Should you brand yourself or your business? The short answer is both. The better question is what should you brand first — your business or yourself?
Every brand, be it a personal brand or a business brand, needs to have a clear road map of the future. You must know where your brand wants to go, and how it’s going to go there. This starts with a brand strategy. From there, you need to understand the major differences between building a business brand and building a personal brand.
Business brands and personal brands both need to have a mission, vision and core values. They both need to serve an audience, and listen to the desires of said audience. The fundamental difference between a personal and a business brand is that in one case the customer falls in love with a person and in the other with an idea.
If for instance, you watch any of the public speaker or lecturer on YouTube episodes, the first thing you will notice is their raw personality and energy. Instantly, you either love or hate that particular presenter. It doesn’t matter what s/he is talking about. You decide if you like the person first — and then if you like the ideas s/he represents.
Statistically you have about three seconds to make a first impression. In three seconds people will either love or hate your brand. That’s the power of a personal brand. You use the natural tendencies of snap judgment to your advantage. The message is loud and clear and we decide if we like the person saying the message.
Conversely, if you like an idea but not the delivery — you won’t join the tribe. You won’t buy the products. So it’s important that you talk to the people who are actually listening
In fact, before you start trying to brand yourself or your company ask yourself: what will the customer fall in love with first? Me or the idea that I am representing — or both?
Building a personal brand is easier than building a business brand. It is easier to become known for something than it is to build a huge business. This is because people buy from other people. It is easier to connect with someone and say, “Hey, they are just like me!” It’s easier than, “Hey, I like what this company represents.”
In building a personal brand you take a stand against the status quo. You as a person still have to represent something unique. In fact, you are not a brand until you are leading a cause. And figuring out what cause to lead is half the battle.
In building a personal brand you also need to become a TV personality. This doesn’t mean you have to get on TV to have an effect, but if you can, that definitely helps. You have to find a medium to be your platform and start talking. The platform can be TV, podcasts, Periscope, blogging, and etcetera. The goal here is to start rallying people around you and your idea. You must educate people about the problem and talk about how to fix it. Basically, your brand has to become a media company around the niche you are in.
Words are wind — for all you “Game of Thrones” fans. Actions speak louder than words. If you want to build a personal brand, you must create results. Don’t just say “this is wrong” and do nothing. Take action, and make something happen.
The best time to do this is when nobody’s watching — when you have no brand, and nothing to leverage. Then when results happen, people will start paying attention. That’s when you earn the attention. The concepts to build a personal brand are simple. The execution of these concepts is what really matters.