Building a Personal Brand Could Be the Best Thing You Do For Your Financial Service Business in 2020
Updated: Dec 11, 2019
Have you tried Googling people before or after a meeting? Generally what will come up are social media profiles. Would you not want to showcase an achievement or maybe some information that will help them have a better opinion of you?
In this digitally dominated world, failing to leverage your online profile is an opportunity loss. You are simply leaving money and growth on the table and losing out on the power you could have got by creating the perfect first impression.
With the rise of the entrepreneur and even more so the solopreneur, we are focused on the person as well as the product and, at the end of the day, we want to know that we’re buying from the right person. We don’t just want to know who you are and what you do, we want to know what you believe in, what your values are, why you’re doing what you’re doing because at the end of the day we have a choice. In fact, too many choices. So the question is—what sets you apart?
But even if you’re building a company that has its own brand building a personal brand still has its benefits.
Most people are more interested in following other people than they are in following specific companies. Therefore, building an audience for your personal brand can actually help increase exposure for your company.
Elon Musk, for example, has more Twitter followers than 3 of his companies (Tesla, SpaceX, and SolarCity) combined. The same is true of Richard Branson (Virgin), Arianna Huffington (Thrive Global), Gary Vaynerchuck (VaynerMedia), and countless other highly successful entrepreneurs. They all have strong personal brands that they leverage to increase exposure and attract more customers for their companies.
Richard Branson's Personal Brand is 100x more powerful than the Virgin brand
The best performing Virgin company page on LinkedIn only has 100,000 followers. 1% of his followers. It really does hammer home the point that people don't follow and engage with companies, they follow and engage with leaders of companies and professionals. They follow and engage with you.
Worth remembering when you're thinking about your personal branding and company branding marketing strategy. Focus and invest in the owner, the founder, the leader, the CEO not the company. But market the company and it's values and initiatives through the leader. Humanise them. Personalise them. Use the power of the personal brand to market the company brand just like Richard Branson does.
Having a personal brand is important for an entrepreneur because now more than ever, it’s important for CEOs and founders of companies/brands to come out to the forefront and connect with their audiences. People connect with people.
Build your foundation
The first step to crafting your personal brand is to lay a foundation that you can confidently and authentically build upon. The key principle here is authenticity.
There is a misconception that building a personal brand means crafting a persona. But a persona, by definition, is a facade. It’s not a true reflection of who you are, and therefore, it’s inauthentic.
Your personal brand should not be an inauthentic persona. Branding is not about positioning yourself as something that you are not. It’s about purposefully and strategically showcasing your authentic self to your audience and your customers. Your personal brand should be a true reflection of your skills, passions, values, and beliefs.
“You want to find the special thing that is YOU and make your brand all about that. You can’t make it up, it has to be real (though it can and probably should be a little exaggerated).” – Pia Silva
Take inventory of your existing brand assets:
To build a strong brand foundation, start by taking inventory of the branding assets that you already possess. The intersection of these assets is where you should build your personal brand.
Your skills & credentials: What skills have you acquired throughout your life? What training, credentials, certifications, or awards have you received?
Your passions & interests: What industries and topics are you most interested in? What are you passionate about?
Core values & beliefs: What are some of your most important core values? What do you believe in? What do you stand for? What do you stand against?
Key elements of your personal branding foundation:
Once you’ve identified your existing brand assets, the next step is to start piecing together the key elements of your personal brand. These will help guide your decisions as you build your personal brand:
Your brand vision: What do you want to be known for? If you became known as the world’s go-to expert on XYZ topic, what would that be?
Your brand mission: Why do you want to build a personal brand? What is your purpose? Who do you want to influence? What do you want to accomplish?
Your brand message: What is the key message you want to communicate? What message do you want to consistently reinforce in your content and in your marketing? If you could only give one piece of advice to your audience, what would it be?
Your brand personality: What are some of your personal characteristics and traits that you can weave into your brand? Do you want to be perceived as very polished and professional, or perhaps more quirky and adventurous?
“A great brand starts with understanding who you are, what you stand for, understanding your marketplace, and understanding your positioning. What is the perception that you need to create in order to appeal to the target audience that you’re trying to appeal to?” – Re Perez
Choose your target audience
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as you build a personal brand is trying to appeal to everyone. In reality, not everyone is your ideal client.
In order to attract your perfect clients, you must be willing to repel those who you do not want to work with. This means identifying a specific target audience and building a brand that is attractive to them.
It may seem counterintuitive, but if you try to be liked by everyone, you will attract no one. You must be polarising in order to stand out. Not everyone that is exposed to you or sees your message will like you or resonate with you, and that is perfectly fine. You don’t need to reach everyone to build a successful business. You just need to reach your perfect clients.
“To have a strong personal brand, you have to stand for something, believe in a certain way of doing things, and proudly communicate those beliefs from your platform. Brands who don’t achieve this get lukewarm audience response and wonder why their audiences aren’t called to action by their efforts.” – Amanda Bond
A valuable exercise that we recommend doing is creating your perfect client profile (sometimes called a client avatar). The more you understand about your perfect client, including their desires and challenges, the more prepared you will be to create products and services that they truly want and need.
Here are some questions to help you develop your perfect client profile:
Demographics: what is their age, gender, education, relationship status, income, profession, etc.
Desires and aspirations: what is their desired future? What are their dreams, goals, and aspirations?
Pain points and challenges: what are they struggling with? What is preventing them from achieving their goals?
To learn more about how to create your perfect client profile, check out Hubspot’s guide to creating a detailed buyer persona.
To learn more about how to build your personal brand, check out my personal brand one to one coaching.
“The foundation of a strong personal brand is how well you understand your audience and the problems they face. Then you can define why you care and how you solve those problems, which is what you’ll be remembered for.” – Kyle Gray