What do influencers and business owners like Elon Musk, Arianna Huffington, Bill McDermott, and Richard Branson all have in common when it comes to their personal brands?
I posed this question during a personal branding breakout session I led at EcSell Institute’s 2019 Sales Coaching Summit (now rebranded as The Coaching Effect Summit) in Charlotte, NC back in April. There were some solid guesses, but no one guessed that all of these individuals have larger social media followings than the company brands they own, lead, or manage. Is that not crazy?!
In a study done by a global PR firm, Weber Shandwick, it found that global executives estimate that 44% of a company’s market value is attributable to CEO reputation. (Tweet this) Gary Vaynerchuck, entrepreneur and CEO of VaynerMedia, has known this for years and is why he doubles down on his personal brand just as much, if not more, than his media company.
I had the opportunity to visit Gary’s office in NYC back in 2017. As we were given our tour of the open concept office landscape, the comment was made that this (motioning to several desks and chairs) is where Gary’s personal brand team sits. “Say what?” is what I think came out of my mouth. It was explained to me that 12 individuals specifically worked on Gary’s personal brand, not VaynerMedia.
What seemed crazy to me at the time made complete sense to Gary and his team. He understood that the average person gets 561% more engagement sharing a brand message than when that same brand message is shared by a company on social media, (MSLGroup) so he built a team around him to help push out content.
If you're apart of an organization, this is why your marketing team pesters you to share company updates or announcements. We marketers are kind of annoying at times, but our intent is usually always to expand the company’s reach, and we can do that more efficiently through an employee’s voice, perspective, and personality.
You might be asking how you can build your personal brand without the help of 12 content creators. I see you! I hear you! I can help you! Here are three easy ways you can begin to build your personal brand:
Being the (insert your title here) at (insert your company’s name here) is not memorable enough, nor does it help anyone understand or remember the value that you bring. Dig deeper and really explore your purpose. One of my favorite ways to help people understand the value that they bring is to have them fill in the blanks to this statement:
I help (target market) (problem that you solve) by (solution you provide).
For example, mine is: I help individuals and companies become visible by creating content that drives awareness and business.
Having answers to that exact statement will provide so much clarity into the value that you provide. And clarity is next to godliness, oh wait, that's not how it goes, but it should be!
There are many ways to show up in this world through the gifts you have been innately given. Show them off by speaking at industry events, become a contributing blogger, or write a book like my colleagues did. Social media is one of the easiest ways to gain visibility quickly. No need to overwhelm yourself and go all out on ALL of them. Get really good at one (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and then expand, if it makes sense.
And if you're thinking, "Who am I to be the expert or influencer on xyz topic?" My response is, "Why NOT you?!" You have to believe in yourself and know that you have something to say or this is a waste of your time.
No one cares what you do or how you do it if they can’t find you. If you have a solution to share that helps solve a problem, then get noisy about it. Using hashtags, getting published, or receiving coverage/PR are great ways to pop up on search results. This will look different for everyone.
Some of you might be wondering how these three ideas contribute to immediate business growth which I will simply respond with this: Brand building is a long-term strategy. People and companies are continuously working to improve their brand images so that they can be trusted.
Consistency/Time = Trust
The more memorable, visible, and searchable you become over time, the more trust you will receive. (Tweet This) And that is what consumers want at the end of the day. A trusted source they can rely. So be that source of value, inspiration, and education and be patient. Your time will come.
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