I was having a discussion this week with someone about recognizing how we have all built a personal brand & how it relates to how we are seen in business, how it informs our social interactions, peer groups and how others relate to us.
'Personal branding' sounds like its something for celebrity and Rock Star management doesn't it.
Think about it, to a certain extent we have all been defining our personal brand since we arrived on the planet, we accept that its just happened and we have no real influence over it. Its a subconscious thing about who we have become as a result of our life experiences, you know family, work, relationships etc.
You know, all that good/bad stuff that's happened to all of us along life's journey, likes/dislikes, prejudices, preferences, friendships etc - without a doubt its helped form who we are, why we do what we do and ultimately how others perceive us.
Someone once said that 100% of how we feel is based upon 90% of how we react to things.
We tend to 'react' to things based on all the stuff I just described, and how we react is simply part of our ingrained personality.
In summary people trust people who they have got to know, it helps if someone else can refer them but the dynamics of building 'trust' is still a two way process and requires some degree of investment from BOTH parties. If you're personal (or business brand) is at odds with the 'trust me' bits you are trying to get across then your brand (personal or otherwise) is not aligned & it confuses the crap out people.
I'm a marketing guy who is fascinated with the big question 'why do people select one brand/business with similar products/services over another'? - C'mon you have to admit its a pretty big question and one that brand & marketing teams spend an inordinate amount of time over in order to persuade you & me that Coke is better than Pepsi, BMW is better than Mercedes, McDonalds is better than Burger King etc.
So, back to the point about personal branding and the question I often get asked
Q) What on earth has a personal brand got to do with me & my business?
A) Everything and more in today’s socially connected world.
Your personal brand & that of your business are of course different - but, your social footprint says lots about both of you - who you are, what motivates you and hopefully ‘why’ you do what you do. Your digital & social footprint reflect how others perceive who you both are - its a huge part of your own personal 'social proof' - fact!
Thing is, from what we can evidence most of the time they are completely out of sync.
Especially with leadership teams which is the most worrying because whenever I am asked to help 'fix' a brand/business its usually because the leadership team have lost sight of the internal alignment of the company/brand purpose and inadvertently communicate this externally.
68% of prospects (Gartner/Forrester) have already done their research long before they connect with you.8-10 Internal Stakeholders are now involved in that research and buying decisionThey collectively invest over 40+ hours doing that research.
If you don’t manage how potential clients perceive you and your business they will make up their own mind. And if your competitor does a better job at that than you, chances are you won’t even be in the conversation, let alone the sale.
That’s why understanding the power of harnessing ‘Social Selling’ is vital to your competitive edge.
Confused companies, confuse customers, who buy from someone else. Unless of course your products are so cheap and competitors so weak it does not matter.