There was a time when a company’s brand meant everything. The founders and employees were simply a byproduct of that brand. But with the explosion of social media over the past decade, real-time networking has brought personal brands to the forefront.
To achieve personal brand success, it should be a daily exercise for not only founders and senior leadership, but everyone on the team. Here’s a look at five tips to help build a high impact personal brand (and influence others within your business to build theirs).
1. Identify and highlight what makes you unique
Every entrepreneur has something that makes them truly unique, whether it’s a story of hardship or the ability to remain positive in any situation. Think about what makes you unique, and identify the top factors. Highlight them every chance you get to make your personal brand stand out.
2. Educate others
Think of thought leaders like Tony Robbins in personal development and Jim Cramer in investing: Their personal brands are giant within their respective industries. Much of their success can be attributed to how well they educate others. Both have written books and educate their audience through social media to build personal connections.
Educating others builds an emotional connection that helps strengthen your authority in your space, which naturally builds your brand. You don’t have to write a bestseller, either: Speaking at conferences and writing for third-party publications has worked well for me.
3. Model other personal brands
This will help you save time building your brand. Find out what has worked for influencers you admire, and implement those strategies into your own process.
I’ve learned a lot from watching giants like Richard Branson, who made one of the boldest moves in business by buying an airline under the Virgin brand, rooted in music. During this deal, there was much adversity, but Branson pushed forward and Virgin Atlantic became a huge success. Part of the success came from his ability to energetically rally his team. In the same way, I always try to do the same. It creates enthusiasm and an anchored brand devotion.
4. Craft your career narrative
Everyone likes a good story, so tell yours. Entrepreneurs across every industry have a story to tell, and the more personal, the more others will feel connected. Exploit your career narrative whenever possible, whether networking at a conference or on the “about” section of your company website.
I can attribute my personal story directly to my success. I grew up in Nigeria and worked hard to develop the necessary skills for my future business endeavors and help others connect closely to our brand.
5. Make the most of social media
Social media is the lifeline of any personal brand, so use it to your advantage. Connect with others on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Always strive to produce and share content that educates, adds value and entertains. Offer leadership tips and share your unique brand stories. Inspirational quotes from other thought leaders work well in this scenario too.
Remember to keep your social media presence clean and cohesive. Social media is the ultimate extension of modern-day attitudes. Make sure yours is a positive one.
Building a personal brand doesn’t happen overnight. It can take years, but it’s well worth the efforts for you and your business. The more personal brand exposure you get, the more brand exposure your business will get.
Obinna Ekezie is the co-founder and CEO of Wakanow.com, the leading full-service, inbound and outbound online travel company in Africa.