As an entrepreneur, when you first start out on your business journey, before your company has developed a reputation of its own, you are the brand. In other words, before people will trust your company or product, they need to buy into you.
This means you have to pay attention to both your personal brand and your company brand at the same time, and they need to sit well together. Obviously, as your business develops, you’ll be able to spend more time and money on cementing your company brand through targeted marketing activities and on building the personal brands of other key individuals in the company, but when you’re starting out, the best place to begin is with “Brand YOU”.
A personal brand, if positioned correctly, can play a huge role in helping people to understand why you are the best possible person to partner with in your line of work. It creates credibility and gravitas. People always want to know about the leaders behind great businesses. Think of the fascination with Steve Jobs or Elon Musk. People want to know why great entrepreneurs do what they do. If you position and market your personal brand effectively, you are giving answers to those questions.
Many entrepreneurs forget this aspect of branding, however. They focus solely on the organisational brand without giving thought to their own personal brands. By focusing on both, you double your chances of success.
While business branding is about claiming your place in the market, keeping your product or services top of mind and the distinct personality of your organization, personal branding is about demonstrating your credibility in your field of work and marketing yourself as an expert at what you do.
When your personal brand and your business brand align and there’s no gap between the two, you achieve your goals faster. Both types of branding should focus on building key relationships and showing people and customers the value you and your company can add, and how you can solve their problems.
With aligned personal and business brands, it’s easier to build trust because there is consistency. You’re also reaching more people, because you have a multi-pronged approach. You have better reach and you’re connecting with people on a personal and business level.
While personal branding is important for anyone who wants to achieve greater business success, I would say that for entrepreneurs, it’s even more so because initially your business will be built around your personal brand. For every marketing activity you put into place for your company, come up with one for your personal marketing campaign too, whether it’s contributing an article to an industry publication, speaking at a trade event, hosting a workshop on industry issues, or writing thought leadership articles on your company blog.
Take this tandem approach to branding and you’ll stack the deck in your favour as you build your business.