We are all familiar with branding and how important it is when it comes to business, but fewer people are aware of the power of personal branding, and the benefits it can bring to your professional life.
Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos is famously quoted as saying “Your personal brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room”, and this could not be truer. In crowded, saturated markets, your personal brand is what will help you communicate your message and tell stories about yourself that will effectively convey your ideas, values and beliefs to a broader audience, while differentiating you from your competition.
Creating a personal brand that is genuine, value-driven and most importantly, authentic, allows you to elevate your own profile while distinguishing yourself from others in your field. This comes with increased visibility, while also helping you to attract and retain clients as you build your own personal brand.
Why authenticity is important
As we increasingly move towards being online more, it is all too tempting to present a more polished narrative about ourselves. People buy from those they trust, so having a personal brand rooted in telling a genuine story about yourself is key. While tempting, taking a “fake it ‘til you make it” approach to your brand will serve only to set you up for a fall further down the line
Truly effective marketing requires consistent repetition of a message to cement a lasting impression, which in turn requires a sustained effort to communicate this message. Ensuring your brand is true to who you are will make it easier for people to relate to your story and remove unnecessary barriers between you and your audience.
Values of authenticity
Your reputation and personal brand are inextricably linked to each other, and as such, take an investment of time to fully develop, requiring you to actively build your brand. There are certain key values to developing an authentic personal brand that should guide you as you start to develop your brand and your story.
The first is transparency, as being honest with your audience about your journey to success will make it far easier to tell your story in a consistent, engaging way. Being willing to share certain vulnerabilities about your journey is another key factor; opening up about some of the struggles and challenges you encountered along the way will do far more to make you relatable and to build authentic connections with others.
People are drawn to those who they can trust and will want to do business with people who they believe they can trust. Integrity is important for demonstrating your good intentions, and will lead to stronger, long-lasting business relationships.
Unlocking your authentic self
While it is normal to feel apprehensive about revealing your true self, and finding the right balance of how much of yourself to share with your audience, there are certain steps you can take towards building your brand based on who you really are.
Your brand should be a combination of telling your story, documenting your journey and sharing your thoughts, ideas and opinions with the world.
Developing your brand to be honest, genuine and driven by your values is key in elevating your own profile and building meaningful connections. No-one can out-compete you in being yourself, and a brand based on authenticity will enable you to focus on attracting an audience who are engaged with hearing your message, from you.
By Ash Jones - Founder and Director of fast-growing personal branding agency, Great Influence
Ash’s journey to business success started in 2014 when he became one of six founding team members of Social Chain – now one of the World’s most renowned social media agencies, with a public listing on the German Stock Exchange and revenue in excess of €620 million.
Header image by Valeria Quinci