It’s not Your Brand, it’s Your People: Is Personal Branding your best brand asset?
One of the most recent shifts when it comes to marketing is that you have to get personal when it comes to your brand, which means your people matter more than ever.
Not so long ago marketing was all about creating great brand awareness and connection. But within our digital society and new era of social connectivity, companies are realising that their brand needs to be more human. It’s the result of customers wanting to connect with real people, because through social media, they can. They know it’s the people who make a brand what it is; so who makes up the brand matters. Not only that, but it’s pretty basic psychology that people connect with people faster than with a faceless brand.It’s not surprising then that we’re seeing more and more savvy brands encouraging development of what is sometimes called “personal brands”.
What is a Personal Brand?
A “personal brand” is about allowing a genuine voice in the marketplace created by the real people who make your brand what it is. It’s about encouraging individuals to generate a fusion of content designed to have a lasting impact, all the while not hiding who those individuals are. It’s about allowing them to put their names to the content they create and interact with the engagement that it stimulates. Hence the “personal brand” moniker – these individuals are building personal connections and followings on social media platforms because they are known for creating and sharing valuable content. So it’s their “personal brand” that will grow over time, and the corporate brand benefits by association.
Understandably, this can feel a bit risky. But I want to outline three reasons why the risks are low.
Personal Brands Require Corporate Brand Clarity
Firstly, if you and your people know who you are as a brand, then they’ll know the boundaries when it comes to creating content and engaging. This means knowing more than what you do as a brand. And going beyond Simon Sinek’s focus on the why of your brand. It also means being clear on the core values and personality of your brand. It is the combination of all these things that will enable you, and any others who might be representing the brand, to know the boundaries of where your brand is to be positioned. When everyone creating content for the brand shares in these values and personality, the risks are low.
Personal Brands are SEO
Secondly, content associated with its author is highly valuable when it comes to search results. As people generate content and attract followers, then they start to feature more prominently in search results. They are hitting on Google’s E A T concept. Essentially Google’s algorithms sees them as a trusted expert, and the flow on from this as they are linked with your business, is that it too benefits from their growing position as an expert in their area.
Even if they leave your business, the content they have created whilst associated with your brand will continue to exist and be valuable. So, if their profile grows even higher, then there will be a residual connection as new followers will often engage with older content previously created by that person.
Personal Brands are not the Corporate Brand
Lastly, as it’s all about the person, a serious failure on their part does not by necessity have a direct connection to a failure by your brand. So for example, if one of your brands people has a brain fade and tweets out something that causes a storm, people see this as their failure, not the brands.
How you respond as the brand is significant of course. Particularly as this will show the character of your brand. So be mindful that swinging the axe in all instances may not be the way to go. The thing is that people do have an innate ability to forgive when mistakes are acknowledged quickly, retractions are made, and there is a demonstrated willingness to learn from the experience.
Personal Branding is an asset worth investing in.
Implementing personal branding within your marketing strategy capitalises on the personality and individuality of your team, and hooks directly into the power of our socially interconnected digital world. Being known as a brand that employs socially engaged experts has far more potential for generating strong emotional connections with customers than just being brand with a web presence.
To super enhance your personal branding, online video provides an excellent tool. Your customers will be able to see and hear from the very people that make up your brand. Both this post and the video version of it are examples of what I’ve been talking about. I’m putting myself alongside the Vlog Pod brand. If you comment below, its me you’ll get replying. Why not give it a go and let me know how if you’ve ever considered getting personal with your brand. Or what might be holding you back.