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Let’s Talk: How to make the most of a strong personal brand

Customers are interested in learning more about the people who run the businesses they trust. They want to know what a company stands for and how it operates.

Celebrities are excellent examples of personal branding since they communicate with their fans on social media platforms on a regular basis.

Building your personal brand as a leader is an excellent approach for your target customers to connect with you and get to know you better. This can help your company’s growth by increasing customer loyalty.

In this week’s Let’s Talk, our experts discuss how creating your personal brand can benefit your business.

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Christa Quarles, CEO, Corel Corporation

Christa Quarles
Christa Quarles, CEO, Corel Corporation

“As a CEO, I understand that my identity and my company’s brand are intrinsically linked. Employees and customers view the CEO as a benchmark of what a company stands for.

“The relationship customers have with the brands they love is personal. And the only way your company’s brand can feel true to your customers is if it feels true to your employees. I regularly

 tell my team, “if you can’t sell it inside, you can’t sell it outside.” Whether you’re talking about a company or a person, a lack of authenticity is deadly for your reputation.

“A CEO’s actions, words, and the behaviours they reward set the tone for their organisation, and it’s a leader’s responsibility to ensure that everyone in their business is clear on what their

 company stands for. For me, it is a deep-rooted work better, live better philosophy that impacts every decision we make – whether it’s a flexible work-from-home policy or a new innovation that makes our customers’ lives easier.

“If I want our people and our customers to believe in our brand, then it is up to me to make sure that our values feel true with every interaction – whether it’s with our products, with me or any member of our team.”

Blair Norfolk, Managing Director and Founder, Biome Australia

Blair-Norfolk
Blair Norfolk, Managing Director and Founder, Biome Australia

“As a founder CEO, a personal brand is critical in developing trust with shareholders, suppliers, and customers. Much of running a business is based on the relationships you can build from the outset. However, getting the balance right between self-promotion and strategically supporting the business as an advocate is key. Biome Australia operates in the health industry, which is completely based on trust.

“That means with all stakeholders, from shareholders to pharmacists to consumers, trust is the currency – trust in management, the brand, our scientific evidence, and that our products work. Developing a personal brand, that can deliver significant long-term value to your business, takes slow and considered effort over time by communicating well, never over-promising, and making sure you know your topic. If an executive follows this process, they are sure to grow brand equity both personally, and for their business.”

Brodie Haupt, CEO and co-founder, WLTH

Brodie-Haupt
Brodie Haupt, CEO and co-founder, WLTH

“Without question, building your own personal brand helps your business. This is true, especially in the finance industry where a business can grow rapidly through word of mouth and referrals.

“The business entity is often seen as an extension of the business owners. If you’re a genuine, trustworthy individual who displays the proper expertise in the field, then you’re likely to attract more customers. It runs with a bias that we all inherently have. Of course, how you conduct yourself as a person doesn’t automatically translate to your business, but with so many options in the market, it is one big factor discerning customers may take a look at.

“Your personal brand also comes into play when dealing with other companies. Strategic partnerships, contracts, and business deals are all made with your reputation in mind. These can all take your business to a whole new level. So jump on LinkedIn, get to networking, help a cause you truly care about, cause you’re doing yourself, your business and perhaps even the community a favour.”

Yasinta Widjojo, Senior Marketing Manager, Pin Payments

Yasinta Widjojo
Yasinta Widjojo, Senior Marketing Manager, Pin Payments

“What do most successful brands have in common? When you think of Apple, you think of Steve Jobs, Tesla – Elon Musk, Facebook – Mark Zuckerberg, and even Yeezy – Kanye West. Successful entrepreneurs become synonymous with their brands, their identity becomes intrinsically linked to the business, which in part amplifies their exposure. A recent study found that consumers now say trusting a brand is 70 per cent more important than ever before, but customers are far more likely to trust a business if they know the people behind it.

“Whilst building a personal brand is usually for business purposes, the process results in the creation of two hybrid brands; yourself and the business. Your personal brand gives you credibility as a business leader, enabling you to produce thought leadership content, attend networking events and conferences and gain visibility across your industry. At the same time, your business brand sits adjacent to your personal brand reaping the benefits of any positive personal branding you do.

“Ultimately, the two work hand-in-hand to support your business goals. A personal brand also gives you the opportunity to pursue other philanthropic, creative or non-business pursuits which give you and your business a well-rounded and relatable identity.”

Graham Glass, CEO, CYPHER LEARNING

Graham-Glass
Graham Glass, CEO, CYPHER LEARNING

“I founded CYPHER LEARNING because I’ve always loved education. I wanted to build something that would change the way schools and other organisations currently work. My vision for this company is to redefine the future of learning.

“Having a personal brand definitely helped build the business brand. I believe we can and must move out of the confines of the classroom, help students are eager learners again and implement programs that create real outcomes – and CYPHER LEARNING assists educators achieve that.

“We have the power to change such an important dimension of everyday lives – learning. I believe in constantly expanding the mind, and challenging ourselves, and the values at CYPHER LEARNING mirror this.

