What is personal branding?

When we think about a brand we mostly think about a logo and a website may be. We are thinking of big companies who are well established and well known brands. However EVERY business, whatever its size is a brand and should be branded well.
Read here what branding is and why it is so important.

 In addition the word personal branding is also used more and more these days and often people don't really understand what that actually means and that personal branding is not constrained to celebrities.

In this blog post I want to write about what personal branding is, why it is so important and how you can implement it for yourself immediately.

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 What does personal branding mean

You are different from other people. You behave differently, you dress differently, you know different things, you speak differently. You are representing yourself a certain way. Whether you think about it or not. The way you dress, the way you speak, the way you entertain, the way you raise your kids, the way you walk everything makes you unique and people perceive you in a certain way.

All of this together creates your reputation. It creates what other people say about you when you are not in the room.

By changing yourself and the way you look and behave you can influence the way you are being perceived. And over the long run you can change your reputation.

This is personal branding.

As soon as you represent your own company or even the company you work for, you might be a different self, a different kind of person, a different brand. You might like to dress very casually at home and are a very relaxed person, you might dress up for work and use a different language and behavior. You are adapting to your workplace.

You are being a brand or part of a brand!

Branding online

Personal branding is also the way you are being seen online.  

We all have some sort of profile online these days. So whenever a company is hiring somebody or anybody wants to find something out about you, they go to Google. Think about it, what do you do when you want to find out more about someone? Have you googled anybody recently?

I encourage you to have a look yourself, what comes up when you google your name?

When somebody wants to hire your company or hire you, they will look you up online. If they can relate to you and 'like' you online, the chances of being hired are so much higher.

If you want to or not you are representing yourself online in some way or the other.

Therefore it is so important to start thinking about your personal online presence - your personal brand online.

 Think about how you want to be perceived!

  • How you want to appear online?

  • Where can you be found?

  • Where do you want to be found?

  • What can be found out about you

Why personal branding is important

As I explained above we can all be found online. So whether we work in corporate, are self employed, want to go back to the workforce after having kids, personal branding is so important these days because everyone can be found online.

However this is not the only reason. The main reason is that we want to give our business a personality and we want for our customers or clients to feel a connection with our brand and business.

Think about why and how we make buying choices. Why do we buy an iPhone and not a Samsung for example? Why do we buy Pampers instead of Huggies? Why do we buy Coke instead of Pepsi? Why do we go to Starbucks instead of Costa? Or vice versa of course. These are just some examples of brands who create a feeling in us with their brand. The way they show up, in terms of design, story, appearance, taste, smell and so on.

Of course we make logical buying decisions and according to price or we buy because we want to fit in. We buy because we want to make a statement. We buy because we want to do good. And the list goes on.

However our emotions play a huge part in our buying decisions. We also buy because of a feeling. We buy because we can relate. We buy because of a connection.

And that is why as an entrepreneur, a small business owner or solo-preneur personal branding can become an essential part of your business. Branding yourself and positioning yourself can help your business tremendously.  With a strong personal brand behind your business, especially if you are the business you will be relatable, you will give your brand a heart and a personality and people will feel a connection to you.

People don't only relate to a brand, they also relate to the person behind the brand.

When we buy a product or service we are looking for that personal contact. We want to see if we connect or not. If we like the person behind the brand and trust her or him.

That is why personal branding is so important.

Personal branding for entrepreneurs

As entrepreneurs we are often kind of one with our business. By using yourself as a brand you can support your business tremendously. It is a great way to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Again as nobody is the same and everyone has a different story to tell, you can use your personality to be different.

And of course you will make your business more relatable and make your brand more personal.

Link: Read about about this here: Is your business about you.

This is also a huge advantage you have towards the big and known businesses. For them it is much harder to be personal. Use this advantage! Tell your story, be intriguing and be personal and go the extra mile - on your website, on social media and when interacting with your customers in person.

 Use personal branding to your advantage, still many people don't.

 Live your brand and embody everything your brand is about - it will also give you the confidence in selling your brand!

How you can start branding yourself

  1. Your vision

As a starting point you need to think about your personal vision:

  • Who am I?

  • What do I stand for?

  • What do I want to be known for?

  • What are my beliefs?

  • What is my style?

And: how can my personal brand help my business. What is my goal?

Write the answers down.

2. Your online brand

Secondly you can see what can be found online about you and then you can see if that is what you want to be found and if it’s how you want to be perceived

3. Your look

Then you can start thinking about your personal style. The way you look is a big part of your brand. I keep on saying that but we are all visual people, whether we think we are or not. (Also whether we want to be or not!) So the way you look will influence people. People will already make up their mind about you before they have spoken to you.

That’s why make sure you look like your brand. See how your look will fit to your business.

You will automatically adapt to your business. As an example, if you have a very corporate business you will probably dress also a more corporate style. If you are in the music industry you will automatically dress more ‘cool’ may be and more like the musicians you might be working with. If you are a fitness coach you will be in your sport clothes a lot.

But these are extreme examples. You can be in the middle somewhere. Then you need to sit down and think about how you want your brand to be perceived and how you can enhance that with your appearance.

It will also give you yourself more confidence and you will feel more connected to your brand.

4. Your story

Now you can start working on your story. On your voice. Not only the tone of voice but the story you are telling with your voice. This story or these stories will make you relatable and trustworthy. And you can show that you are an expert in your field.

  • What is your story behind your business?

  • How is your story unique?

  • How are you telling this story?

  • What words are you using?

Being honest and real is what we all need in this glitz and glamour world and in the world of the perfect online appearance.

5. Show you expertise

I don’t mean you need to say how you are the expert in your field. Not everybody can be the expert. But show what your strengths are and what your knowledge is. And show proof if possible. Write down why you are the right person to trust. You can use this for yourself and rely on or you can use this on your website and social media for example.

And lastly, building a brand and with it the trust takes time. It won’t be done overnight. Not for a business and not for a person. So take your time- but start. Slowly but surely and with intention.

And always remember, you and your business won’t be able to suit everyone. There will be people who love you and your business, there will be people who just like you and your business and there will be people who don’t like you and your business. That is normal. Chances are though, that if you make your business relatable through you, you will find your niche and your true fans and your loyal customers.

Have a great day and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

xx Emilia

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