It’s only recently that I have grown a deeper appreciation for personal brands. Prior to 2010, the idea of establishing a personal brand was a foreign concept to me. In 2010 Dre Armeda came up with perezbox, and the rest is history. It’s perhaps the single most impactful thing I have done for my own individual personal and professional growth.
While I don’t believe everyone needs a personal brand, I do believe that as a business owner it should be part of your larger go to market strategy.
The Value of a Personal Brand
Regardless of how you go about building your personal brand, I break the value into two parts:
1. Builds Rapport.
Rapport is a simple concept to understand. It’s the art of establishing a relationship with each other. Virtually, establishing rapport is tricky. Barbers for instances are often amazing at building rapport, making an otherwise mind numbing exercise of getting your hair cut enjoyable.
Establishing a personal brand helps you build your own rapport with your audience. That rapport helps people connect with you, and company by extension. If done right, with time your personal brand becomes synonymous with your subject.
2. Establishes Voice.
We each have our own voice. Regardless of how you build your brand, establish your authenticate voice. Share your thoughts, and don’t shy from your own opinion.
The greatest challenge you will have establishing your voice is looking right back at you in the mirror – yeah, it’s you. Don’t over think your voice, let it come naturally.
These are not meant to be all-inclusive, but they are the two value propositions I find most important. While I have not been able to draw a clear, objective, line between personal and company brands, I am confident an association exists.
This is especially true in direct to consumer product businesses.
Building Your Personal Brand
How you build your brand is on you. The values though are the same regardless of medium. Building your brand is not about blogging as much as it is leveraging the many mediums at your disposal, and not just media platforms.
If you look at my friend Steve Zehngut, he doesn’t blog. His personal brand is established in the way he engages in person, the talks he gives, and self-less contributions to his communities. My other friend Chris Lema does it differently, he leverages every medium (e.g., blogging, social, presentations, video, etc…) at his disposal in addition to his greater than life personality and uncanny ability to draw audiences with his amazing story-telling ability.
If you know my friends, you might be inclined to cry foul – “Wait a minute Tony, both these guys are charismatics extroverts that have this uncanny ability to draw people in… ”
Let’s take a look at my other friend Daniel Cid. He’s the complete opposite of both Steve and Chris when it comes to personality type. In many ways categorized as an eccentric introvert driven by strong idealogical perspectives on how the world should work. His brand has been built through his amazing engineering mind. His ability to build solutions to problems that many might not realize they have. And his desire to share it freely with the world.
Your Greatest Roadblock
Regardless of the tactics you employ, the importance of a personal brand are undeniable to me. Your ability to do it is not driven by personality, but willingness to allow yourself to be open.
It is not easy.
I know this because I write this more for myself than you. Like you, I suffer from an inferiority complex on a variety of subjects from business, sales, marketing, product management, website security, etc… the list goes on. Ironic, I know. Hands down, this will be your greatest roadblock on your brand development. That and laziness, but that’s a story for a different day.
The secret to breaking through the roadblock is easier said than done, and not much of a secret.
Recognize that you suffer from the complex, appreciate it, then push it to the side and do it anyway. It will pay you in dividends; regardless of what you’re trying to accomplish: increased exposure, new opportunities or economic in nature.