“We’re a global company, and it’s so rewarding when we can create and see real change in the way people learn, whether it’s in Australia, Central Europe or the U.S. CYPHER LEARNING employees are great at what they do and many of their personal interests and values match those of the company. That alignment definitely shines through to our work and as a founder and CEO, I couldn’t ask for more.”

Tanya Green, Chief Customer Officer, Till Payments

Tanya-Green
Tanya Green, Chief Customer Officer, Till Payments

“Every business is built around people. They are the human element of your company’s external brand, reflecting your organisation’s personality, behaviours, and beliefs.

“Building a strong personal brand can undoubtedly benefit your business by increasing brand awareness and, in turn, serving as a catalyst for growth. Not only that, but it also has a significant impact on shaping your workplace culture and reinforcing your company’s ethos.

“An effective personal brand that authentically represents your company will have a positive impact on how customers and external stakeholders perceive your brand if done well. Finally, because it’s becoming more important for consumers, investors, and candidates to align their personal values with business values, it has the very real potential to support recruitment and ROI objectives.”

Kathryn Britt, Director, Cicero Communications

Kathryn-Britt
Kathryn Britt, Director, Cicero Communications

“I’ve operated a corporate communications practice for two decades and found that personal brand has been crucial for my clients as well as in my own business.

“Clearly communicating – by your actions, interactions, social media presence and in written and visual materials – who you are and what you stand for helps you attract the clients and customers that are the right fit for you.

“I’ve seen this in action for Cicero Communications, and with great results for clients whether they are a fintech start-up founder, a female career board director, an inventor, a not-for-profit leader or a medical researcher. And it’s just as relevant in attracting fantastic employees to help you build your business.

“Taking time to reveal your personal brand (that is, your passions, values, skills and expertise) is a powerful action any business should have as a non-negotiable in their marketing and sales planning.

“It’s trite but true that people do business with people, not companies – highlighting your personal brand helps you stand out and allows people to see the authentic you.”

Lisl Pietersz, Head of Corporate Communications, Zoom2u

Lisl-Pietersz
Lisl Pietersz, Head of Corporate Communications, Zoom2u

“You bet it does! Your personal brand exists whether you create it for yourself or not. Each time we communicate online, for example, we reveal parts of our personality. This information can be harnessed to benefit your business by sharing your values, goals and purpose in meaningful and engaging posts and stories. In simple terms, what’s the story behind why you are in business and what you want to achieve with and for your customers? Creating your online personal brand, if done well, can reveal your authenticity, and your journey, and highlight why, for example, someone should purchase your goods or services. People will buy from you because of the reason the business exists and the story behind it. At some stage, your personal brand and business will intersect. Take control of your online personal brand before someone else does by forming an opinion of who you are and what your business stands for.”

John Fenga, Founder and Director, The Digital Currency Reserve

John-Fenga
John Fenga, Founder and Director, The Digital Currency Reserve

“Personal branding is one of the most important marketing decisions you can make for your company as an effective personal brand can mean the difference between success and failure in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace.

“It is the process of developing and publicising a brand name, image, or identity in order to gain recognition and credibility in an industry.

“When done correctly, personal branding can help you connect with your target market on a deeper level, increasing their likelihood of trusting and doing business with you.

“Personal branding can also help you stand out from the crowd and establish a solid reputation in your field.

“Developing a personal brand is a skill that requires time. Building a strong reputation and establishing yourself as an expert in your field requires patience, effort, and consistency. However, the procedure can be simplified into a few simple steps. These are:

  1. Establish your objectives and target market
  2. Conduct research in your industry and create content that demonstrates your expertise
  3. Maintain an active presence on social media and other online platforms
  4. Check that your brand positioning materials are all professional and consistent.
  5. Continue to adapt and improve your Personal Brand over time by keeping track of your progress.

“Building a personal brand is essential for any business owner who wants to connect on a personal level with their target market. Personal branding, in short, can be a powerful tool for anyone looking to build a successful business.”

Joanna Lilley, Managing Director, Houston

Joanna-Lilley
Joanna Lilley, Managing Director, Houston

“Short answer, yes. Whether you like it or not, and whether you consciously build it or not, we all have a personal brand. Ask people you’ve worked with over the years to describe you – I bet there are consistent themes. Personal brand is your reputation. Your unique DNA. And if positive, will undoubtedly help your business.

“What’s more interesting to consider is how much does consciously shaping and externally broadcasting your personal brand help your business? Promoting your personal brand helps drive awareness – a great new business tool, especially if your name is above the door. But what you’re ‘selling’ must align to the reality. It can’t just be hype.

“For me, good, sustainable businesses are built on deep, ongoing relationships. In this industry, people buy people, and building a personal brand that reflects who you are and how you operate ensures you are attracting the right partners and ultimately driving authentic, long-term relationships.”

Carmel Zein, Senior Marketing Manager APAC, Yotpo

Carmel-Zein
Carmel Zein, Senior Marketing Manager APAC, Yotpo

“Establishing a personal brand is always going to benefit your business, whether you’re the founder or an employee. People want genuine human interactions and a workplace where they can be themselves. If you have personable leaders and employees within your business who are also viewed as thought leaders and experts in their field, your business will reap the benefits.

