For legal and practical purposes small businesses and their owners are one and the same thing. Consequently, the business brand and that of the owner is conjoined.
This is why personal branding is gaining momentum and is arguably the single greatest determiner of small business success. Unfortunately, not many small business owners pay attention to personal branding.
So, what is a personal brand?
A working definition of a personal brand is a generally recognised and accepted perception or impression of an individual based on their professional competencies, experiences, character and achievement in a given area. It is a promise or expectation that dominates the minds of the public whenever your name is mentioned.
Therefore, you can build or enhance your brand by consciously working towards becoming known by the public who matter as a trusted person of influence and authority in a certain area. This should differentiate and elevate you above your competitors and peers in terms of quality, credibility and other treasured values.
The key building blocks of your personal brand are your character, your credibility, your professional and career achievements, the things you do or don’t do, the people you associate with and in this age, the things you post on internet platforms.
It is said that human beings decide emotionally and justify logically. Thus, people need to be emotionally attached to you so that they can justify doing business with you.
By positioning yourself as a professional who can be trusted and who values customers more than money, you emotionally appeal to your customers.
You brand yourself by deciding what you want to be known for. It could be human face, quality, professionalism, team work, innovation, leadership and so on. This applies right from your home, to your work place and the public in general.
Every boss knows who to assign a job if they want quick response; who to pick for confidential assignments, for a complicated task that require critical thinking and so on. Consequently, we know where to go shopping if we need quality and where to go if we need a good bargain. We know what products are known to last long and which are just provisional. This is the essence of branding.
The golden rule in branding is to know that: Everything counts. Everything that you do either creates and builds your brand, or weakens and destroys your brand.
In this era of internet, most brands are built or destroyed online. It is extremely hard to delete the information that you post and is consumed and shared by your online community.
As a matter of fact, most of us do not really know the direction they will take professionally and career wise 5, 10 or 20 years from today. By posting carelessly and associating with the wrong people online, you can create impediments and insurmountable obstacles for your brand in future.
This article was first published in The Business Daily on September 30, 2019.