In a recent article for Entrepreneur magazine, Virgin boss Richard Branson said his most valuable possession is his reputation, explaining that while a good reputation precedes you a bad one follows you around for a long time. And whether you love or loathe the man himself, you can’t deny the value he’s added to the Virgin brand by leveraging his own personal brand.
So what are you doing to follow his example?
If your first thought is: “But I’m not the head of a FTSE 100 organisation – I just head up a small company – this isn’t relevant to me,” then you’re wrong.
People buy people at every level and size of business and when you’re the boss of an SME it’s your reputation that’s on the front line of that buy-in. So while you’ve spent heaps of time on your company brand – working out how the logo will look, the layout of your website, the strap line on your brochures – you’ve probably done diddly squat with your personal brand.
If you did give it some attention though, and promoted yourself alongside your business, you could double your marketing efforts and, with a bit of luck, your profits. After all, with so much competition out there you’re often the only unique selling point you have.
So where do you start? Here are the three steps you need to follow that I’ll be covering in more detail in future blogs:
- Get a clear definition of exactly what your personal brand is (or what you want it to be): your values, drivers, reputation, behaviours, skills and image.
- Get some feedback to check that how you see your personal brand is how others see it (your audiences won’t buy it if they don’t believe it).
- Create a marketing plan to get your personal brand out to your audiences in the same way you do your company brand.
Do that, and you might just be buying your own private island next to Mr Branson’s in a few years’ time.
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