“Creating a network within your industry is extremely valuable for many reasons. Building a credible personal brand creates more visibility not only for yourself but your business, which may increase your ability to attract customers or career prospects. It also helps you in your role execution, meaning you’re able to reach a wider audience through your support network, and  create and maintain partnerships to support the growth of the business. At Yotpo, employees are encouraged to do this by participating in public relations, in-person network events and via their social media channels. One glance at our LinkedIn pages will show countless pictures, appreciation posts and interactions with our tight knit partners.

“You and the people in your company are essentially the face of the brand, and reflect to the world what your business stands for. If you can get that part right, everything else you work on internally will shine through as the business continues to grow and flourish.”

Angela Cross, Reputation Strategist, pilotPR

Angela-Cross
Angela Cross, Reputation Strategist, pilotPR

“Building your personal brand or reputation is a way to accelerate growth for your business and establish it as the industry leader. Businesses treat their reputation as their most valuable intangible asset, with ASX companies attributing up to 30 per cent of company value to it, so as a business leader you should too.

“The key it getting it right is knowing why you’re doing it, what you want it to achieve for you and your business, who you want to reach and where your audience spends their time. You also want to ‘own a space’, so being clear on the passion topics you’ll build your profile on is essential too – there’s no point in shouting into a noisy room. Then you can choose the style of content that works for you, so your reputation work is enjoyable and sustainable. Being strategic with how you are visible will ensure you get the results you want.

“Your personal brand will set you apart from competitors, deliver visibility opportunities that lead to business growth, and ultimately, build your reputation into an asset that delivers long-term results for your business.”

Nicola Ayan, Director of Technology and Growth, Optimizely

Nicola-Ayan
Nicola Ayan, Director of Technology and Growth, Optimizely

“As a female leader in tech, an industry heavily skewed towards men, building your personal brand is crucial to success – both from an individual perspective and a business. To me, encouraging other women to pursue their passions in tech is so important. To do this, I’ve shared my experiences and journey with women in STEM and attended as many networking events as possible. This hasn’t only helped me, but the organisation I work for as it shows that Optimizely supports diversity and women in the workplace.

“I’ve developed my personal brand by always embracing challenges. Having worked across customer, vendor and partnership roles – in a range of countries – my experience and knowledge have helped me to encourage the next generation of women in tech.

“It’s important to consider how your personal brand contributes to the growth of your business. By leveraging your own identity, you can set yourself apart from the crowd.”

Julissa Shrewsbury, Director and Keynote Speaker, New Work Consulting

Julissa-Shrewsbury
Julissa Shrewsbury, Director and Keynote Speaker, New Work Consulting

“There are many perceptions of what personal branding is, but in essence, it’s having clear messaging that positions you the way you need to be seen by your target markets and audiences. Your personal brand can be very powerful in building credibility and trust!

“When you are clear and confident in articulating who you are in business, you can communicate with impact, both in-person and online. This involves creating focused messages to answer the question, ‘Why you?’.

“You may already have a company brand – but having a personal brand as a leader or team member matters just as much. People still do business with people – over time, they will turn to you as a trusted supplier and refer you because they’ve built a personal relationship with you… and because you’ve stayed front-of-mind with strong personal brand communication.”

Mahima Tamang Shrestha, Co-founder and Director, PurpleTree PR

Mahima-TShrestha
Mahima Tamang Shrestha, Co-founder and Director, PurpleTree PR

“If a business’s reputation is as solid as its people’s, organisations can benefit by empowering employees to build a name for themselves. It is becoming progressively significant for entry-level to senior executives to develop a personal brand that resonates with their personalities and likings. Some businesses might jump at the thought; to some, it might appear strange for employees to invest energy and, sometimes, money, fostering their brand instead of the corporate brand.

“Some of the benefits of building a personal brand that has positively worked to my advantage is fostering stable online/ offline visibility among my peers. It has helped me establish my public persona for values, beliefs, goals, and purposes I strongly believe in, thus attracting like-minded people to my network.

“As a PR professional, my brand often revolves around my ability to educate people on information based on my knowledge and expertise. I usually use platforms like publishing topical articles, voicing my opinion on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram or attending networking events to demonstrate my skills and attract people to my brand; essentially, putting a face behind my business.

“Personal branding has helped businesses grow—for instance, Brittany Berger and Neil Patel. The popularity of personal branding as a marketing tool increased when Facebook, Youtube, and LinkedIn entered the scene. In social media, each individual is potentially a brand ambassador or a micro-influencer if they leverage it strategically. For example, Jenn, Juan Martinez.

“Success lies with those who utilise their brand as the voice they sell to boost their profile. It’s the leveraging of a personal brand and aligning it with a product, service or institutional brand which has made personal branding a highly profitable, revenue-generating strategy. Curating a personal brand can be overwhelming, but it is worth the effort.”

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Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

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