HOW Personal Branding Supports Competitive Advantage & 4 Tips to Advance Yours
When clients come to me, they almost always have the same two priorities:
- Maintain or establish an industry leadership position
- Increase their executive visibility on LinkedIn
For both B2Bs and consumer brands, fostering trust with customers is how industry leaders build brand affinity and longevity. But because customers increasingly want to know the people behind a title, it’s smart for business leaders to create their own personal brand identity.
What is Personal Branding?
A personal brand involves spelling out your core values, such as integrity, empathy and culture. Your personal brand shows people another side of the business, demonstrates who you are as a human being and the values that you stand up to, as well as your distinctive qualities – which gives customers additional reasons to do business with you.
Having a distinctive personal brand allows customers to get to know and develop a deeper relationship with you, which feels a lot better than something more transactional. People today want to know that the people behind the brands they favor are in alignment with their own values. Executives who allow their personality and values to shine through are giving insight into their company mission while differentiating their value.
Build Fans and Followers
Maintaining a strong digital presence is paramount in any business today. By sharing information about who you are, your expertise, how you do business, and even how your organization gives back to society, you are setting up your company for greater success. Articulating and promoting your personal brand helps customers to form an opinion about your products and services before they buy.
Here Are Some Tips to Help You Advance Your Brand
- Use LinkedIn As A PR Platform
My clients are actively using LinkedIn to promote their personal brand and connect with current and potential customers. To begin, we identify their personal brand values – what drives them and defines their personality. Then we develop content pillars to express those values. Posting at least 1-3 times a week on consecutive days and using the right hashtags, we build an audience and engagement around their content. Leaders appreciate the direct contact they can establish with customers and prospects on LinkedIn, which helps them to broaden their sphere of influence…and eventually, market share.
- Who Are You?
To build a personal brand, start by identifying who you are and your place/seniority in the industry. What are the words people use to describe you? What do you want to be known for? If you had a motto, what would it be? Should your personal brand stand for transformative leadership, mental health, technology expertise or company culture? Take ownership of these values and align them with a content strategy.
- Choose Your Social Platform
Most customers today do extensive research before making a purchase decision. While it’s not necessary to be on every social media platform, it is critical to be on the platforms where your customers gravitate to get information. For my B2B clients, that usually means LinkedIn and YouTube. Build out your content for these platforms using graphical assets that give people a window into your personality and show you in action.
- Formulate Thought Leadership
Start the thought leadership development process by reviewing your core values and aligning them with specific content pillars. These subject areas will ensure consistency and help you to stay on track in your thought leadership. Take time to identify your strengths as they relate to your work role. How do you stand up to your peers? How do you treat people at work, how do you communicate, how do you navigate difficult situations and how do you give feedback?