If there’s one thing you should take away from this article, it’s this:
There is no off-switch to branding. It is always on. It is always present. You can dismiss it and ignore it, but that won’t change anything.
Alright. That’s what you should remember. But what does it actually mean?
There is no off-switch to branding: Everyone on this earth is branding themselves (and their company if they’re working).
Some, who do not put any thought to their own brand, most likely brand themselves poorly.
Some, who have a clear strategy and vision of their own brand, have most likely seen good results from their efforts.
But the one thing that these two types of people have in common, is that they both do have a personal brand.
There is no such thing as “no brand”. Poorly executed brands, yes. Incoherent and confusing brands, yes. But a non-existent brand? No.
There are also people who seem to think that the mere concept of branding is reserved for those who have studied it…
Many of the people I’ve met, be it friends, business acquaintances, or anyone I’ve ever bought something from, seem to be having a weird view on branding (and marketing as a whole).
Discussions and questions about sales and marketing are often met with statements such as:
“Oh here comes the marketing talk”
“Yeah I don’t really care that much about sales”
But like the bolded paragraph in the beginning of this article mentions, your opinion on the matter is moot…
Many associate branding with multinational corporations and widely renown products. And that does make sense.
Brands such as Coca-Cola and McDonald’s spend ludicrous sums on marketing and communication every year. As such, you can imagine how important their brand image is for them.
However, few people consider that branding doesn’t necessarily require that much capital. And also, it is definitely not a thing reserved only for the big players.
I’ll go as far to say that no matter what you do, who you are, or where your ambitions lie, you can’t go wrong with putting a bit of thought into your personal brand.
You can obviously go wrong with the actual branding decisions, as many before you have, for instance Harley Davidson starting to sell baby stuff.
But the worst decision you can make, is to not make a decision at all.
What will persistent personal branding lead to?
Everything. Anything. But never nothing – that is what dismissing personal branding leads to.
Let’s make one thing clear from the start:
You are missing out on a lot of exciting opportunities if you are not branding yourself. Both in your professional and personal life.
You can be incredibly good at what you’re doing, but the truth is few people care about anything else than themselves.
And that’s your entry.
By coming up with a clear and realistic branding strategy and executing on it every day, you’ll notice things starting to happen over time.
On a general level, things such as increased customer retention, sales, brand loyalty, more brand ambassadors…
Want specifics? Those I can’t give you without knowing the backstory.
Feel free to drop your email, and some details on your particular situation.
I’ll give you the specifics based on the info you give me.
No fees, just helping out.
What happens if you dismiss personal branding?
One of my friends is great at fixing cars. In fact, great is an understatement.
Years upon years of learning and applying has made him a natural at his craft.
I’m convinced that he could easily start a repair shop in his neighborhood and actually reap the rewards of the work he’s done all his life. But I know he’d struggle with sales in the beginning. Why?
Because even if you are an absolute wizard at fixing car engines, at what point will your customers actually know (not believe) that?
…When they’ve already bought your services. In other words, they’ve put a lot of trust and faith in that you can do what you advertise.
Branding is removing this trust and faith needed to buy! (For every customer that takes this leap of faith, there will be many more who didn’t.)
How to approach personal branding
Having a clear brand strategy in place will also make your daily decision-making and action-taking a lot easier.
“Is this congruent with the brand I want to portray?”
“Is this something a person with this brand would do?”
Do this in every interaction and decision in your life, and you’ll see the results compound over time. Your brand will become an unbreakable cycle of:
“So do I really have to think about every action I do from this frame of view in the future!?”
Well, yes and no.
Yes, in the beginning you will be required to focus on it more.
No, the more you do it the easier it becomes. And the profits from this won’t disappear anywhere.
Examples of Good (Personal) Branding
The end-goal of branding yourself is to become synonymous with something. And (feel free to disagree with me) that’s what I feel the actors below have done:
Looking for a hotel? Trivago.
Soft drinks? Coke.
SEO advice? Neil Patel. (There are many other great bloggers in this niche though. I just picked the first name I thought of. Which, again, is the goal of branding yourself.)
Content Management System? WordPress.
And so on, and so on…
[The niche you’re in]? You.
Ok, at this point in this article we’ve established that:
- Personal branding is important
- Personal branding will increase your sales
- You’re missing out by not focusing on personal branding
But what hasn’t been mentioned yet, is how…?
How will Personal Branding Help Me?
Let’s list everything in one place:
- Increased sales
- More brand authority -> More trust -> Less buyer resistance
- More sales -> More buzz -> More sales -> More buzz (what is “buzz”? Read more about it here)
- More coherent decision-making (less mental energy put in, you already have a plan)
- Increased authority
- Attract better talent for job openings
- Attract better partnerships for improving the business
- Go from “from where are you calling again?” to “oh yeah I’ve heard about you guys”
- Increased business potential
- Do something well, and you’ll make your customers happy
- Let people know you do something well, and you’ll attract happy customers, employees, business partners, opportunities.
- Increased networking opportunities
The list above is quite heavy, and I could write separate articles on each point. And I might. Watch this space.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habitWill Durant
The best and easiest way to make this switch, is to make it a habit.
A way of life.
Faking something might work for some time, but in the long run that tactic will crash and burn.
What anyone should focus on when it comes to personal branding, is a steady focus on the long-term, and to never stray from the path.
Say you own a cafeteria in the downtown area of your city. One great way to brand your business is to actually care about your customers.
Start with actually caring, and the rest will re-adjust and take care of itself.
You’ll greet every customer warmly, and be genuinely happy to see them.
Start and never stop. They’ll start choosing your café more often simply because “the owner is so nice” and “I really feel welcomed there”.
Ever wonder why Starbucks writes your name on the cup and add a smiley? Because they are your friends, they know you on a first-name basis!
So, to butcher one of the greatest quotes of all time for the sake of ending this article with a powerful message:
We are what we repeatedly do. Personal branding, then, is not an act, but a habitNot Will Durant