and easier to relate to on an emotional level.
8 | YOU HAVE MORE CONTROL
You can manage the way that others see you. You can put your best foot forward in every scenario and ensure you come out looking like the best and only option, every time. You get to influence the perception your ideal client has of you.
9 | EASIER TO BE YOU
When you think of yourself as ‘a brand’ it becomes, bizarrely, much easier to define yourself and your values so that others always know what to expect from you and you always know what to expect from yourself and your brand.
10 | GIVES YOU CONFIDENCE
Having the strength of a beautifully consistent brand that has well defined values and a memorable story gives you a level of confidence in yourself and your abilities that you may struggle to find as an entrepreneur.
Beats the hell out of Impostor Syndrome!
11 | YOU’LL GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION
There’s something about taking ownership of your personal brand that gives you permission, in your own mind, to be more YOU! Sooooo mnay of us when we start out in business think we have to convey our professionalism before anything else. Poppy-cock I say!!
By being uber professional in you language you are more likely to put people off or attract the wrong clients than by being 100% your authentic self so stoppit! 😉
I do a lot of work with my Coaching clients on identifying your ideal client and how they respond to different uses of language and once they realise they can actually just talk like they do to their friends a wonderful transformation happens. Not only in their online presence, where they become so much more personable and relatable, but also within themselves. There’s a confidence that really starts to shine. I freakin’ love that!!
12 | BUILD RELATIONSHIPS
It’s easier for your audience to get to know, like and trust you when you’re turning up, just being yourself.
13 | MORE TRUSTWORTHY
People are much more likely to buy from a well presented personal brand that oozes personality and talks about their amazing relationships with their clients, raving about their clients wins how much they loved working with them.
Would you choose that or a sole trader who’s website is uber professional but emotionally disconnected with no personality? One that doesn’t speak to you like a human? Like an individual?
Humans are so much more interested in your ‘Why’ than anything else but that Why has to be about us because if we’re looking for a service, we want to know how it can changes our lives for the better.
I have been working with the delicious Kate Whyley who designs print for scarves, headbands and stationery. She is FABULOUS and I adore her! She brought some of her notebooks to a networking event I attended. I loved them but wouldn’t buy there and then.
But after speaking to Kate for five quick minutes before I had to race off to the airport I thought about it. She had told me this wonderful story of how she started her business. She wasn’t trying to make a sale, she was just explaining to me how it all started. It was a beautiful story of how she had loved her grandmother’s scarf and how it had become worn over time but she couldn’t bare to part with it. So it inspired her to start designing and making her own. It really touched me. And when I saw her for her Brand Coaching session I said to her gently but frankly…
“Kate, I love your designs, but I wouldn’t have paid £22 for one of your notebooks off the shelf in a store. Not because they aren’t worth that because they absolutely are! Purely because I’m a massive tightarse and never spend a lot of money on anything, also I already have like 25 notebooks!! HOWEVER, after hearing your story, how personal your ‘Why’ was and how passionate you are about what you do…..I would TOTALLY spend £22 on one of your notebooks!”
And THAT, ladies, is the power of having a Personal Brand!
IN CONCLUSION ‘N’ STUFF
That personal touch is the real attraction for your ideal client in many cases because most of us would rather work with someone we felt we had gotten to know than a faceless corporate giant.
In building a beautiful personal brand something wonderful happens. You’ll find that you no longer having passing customers, who buy once and disappear into the night. You’ll begin to cultivate lasting relationships with loyal clients who recommend you to their friends and shout about you from the rooftops.
So please, please, stop assuming that you need to be uber professional online. You don’t! In fact, please don’t! Let your beautifully, unique personality shine through.
If you see yourself as a sole trader or an entrepreneur there’s absolutely no reason why you couldn’t up-level to becoming a Personal Brand. With guidance it’s easy and massively beneficial when you really get into it.
Check out my Personal Brand Mentoring options here.