Small businesses often struggle to stand out in a crowded marketplace. They look at their competitors and wonder how they can get a competitive advantage; should they be cheaper? Should their services be more elaborate, delivered faster, or offer more long-term support? While all of these questions are important, there’s one way that you might not have considered as a way you can get ahead of your competitors: develop a personal brand.
What is a personal brand?
A personal brand is a brand that is a representation of you, not of your business as a whole. While you and your business may share many (or all) of the same values, a personal brand is a reflection of who you really are. It gives your customers someone to relate to and turn to as an expert.
Why do you need a personal brand as a small business owner?
- Small businesses benefit from having a “face” – While huge global corporations can do just fine without someone leading as the face of the brand, small brands need to create connections with customers on a personal level to create customer loyalty. Putting a face to your business gives your customers someone to trust; remember, people buy from people they know, like, and trust, not from faceless businesses.
- It’s easier to resonate with people – think about a podcast you listen to, you likely found it for the content, but you stick around for the people. We just won’t stay with a brand if we do not resonate with the face of the brand, even if the content’s gold. That means you have an opportunity to truly find your people who want to stick with you over your competitors.
- Provides better networking opportunities – if you’re looking for businesses to network with, do you look for their people or what they’re doing? While networking opportunities can come your way through your business, you’re going to get far more opportunities when you are an approachable human putting yourself out there.
- You become an expert – Content marketing is all geared towards making your business an authority in your industry, but you can do the same for yourself – and likely have an easier time doing it. A personal brand is all about sharing what you know with your audience, and that means you’re more likely to get invited to speak at industry events, guest speak on podcasts, and guest on industry webinars to share what you know.
- Reduces how long it takes people to go from awareness to customer – when people get to know you, they develop trust for your brand far sooner than they would if they only ever saw your business branding. That means they’ll be more likely to buy from you sooner because they know, like, and trust you.
How do you develop a personal brand?
You can develop a personal brand the same way you do a business brand:
- Define your target audience: this is usually the same as your business’s target audience.
- Define what your values are: your values may be the same, but you will likely present them differently or more obviously than your business does. Think about how this will form your messaging.
- Define what you are and are not willing to share: Some people are willing to share all aspects of their lives, while others prefer to keep their home lives private. There’s no right or wrong way, but it’s a good idea to decide ahead of time so you can speak with confidence.
- Build your online presence: Use social media to build your online presence and network with others. Consider how you can use content marketing to build your authority in your industry. For example, you could start a podcast for your business with one of your employees or a business friend.
Ultimately, developing a personal brand boosts your brand loyalty, develops trust, and reduces the time it takes for someone to go from awareness to customer. These are all things we want as small business owners, but actually developing a personal brand can be overwhelming. If you need guidance on how to move forward, we’re here to help. We offer consultations for small business owners who are ready to start their personal brand but aren’t sure where to start. To find out more and to book your consultation, click here.