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Personal branding: Showing value vs. showing off

Glen Carlson
Entrepreneur

Glen Carlson is an award winning entrepreneur, speaker and co-founder of Key Person of Influence, Australia's ninth fastest growing company in 2014

Glen Carlson
Entrepreneur

Glen Carlson is an award winning entrepreneur, speaker and co-founder of Key Person of Influence, Australia's ninth fastest growing company in 2014

Personal branding can help you build your business, create engagement with customers and give insights into your values. So why do so many businesses shy away?

When it comes to positioning yourself and your small business as influential, many of us forget about personal branding – the ability to create a positive name and increase mind share.  In fact, personal branding is actually nothing new. Celebrities from Donald Trump to Kanye West have mastered the art of personal branding, and are now some of the biggest players in their industries. But it’s not the domain of celebrities exclusively, all business owners can start building their own. 

Consider that there are three types of brands you can develop; a business brand like IBM, a product brand like Samsung Galaxy and a personal brand like Jamie Oliver.

Small business owners particularly often resist building a personal brand because they’re worried about losing their privacy, being seen as showy or not knowing where to start. These fears are unfounded. The right personal brand can help your business grow, thrive and even reach new markets.  The secret though, is getting it right and ensuring it matches you, your values and what you stand for as a business owner.

Man standing against brick wall next to a garden of succulents

Stay true to yourself

We’ve all come across that guy who decided to bleach his teeth a bright shade of neon and start wearing the same coloured shirt in the name of ‘brand consistency’.  He’s the guy who’s great at making himself the centre of attention, but often not much else.  Unfortunately, this does little for developing his ability to influence.

It’s a mistake to think of your brand in terms of some showy veneer.  Instead, consider your brand in terms of your reputation – your personal brand should represent you and what you’re known for.

I want you to imagine that a handful of key people in your industry get together for a dinner party and your name comes up in conversation. Wouldn’t it be nice (and great for business) if you could pre-determine what they say about you?  Of course it would – and that’s the power a personal brand can give you. Remember, it’s not about creating a show for the masses, it’s about engineering a powerful reputation amongst the other key people of influence in your industry.

Don’t think of your brand in terms of some showy veneer, instead consider your brand in terms of your reputation

- GLEN CARLSON, KPI

Creating the right conversations

Let’s say you’re a new player in the construction industry. In this example, you might like the heavy hitters in this field talking to each other about how they've heard you’ve “exploded onto the scene”. Even better if the word going around is that you have a strong track record for consistently bringing in projects ‘on time and under budget’. It’s these kinds of conversations that can really help your business and personal brand.

It takes more than just time

It can take decades to build a reputation in your industry organically.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard someone say “I’ll just let my good work speak for itself” and two or three years later, despite consistent good (and hard) work, they’re still struggling.

The stark reality is that in today’s hyper competitive market, being good at what you do isn’t enough. To give you a head start, I’ve shared five principles used by leading industry influencers.

The 5 key principles used by people of influence

  1. They perfect their pitch so they become known for being able to clearly articulate their value.
  2. They publish their thoughts in blogs or articles (like this one) so they become known (and, fingers crossed, respected) for their ideas.
  3. They create products so they become known for solving specific problems for a specific niche.
  4. They have a strong profile online and in the media so they attract more inbound opportunity.
  5. They partner with key people and brands so they become known by the people they associate with.

Instead of thinking about your brand in terms of image or show, focus on developing yourself in each of these areas. Used correctly, they will become the bedrock of a powerful and successful personal brand.

Are you looking for more ways to help build your brand with loyal clients?

Read about Turning Online Relationships Into Customers.

Find out more

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