So, the question is – Is Personal Branding over-hyped?
Before I talk about personal branding, let’s look at the dictionary definition of the following words:
noun – intensive publicity or promotion (synonyms – marketing, propaganda, exposure)
verb – promote or publicize (synonyms – advertise, publicize)
noun – the promotion of a particular product or company by means of advertising and distinctive design.
wikipedia – Personal Branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands.
Previous self-help management techniques were about self-improvement but the personal branding concept suggests that success comes from self-packaging. So, does that mean personal branding is fake and doesn’t necessarily show the values behind your business? Let’s see! We’ll come back to this in a moment.
In 1999, marketers David McNally and Karl Speak in their book “Be Your Own Brand” said, “Your brand is a perception or emotion, maintained by somebody other than you, that describes the total experience of having a relationship with you.”
DO YOU AGREE TO WHAT THEY SAID?
Does that mean that when you promote your business OR YOURSELF AS A BRAND, you are actually helping people perceive your business in a particular way and associate an emotion with it?
For me, it’s a YES!
Now my question is if we are promoting ourselves as a brand, shouldn’t we do it responsibly? When I say responsibly, I mean understanding how will it impact the larger audience before we promote? Promotion is like sending a virtual message to your ideal audience. Ideal audience means people who would like to buy your product or services. So, if my understanding is correct on relating promotion with your brand message, WHAT KIND OF A MESSAGE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEND?
I guess I know the answer – SOMETHING THAT PEOPLE WOULD LIKE & LOVE TO RECEIVE!?
Now, the next point of discussion is – What exactly is your audience looking for? What kind of a message do they want to receive?
SOMETHING THAT THEY WILL BENEFIT FROM!
Whether you agree or not, it’s humans basic nature to be selfish. People buy to either satisfy their feelings & emotions or if it’s going to benefit them in some way.
BUT BEFORE THEY THINK OF THE BENEFITS, THEY BUY FROM THEIR EYES. AGREE?
When you buy a dress online, what do you see before you shortlist it? LOOK! And how is it looking on the model who’s wearing it? Then you check if it’s available in your size or not or maybe the price. RIGHT? Then you might want to go to other online stores and check some more options. You shortlist the ones you like and close the rest of the tabs. Then you pick one final dress after assessing the benefits like cost, size etc.
The point here to note is, there are so many OPTIONS OUT THERE! DO YOU EXIST IN THE SHORTLIST? IS YOUR MESSAGE GETTING PEOPLE’S ATTENTION? DO YOU HAVE CONTENT THAT IS WORTHY OF GRABBING ATTENTION ONLINE?
If yes, then brilliant! Keep adding value to your content because if you are there in the shortlist, people are now only looking for benefits and if you have a solution to their problems, they might just buy from you! If they don’t, don’t get disheartened as there are a couple of factors people consider before buying and it might not be about you but them. Get it?
I’ll take a break here and go back to what I said earlier, “the personal branding concept suggests that success comes from self-packaging”. I KNOW IT SOUNDS A LITTLE AWKWARD.
But the way the market is running online, personal branding is an ENTRY GATE to your business. Success is not determined by an individual’s internal set of skills, motivations and interests but rather how effectively they are “BRANDED”.
MAYBE IT DOESN’T SOUND TOO GOOD TO YOU BUT THAT’S THE TRUTH!
Having said that, as RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS OWNERS and not somebody who is deceiving through looks, we can definitely use the true self-expression in self-promotion. We know how the market works online, so let’s benefit from it in an ethical way. While you communicate your message, allow people to enter your world by creating your footprint and you can do that only when you consciously work towards creating a professional brand.
So, do you need to hype your brand?
YES! But responsibly! Branding means creating a hype(remember the dictionary meanings?) but also focus on your product/service value. Branding’s idea is to be visible and be in your ideal customer’s shortlist. If you don’t exist in your ideal customer’s shortlist, chances of anyone buying from you is totally dependent on face to face marketing or in person marketing (networking). Would it be possible for you to depend only on that and run your business? In fact for that also, you will need a professional-quality marketing material to show (I’ll cover that in my next blog). Think about it!
Is Personal Branding overhyped?
Maybe by a few. But that’s none of my business. We need to focus on the service and experience we want to give to our customers.
Do you need to over hype?
Depends entirely on YOU! As a business owner, I would work towards marketing my brand but I will never JUST WORK ON THE LOOKS but consciously and constantly on the content, personal development & skills as well.
Personal Brand is a mix of looks and emotions. You can let people enter your world through the looks (by looks I mean visual content of your website and social media profiles) but they can connect emotionally only with the values associated with your products and services if you’re not too fond of public speaking, so don’t forget to work hard on that and yourself.
In my next blog, I will share my views on how important is the visual content when it comes to branding. So, stay tuned!
If you’d like to ask a question or challenge my views (which is absolutely fine, as healthy arguments can make our perspectives more clear), please feel free to comment and I shall get back on it at the earliest.
Have a beautiful day/evening!