This is a question that has been nagging at me for the last few days. It’s turned from general curiosity into a subject I find to be incredibly intriguing. And it’s also extremely relevant for marketers, brands, and entrepreneurs.
In its infancy, the content marketing approach was “if you blog it, they will come”. Marketing content is now shifting towards storytelling – and consumers want to see the human side of the brand. People want to know the people that make the company tick – they want to know your successes and failures – they want to know your opinions on industry trends – they want to know where you had dinner last night.
Building a personal brand is commitment. You have to be visible and responsive. You have to make the time to be consistently sharing, publishing, commenting and reacting. You have to be a student of your industry and stay up to date on emerging topics and current events. You have to be willing to put part of your personal life out there. And you have to be willing to handle the harsh comments, the people that don’t like what you say, and heck, even that people that may come to dislike you.
But the benefits of a personal brand can really pay off. I have a friend in the event planning business who has mastered building a personal brand. She is well known in her industry and in the community. She is seen as a thought leader, and by owning her personal brand she is growing her business in new and diverse ways.
I recently attended a presentation by another personal brand master, Mig Reyes. He has been integral in transforming marketing communications for organizations such as BaseCamp, Threadless and now Trunk Show. His personal brand has opened doors for him at these companies, as well as other industry opportunities, and he has benefited the organizations he works for by bringing his personal brand followers with him. Because people are engaged with Mig, they are engaged with what he does. On top of being extremely talented and outgoing, what company wouldn’t want to hire someone that can bring that level of energy to their brand?
I’ve always kept a deep separation between my personal and professional life. The idea of opening up and sharing opinions, thoughts, information and anything personal is extremely intimidating. After all, I went into marketing so that I could do really cool things behind the scenes and let the sales team get all of the limelight. Ha ha ha..,,
But in today’s new world marketing order it may be time to step out a little bit. Show people that there is a person behind the marketing. And, as a freelancer, I have found that so much of my personal life and professional life blend. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken a business call holding my baby on my hip or had that eureka moment for marketing copy hit me while I’ve been pushing a grocery cart.
It’s interesting to watch the walls come down between the personal and the professional. After all, people like to work with people. And most of us can relate to each other on some level. I think a personal brand is about being real. It’s owning the fact that most days I wear leggings, you might hear a toddler in the background when you call me, and chances are I’m working on a project when my kiddo is napping – but it doesn’t mean my work is any less quality.
What importance do you put on personal branding in your career?