Personal Branding for Agency Leaders: What, Why and How
What is personal branding?
Personal branding is about creating a brand around an individual. Individuals shine through actions. If these actions provide true value, authentic attention, and access to the real you they will make a positive and memorable impact on your audience and help build trust and credibility in your expertise.
Today, when you hear the name Coca-Cola, you have a reaction. When you hear the name Nike, you can identify with it. Similarly, when you hear the names Elon Musk, Jacinda Ardern, or Arianna Huffington, you instantly paint a picture in your mind. Why? Because they put a lot of work into developing a their personal brand, and it paid off.
As agency leaders you have probably noticed that long term success and credibility have become hard to come by organically. If you wish to maintain a competitive advantage, you can no longer depend solely on your leadership skills, your team’s professionalism, and your clients’ loyalty. Keeping up an excellent reputation requires proactive work as do the meaningful relationships you need to establish with your audience.
Get a free personal branding kit
While your corporate brand is an essential part of the mix, now more than ever, your personal brand is extremely important. With so much existential and financial uncertainty going round, people are craving a human connection and many brands are adapting their voice and tone accordingly. Developing an active personal brand is key to building direct and trusting relationships with your clients, colleagues, partners, and employees as well as your target audiences.
The goal of this article is to emphasize the importance of having a personal brand and to provide some pointers on how to build and maintain one. We hope it helps you develop and/or refine yours so that it best serves your needs, as well as the needs of your company and clients.
Watch our webinar to learn more about personal branding and find inspiration in some great examples of personal brands.
Why is it important for executives to brand themselves?
By building your own personal brand, you are taking control of the narrative online. If you don’t build it, the internet will, so why take that risk? An online personal brand can create new possibilities, new business opportunities and new partnerships that would not have otherwise been possible. This is an opportunity to not only represent your organization but to develop a relationship with your audience. By doing so, your personal brand will add value to the company itself.
The challenges of building and maintaining a personal brand
Building a personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes time to see results. As the leader of an organization, building a personal brand may seem like an annoying extra burden thrown on top of your day-to-day duties. It requires a lot: creativity, self-awareness, deep thought, a long-term strategy, basic technological skill, a budget, and the list goes on.
However, if you surround yourself with an experienced team that you trust it is indeed possible. Your team can help you ensure that your image remains true to your values, that your voice authentically represents who you are and what you care about, and that you maintain an open channel with your audience.
How can you create your own personal brand & overcome typical challenges?
As an executive, the things you say, do, and radiate become your brand. Most successful CEOs portray themselves online by combining their business goals, achievements, and messages with their personal voice, experiences, and values.
So, in order to create your personal brand, you first need to develop your public persona. You need to figure out what you stand for, what you want to talk about, how you wish to be perceived by your audience, and what you can contribute to them. You also need to understand which elements of yourself you are willing to put out there and which you prefer to keep private. Once you feel well acquainted and comfortable with the public you, you can start building your personal digital strategy:
Identify your audience
Who do you want to reach? Where do they hangout online? What types of relationships do you wish to develop with them?
Define your goals
Why are you developing your personal brand? How will it benefit you and your company? How will it benefit your audience?
Write your personal brand statement
What is your personal elevator pitch? Who are you? What is your expertise? Why are you here?
Find your voice
Our recommendation is to be yourself; it’s the best way to differentiate yourself and project authenticity. It’s also easier than trying to be someone else. Your thoughts and voice will come more naturally and quickly, saving you much time and effort.
Choose the right methods and platforms to communicate with your audience
For example, if your company makes a product, then a website, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube may be appropriate platforms for you. If you are a service provider or consultant, then perhaps using LinkedIn, Twitter, and a blog could be beneficial for you.
Build a team of creative experts that you trust, that know you well, and that can represent you online. This will enable you to juggle your branding with your daily tasks.
Interact with your audience
Be responsive to feedback, whether it is positive or negative. Take part in conversations you can contribute to. Interacting with your audience in real time strengthens your brand by showing you care about what they have to say.
Set KPIs (key performance indicators)
It is important to know whether you are heading in the right direction.
When a lead is converted through your website
When you are invited to speak at a conference
When you are mentioned in a publication
Measure your success
regularly and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Personal branding is a process
At Percepto we use a specially devised questionnaire to help our clients develop their public persona. Based on these questions, we’ve prepared a special giveaway for you – a personal branding kit that will help you distill your public persona and start building your online image.
Your Personal Brand Should Focus on Your Audience
Your personal brand is much more than a fleshed-out CV. In fact, it’s barely about you. It’s about them; your audience, the people you want to reach. A strong online personal brand does not tell your story and boast your achievements, it shows your audience who you are, what you represent, and why you do what you do; it gives them what they want and need.
Now more than ever, your clients and audience need and deserve a person to connect with. Corporate messaging is important, but in times of crisis we need to communicate with a human, someone we can rely on and trust. As agency leaders you have the opportunity to provide that value through the online channels of your personal brand.
Send us your contact details to receive our personal branding kit or to arrange a call about your online presence.