Written by Francesca Sissa (Senior Marketing Consultant) at WBC UK
Even if you don’t know what “personal branding” truly means, it is almost certain you have it already. In fact, it is what appears on Google when you search your name, what you share on social media, the posts/comments your friends tag you in, the pages you like and the people you follow.
Personal branding has always been part of society even when it was not given a name yet. For instance, old populations like the Greeks and Romans were used to promote their skills in their daily lives through books, public speeches and portraits.
However, the first time a hypothetic definition of “personal branding” was ever mentioned in 1937 in the renowned book titled “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, in which it was stated “it should be encouraging to know that practically all the great fortunes began in the form of compensation for personal services, or from the sale of ideas” (Gulati, 2009). Then, multiple papers and books were written on this topic and a clearer definition given: “it is marketing applied to a person through the creation of content that enhances its reputation” (Henderson, 2019).
Personal Branding Today
Nowadays, a strong personal brand is key since it is going to influence how recruiters or potential employers perceive you as a person and your capabilities, and thus your career. As a matter of fact, it was estimated that 85% of HR professionals are influenced by the online presence of applicants when hiring, 70% of them have rejected job seekers’ applications after looking at the content they shared on the internet, and 90% of recruiters search for candidates online (Erskine, 2016). Moreover, your brand also affects customers’ perception of you and your firm. In fact, an employee that has a strong personal brand is eight times more capable of converting leads into customers, and 4 out of 5 customers are more likely to do business with a company if their senior managers are active on social media such as LinkedIn (Pope, 2020).
An example of a public figure that has an extremely powerful personal branding is Gary Vaynerchuk, one of the most successful entrepreneurs in America, author of five best-selling books, CEO of VaynerMedia and Chairman of VaynerX. He has used social media to build his career by frequently posting content that is perfectly targeted to its audience, being active in multiple platforms (YouTube, Spotify, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.), providing motivational speeches to his followers, but mostly by being himself (Influencer Marketing, 2021).
4 Tips to Make Your Personal Brand Stand Out
Here are 4 tips that will help you strengthen your personal brand!
#1 Be Authentic
Sharing articles, posts and pictures that truly represent who you are is going to ease the content creation process and will help you build a community that has the same values as you (Forbes, 2018). Try to find your USP (what makes you different from others) and write about it, or focus on your expertise on a specific topic and produce thought leadership content on it. Moreover, being authentic does not only mean focusing on successes, knowledge and positive experience but also failure and negative events that have happened in your life. Nowadays, people trust and want to interact with other human beings that are not perfect versions of them.
#2 Tell a Story
Many scientific papers emphasise the effectiveness of stories to remember something. The same applies to personal branding. As the CEO of Skyword stated, today, monologues that describe you and your abilities are not as effective as they were in the past and are going to negatively affect your brand (Forbes, 2018). However, if you share a story that expresses who you are, what you like and what you do, through your online content, the audience response is extremely likely to be positive. Furthermore, videos would be a valuable starting point since they are one of the most powerful means to share a message and create a bond between you and your followers.
#3 Don’t focus on everything
Just like in marketing, sharing personal branding content on every platform and targeting everyone is not considered to be effective at all. First, define your goals, then decide which topic you are going to mainly cover and who you want your audience to be, and then select the platform that better fits your objectives. For example, if you are seeking a job, creating a strong personal branding on LinkedIn that targets potential employers through content that proves your expertise in your field might be an extremely efficacious strategy. Additionally, if you aim to attract consumers’ attention through personal branding, you could focus on a niche market that will allow you to enter a solid community and might open numerous doors (Forbes, 2018).
#4 Consistency is Key
Nowadays, the internet is overcrowded with content, and every single day, its volume increases more and more. That is why it is crucial you share personal branding posts, articles and images frequently. But quantity is not the only aspect that needs consistency, quality is also key. Everything that you post online needs to represent who you are and focus on your uniqueness in the best possible way. Otherwise, your audience will start questioning your skills and eventually losing interest in you.
In conclusion, it is clear that building a strong personal brand is not as easy as it might look like but, by following a few steps and creating an action plan, you are likely to be able to enhance your reputation, create your online community and positively affect your career.
This article is part of an exchange series of articles started in collaboration between ConQuest Consulting and its British partner WBC UK. It has been written and produced by WBC UK.