In today’s competitive business landscape, brands need to stand out in a sea of competition. It’s not enough to simply offer an in-demand product or a service and use direct marketing tactics to drive sales. Brands must market to their target audiences on a human level. Consumers want to know the people behind the brand. More importantly, they want to know that marketers and stakeholders recognize them not just as numbers—but as real people.
That’s where personal branding comes in. It’s about communicating your goals, beliefs, and values to your audience. It involves building human connections through storytelling and crafting a public persona for your business. Most importantly, it means giving your audience something—or someone—to relate to.
In this article, we’ll dig into the concept of personal branding and examine why it’s crucial for brand success and growth in the modern business environment. Let’s jump right in.
Personal Branding Explained
So what exactly is personal branding?
Personal branding is the process of creating a public persona for your brand that aligns with the purpose of your business and the values of your target audience. It’s like self-packaging for businesses. On a fundamental level, it’s how you promote your brand. Sounds simple enough right?
Personal branding is integrated into every aspect of your business. It relates to how you communicate with your followers, how you produce your products or services, and how you market them.
Digital marketing is an essential vehicle through which brands can establish themselves as genuine and personable. When your audience relates to what your brand says—in blog articles, social media posts, podcasts, paid advertising, etc—and shares the same values, they’re more likely to develop an affinity with your brand. Personal branding makes your brand more trustworthy, sustainable, and memorable.
Knowing your audience is key. Once you know who your audience is, you can start to tailor the idea and types of content you share to deliver value while establishing your brand as an expert in its field.
Why is Having a Personal Brand Important in Digital Marketing?
Many of the biggest brands in the world are so successful because they’ve carefully created a public persona that truly speaks to their audience on a personable level. However, only after five to seven impressions might someone recall a brand. For that reason, it’s important to develop a consistent personal brand.
In a digital world overflowing with eCommerce websites and the fruits of their content marketing efforts—your brand needs to stand out. The best way to do this? Create a personal brand that offers your audience something engaging and relatable.
It’s important to note that your personal branding is visible, whether you meant to create it or not.
For instance, when you publish a social media update or blog post, your personal brand develops through the tone of voice you use and the perspective you write from. If you don’t put much effort into personal branding, your audience likely has a disjointed and unclear picture of who’s behind your brand and the values they hold. This simply isn’t good business!
It’s important to take control of your personal brand narrative to ensure your audience gets the right impression.
This concept is better understood through successful examples. When you can understand which businesses have effectively crafted a personal brand for themselves—and compare it to those that haven’t—you’ll see what a difference it makes.
What does successful personal branding for a business look like?
Let’s turn to leading outdoor clothing brand Patagonia to illustrate exactly what great personal branding looks like.
Patagonia has cultivated their brand around the concept of environmental sustainability, appealing to an audience of environmentally conscious and outdoorsy people. It’s the go-to clothing brand for people who really care about the planet.
Their eco-friendly products are just part of their success. The minds behind Patagonia built a reputation by sharing content that expresses the company’s missions and values through topics of activism, eco-friendliness, and active lifestyles. The result? An extremely respectable brand that’s memorable and likable.
Sometimes creating a personal brand is about going against marketing norms—just like Patagonia does. Their Don’t Buy This Jacket marketing campaign told consumers to not buy a jacket.
That’s right—they created this (anti) Black Friday marketing campaign that encouraged users not to buy a Patagonia jacket. They emphasized that even if a piece of clothing is made from organic and recyclable materials, creating it does irreversible damage to the planet. In this way, Patagonia revealed that their moral purpose as a brand—to encourage people to think before they buy— was more important than selling a huge number of products on Black Friday.
Advantages of Personal Branding
So, in a nutshell, what are the advantages of creating a personal brand for your business?
1. It builds trust with your audience
When your audience knows who you are and the story of how your brand came to, they can better understand what drives and motivates you. They’ll feel more inclined to do business with you knowing that you have genuine intentions and values. In other words—they’ll trust you.
2.It helps you stand out from your competitors
Your brand’s personal story is what differentiates you from the competition. The more effort you spend creating content that expresses who you are and establishes you as a leader in your field, the more your audience will turn to your brand when the time comes. Personal branding is what makes you appealing—what makes you stand out.
3. It attracts more opportunities
A personal brand that expresses your company values, purpose, is and achievements generates authenticity. When an audience sees your brand as authentic, they’re more likely to tell like-minded people about it. What’s more, when an audience trusts your brands they’re more likely to become loyal and long-lasting customers.
How to Develop a Personal Brand and Use It to Grow Your Business
Not sure where to begin your personal branding efforts? Below are some tips to help you get started.
1. Determine your purpose
Before you start creating content and marketing to your audience, you’ll need to determine your purpose.
What business goals do you have and what do you want your brand to be known for? What values are at the heart of your company? How do you want to develop your company culture?
Answering these questions will help you to develop a purpose that can inform how you develop and execute your personal branding strategy.
Having a focus will help you to come up with digital marketing campaigns that relate to your brand’s purpose. It’ll also help you to understand your strengths and weaknesses, as well as where you want to be in the future—so you better plan the actionable steps you need to take to get there.
2. Define your audience
Personal branding is all about knowing your audience. You’ll need to create buyer personas to know exactly who you’re marketing towards.
Are you a B2B company trying to reach other business leaders? Perhaps you’re marketing a consumer-focused activewear clothing brand? Or maybe your target audience is made up of mostly millennials?
There are many different factors to consider when defining your target audience. When you know who they are, what they need, and what challenges they face, the easier it’ll be to craft your personal brand story.
3. Research your industry
There’s a lot you can learn from your enemies. Okay, let’s call them “competitors”. When it comes to personal branding, it’s a good idea to look towards industry leaders for inspiration.
Check out the most popular brands in your industry to discover how they’re connecting with their audience and what kinds of stories they’re telling. Dig deep and see what kinds of content they’re sharing, what social platforms they’re active on, and how they interact with their audience.
Perhaps you’ll feel inspired, but you’ll also be able to look for gaps that you can fill. What are your target audience not getting from other brands? How can you offer them something unique that stands out and positions you as a leader? Once you’ve got a clear idea of how your competitors are using personal branding to their advantage, you can better understand how to do it so much better.
4. Create and share unforgettable content
Once you know what your purpose is, who you’re marketing to, and how to stand out from your competitors—it’s time to create some content.
When it comes to creating content, you should ensure each blog post, social media update, or email marketing campaign you create is imbued with personal branding. Everything you create should align with your brand’s goals, values, and beliefs. If you want your audience to engage with the content you create it needs to be timely and relevant.
Sharing great content is what’ll nurture leads, increase inbound sales, and keep your customers coming back for more. Moreover, it’s the vehicle through which you can tell your brand's story, show your personality, and provide value to your audience.
Ready to Find Out How Personal Branding Can Take Your Business to a Whole New Level?
Personal branding doesn’t happen overnight. Your brand’s personal narrative depends on how you cultivate your online presence and what you share with your audience. It’s about the platforms you’re present on and the stories you want to share with your audience.
When you start telling your audience who you really are, you’ll soon start to notice like-minded people actively engaging with the content you share. Those are the people who are likely to become lasting customers and ambassadors of your brand.
Sharing great content regularly requires organization.
Download our editorial calendar template today and start planning your content strategy with personality today.