Hydra Digital is founded on bringing the best consultants and experts together to deliver for our customers with a dedication to demystifying marketing and empowering our customers and readers with great advice. This week, personal branding powerhouse and premium partner of Hydra Digital Sue Parker delivers an important message about personal branding and the importance of getting your brand in order before investing in advertising.
Founder and Chief Human of DARE Group Australia. A Personal & Business Branding, LinkedIn and Marketing communications specialist she DARES her clients to step out and thrive. Sue works with professional and creative services businesses whether they are at the launch, rebrand or growth stage
Having owned recruitment, marketing and branding agencies for over 15 years she has a unique background from media, education and training. A regular contributor to many business media publications, podcasts and radio Sue walks her talk and is a valued partner of Hydra Digital.
Whether you are a CEO of an ASX company, a director of an enterprise, a solo operator or an owner of an SME, your personal brand matters. A personal brand has always been fundamental to reputation, growth and success. But in today’s digital world, and particularly over the last 10 years it holds even more relevance. No longer a nice to have but a must have. It is often the only way to differentiate a business in a cluttered market.
The impact of personal brands can have a negative or positive effect on the clients, suppliers, networks and staff you want to attract. What hasn’t changed though pre-Google and the digital age is word of mouth branding. It’s now actually intensified on social media, websites and other review touchpoints.
We are saturated with content, digital overwhelm and social media fatigue. This has further driven the need for laying the foundations and communicating of relatable, credible and likeable personal brands. But we are frequently bombarded with lazy, banal and/or disingenuous company and personal mission statements and offers. Consumers have so much choice. And with that choice comes confusion in a sea of sameness.
Everyone is grappling and vying for a chunk of their market pie. And a chunk that is profitable and sustainable. And inundated with cliché expectations to become a thought leader, influencer, person of authority to increase success has become tiresome and inappropriate for many. These labels are terribly overused and misused creating a great deal of angst and branding denial. Over the last few years I have observed 3 main responses to how (and if) personal branding is crafted, managed and communicated:
- Ignore – head in the sand – hide, nil or negligible footprint
- Over the Top – hyperbole, self-aggrandizement, presence saturation
- Neutral – boring, vanilla tone and no gravitas or differentiation
We all have a personal brand – be it perceived as positive or negative. A personal brand is the sum total of our: Why, Values, Skills, Career, History, Appearance, Personality, Character, Genius, Missions, Beliefs and Goals.
But most importantly it is how we are experienced and perceived. And how we are perceived and experienced needs to be aligned to the clients we want to attract and influence to buy from our business. And also the staff and suppliers that will help reach our objectives.
The questions of ‘Who do I want to attract’, Who is my audience, What are my client’s needs etc are the building blocks of positioning your brand. You want your brand essence to be conducive to influence and entice your ideal clients, staff or suppliers. From there you align what your Who, What, Where, Why and Values into marketing your brand.
It’s tacit that people buy from those they Know-Like-Trust. So accepting the Know-Like-Trust model and that invariably 8-12 touchpoints are required before a prospect engages (especially in service sectors then it makes total sense to undertake personal branding and positioning BEFORE all other marketing and digital activities.
The whole purpose of digital (and offline) marketing is to take prospects to either your website, landing page offers or social media pages. And as humans looking for a stronger sense of connection and trust, your brand needs to demonstrate who you are with transparency and value. It will be key to combating competition and taking ownership of a chunk of your market pie.
Your personal brand has to be authentic (ok another overused word). But truly it is the nugget of gold that will differentiate you and your business. Everyone scrambles to ‘be ‘the best’ in their sector. But being ‘different’ is actually more powerful in many respects. Weaving that intuitively into personal branding and other communications is a very clever strategy.
Clarifying and communicating your personal brand (at a CEO, enterprise or solo level) will amplify the impact of all other marketing, campaigns and PR. And PR is a really important and often ignored element of personal branding and digital campaigns.
If you are about to launch a robust digital campaign, Google AdWords, sales funnel or website upgrade, get your personal brand/s in order. The benefit is higher conversions, greater trust, more enquiries and a solid platform for business sustainability and market spend cut through.
A few tips
Be unique to you, don’t be lazy and follow others, don’t use clichés, show vulnerability, appreciate your own value. Not everyone is or can be a thought leader or major influencer and that is ok too.
And finally, remember: Your Vibe Will Attract Your Tribe.