Darin Myers is the local facilitator of The Alternative Board (TAB), a peer-to-peer advisory board designed to help company leaders maximize their opportunities and work through challenges. Darin recently retired after a 30-year career in the nuclear industry as the leader of Plant Vogtle I and II. He has proven success in strategic planning and alignment, employee development, organizational performance improvement, accountability, and coaching. Recently, he started a family business in Augusta focused on home health care, providing him the knowledge and experience surrounding small- to medium-sized business operators.
These days, it seems like everyone from rock stars to accountants is a proponent of personal branding. Why? Because they understand the value of creating and perpetuating a viable public identity affiliated with what they do best.
CEOs and business owners are, in many cases, the public face of their companies. As we’ve noted before, savvy business leaders know that “it’s necessary to cultivate a personal brand that reflects the integrity, authenticity, and expertise they want for the business brand.” In essence, a personal brand is designed to evoke a favorable response among various stakeholders, including customers, employees, investors, etc.
Benefits of Personal Branding
Among other things, having a strong personal brand can help to drive sales. Often, “clients will seek out services because they’ve heard good things about [the brand] through word of mouth or other forms of social proof like testimonials or reviews on sites,” notes The Australian Business Journal.
And why does this happen? An effective personal brand can be an essential building block in establishing trust between a business and its target audience. A personal brand “explains why you do things and what you do,” notes marketing consultant, David Coslett. It “makes people feel more comfortable as if they know you!” and “clearly defines what your genuine intentions are, which is key when building trust.”
A strong personal brand is also a plus where “street cred” is concerned. As your online presence grows, so does your credibility as a thought leader. Increasingly – through value-added content, webinars, personal appearances, etc. – your reputation as an innovative leader becomes more firmly entrenched.
In the best cases, this means that prospective clients who come across your name during an online search might say, “Oh, yeah, I’ve heard of her!” and proceed to investigate further.
With an impactful personal brand, you can also expand your professional network (which, in turn, can lead to more sales). People drawn to your online presence become part of a community of individuals who respect what you have to say and are eager to hear more. The value of this type of connection can’t be overstated.
What You Need to Do
Of course, building a personal brand requires a commitment on your part. You can delegate some of the nuts-and-bolts to others, i.e., creating a website, establishing a blog or podcast, etc. But you must be involved at some level throughout all stages of the process. Among the key elements:
Generally speaking, it’s more effective to choose a single platform (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) and begin the personal branding effort there. Digital entrepreneur, Ryan White recommends “sticking to just one platform until you have mastered it before adding in another.”
White defines “mastering” as “consistently posting quality content plus having your account growing daily on its own without much extra effort or energy.” From there, you can go on to master other platforms.
Speaking of content, it’s critically important that you share your expertise in some tangible manner, be it posting content on a blog, communicating via podcasts, generating articles and white papers, and/or appearing on public venues such as TV news shows or industry trade shows.
Your knowledge and experience are what make you unique – and potentially worth following by thousands of others. Share this knowledge and experience through written content that offers value to readers. Avoid delving into business abstractions and, particularly during these troubled times, leave politics out of your content. Taking a stand on some hot issue only runs the risk of alienating many of the people you want to reach.
Your company needs a strong brand to remain viable in the marketplace. The same could be said for your personal branding as a business and thought leader.