Guest blogger Linzi Boyd discusses buidling your personal profile to build your business brand.
While the importance of brand is becoming well understood by business leaders, we believe there’s more to it than simply ‘brand’ alone. We’ve identified three key pillars to help clients jump their businesses smoothly: brand, people and purpose.
Why build your profile into an asset?
In this article I’m concentrating on the ‘people’ aspect of brand because in the digital era ‘people’ has become as important, if not more so, than ‘brand’. Why? Because the new school way of doing business is ‘people buy from people’. Customers, in particular, want to see the people and culture behind a brand and to trust in the business’s authenticity.
Aligning ‘people’ with ‘brand’ improves an organisation’s brand ‘realness’.
Let’s begin by making it personal. Connecting your brand DNA with your personal DNA gives your business a more authentic voice. This in turn enables the market to engage with you, your business and your products more readily.
First, developing a strong personal brand (or profile) in the market will attract more clients, converting into revenue growth for the business. Second, you can influence the market by becoming an influencer in your industry. This is further enhanced when you reach the level of influencing other influencers.
Ask yourself, ‘Would I rather chase business or have it come to me?’ How does it feel to know you must chase business every day? Tired, exhausted, energy drained? As an entrepreneur do you want to wake early to chase clients and work late to chase markets? It’s draining, makes you feel like quitting and it’s all too much. We call this pushing the market.
The opposite is pulling the market. Imagine waking up leisurely and grabbing a coffee with your partner. You open your computer and in pop all your clients, plus a speaking engagement, plus a global article request, plus a podcast engagement in Australia…
How does that happen? You have a profile!
A business leader with a profile similarly opens their inbox to opportunities. People ask to work with them, they’re given speaking engagements, journalists and bloggers invite them to write articles and influential people look to partner.
Suddenly your profile is working for you and you no longer have to push the market. The market is pulled towards you and clients follow. Brand is powerful because people are the pull. Do you have the market pull to influence your industry?
Who’s Googling me?
Brand is about more than the business in isolation. It’s personal and reflects people within the organisation, particularly the CEO. Remember that once someone has Googled the CEO, they’ll also Google the management team and partners. Everyone does it yet few of us realise people will Google us too. Who thinks they’re being Googled? No, not me!
When speaking to a room full of business owners and CEOs one provocative question I ask early is ‘Who wants to be famous?’ One, maybe two, hands go up and then silence. With a smile I follow with, ‘Who wants to be known for making a difference in the world?’ More than half the room begin to raise their hands.
‘Who’d like to be well known as a leader within their own industry sector?’ This question engages most of the room immediately, laughter rippling around as the penny drops. After all, being known within your sector is being famous. Fame is just a state of mind!
Build your profile, build your brand
Coming from the world of celebrity and influencers, I understand how the power of profile can drive your business. So let’s take a look at the four types of profile you could build.
Stamp collector fame: you’re known as an influential person in a niche sector. Your audience has 60,000 followers on social media, yet nobody outside the industry knows your name
Guru fame: like the Richard Branson model, you’re as famous as the brand. Who’s more famous, Branson or Virgin?
Celebrity fame: famous for being famous! Many celebrities are known for endorsing brands rather than owning equity in their name. This situation is shifting as celebrities become more business savvy and is a model for the future of celebrity fame.
Celebrity fame is spreading into the business world too. As you become influential and your fame moves out of ‘stamp collector’ and into other industries, more organisations will want you to endorse their brands. They will ask you to put your brand with theirs, put your name with their brand, tap into your community and so on.
Advocacy fame: a popular model within the business world where a group of business leaders influence a market within a given industry. This could be people from within the organisation/brand or external influencers such as Nike using Michael Jordan (Air Jordan) and other celebrities. Nike never had a face like Richard Branson so they always use the advocacy model.
Influence the influencers
Remember the earlier example of opening your computer to see all the opportunities flooding in? What if your profile were strong enough to influence the influencers, those people with a following of 100,000+ people? Imagine how that affiliation would impact your sales and business growth when those people say they want a conversation with you.
If you can influence an influencer to open their network to you, you don’t need to monitor thousands of followers. You only have to connect with the right ones because a strong profile provides you with access to new channels.
Business leaders are still spending millions on their business brand while forgetting to build the brand of their people. Businesses have yet to realise that aligning their brand with the profile of people in the organisation will enhance the brand and open even more channels to market.
Linzi Boyd is an international branding expert. If you would like to learn more about the courses she runs in Australia, UK or Canada please contact us.