Question: I prefer to project the brand of my striving boutique business, rather than bringing myself to the forefront. Those who say I am publicity-shy are right. There is much pressure on me presently, to adopt personal branding in order to boost my boutique’s brand. As I’m caught in between, please assist me with your view on this situation – Fred Obeya
I can decipher that you are faced with not being certain about whether to be identified with your successful business brand or remain behind the scene. As I presume you’re not a ‘bad guy’ or boast of many skeletons in your cupboard, or possess a ‘monstrous face’ which may likely scare away customers of your boutiques, your best bet is to develop a personal brand, leveraging on an existing successful business brand – Your boutique’s brand. In a nutshell, your business stands to get a boost if you create a personal brand, recognizing ‘the people’ element as being a major differentiator for any business concern.
Bear in mind that people buy people (businesses are always patronized based on the personalities that make them up). Before highlighting the benefits of personal branding to a business, which justifies the remark that, “personal branding is smart business”, always note that the way you carry on must always rub-off on your business. So, why don’t you do something consciously about your personal brand? The impression about you will always be reflective of what people perceive of your boutiques, especially at first encounter – Hence the saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”.
Maybe you’re shying away for fear of what some tag, ‘the other side’ of personal branding – People’s negative thinking or perception about us being transferred to our business. This is more the case nowadays with the advent of various social media networks (e.g. LinkedIn, FaceBook, Twitter, etc). These tools of awareness have now made it quite possible for people to have access to one’s thought, feelings, interest and so on; which provide basis for making judgments from what subscribers perceive. Even if one holds the view that, “I’m my business. If someone doesn’t like me, my business may suffer for it”, what about the positive side? The positive sides of ‘Apple’ by being synonymous with Steve Jobs keep impacting on the brand, even after his death.
For the purpose of enlightening those who may not be conversant with this concept, personal branding is basically the way you market yourself to others, and what they think of you. It is a process where people and what they do (e.g. their careers) are marked as brands. Fred, do you know that as others interact with you, they unconsciously create a mental association which links you with certain labels? You just can not avoid being labeled by other people.
Your (personal) brand is indeed the summation of all the associations about you, which are stored in people’s minds – How you write; your conversations with others; how you dress how you talk; what you eat, etc. An expert summed up personal branding as, “The creation of an asset that pertains to a particular person or individual which includes (but not limited to) the body, clothing, appearance, and knowledge, contained within, leading to an indelible impression that is uniquely distinguishable”.
I suggest you henceforth refrain from non-adherence to personal branding, as your business stands to benefit from it. Note these as pointers to how your boutiques would benefit from your personal branding:
- Customers want to associate with people they perceive as experts in their field. By speaking, and more especially presenting yourself as Baba in running boutiques, it will enable you easily raise yourself to a higher pedestal essential for building social capital [The successful man behind the successful business]. Furthermore, you’re likely to remain who people say you are, if you do not mold your own brand. With this you will be able to ‘steer’ people to what you want to be known for.
- With personal branding you are able to create a sense of individuality and uniqueness in the minds of others. This helps you stay unique in your market place.
- By creating a personal brand you facilitate the feeling in people that they know you. This creates feeling of trust, which enhances favourable relationship in business.
- It helps customers to easily distinguish you from your competitors, as your brand clearly stands out – Easy identification that stimulates patronage.
- As your actions and communications are likely to be engrossed in the consistency and authenticity which branding efforts demand, your being focused (as a result) is a sure way to success.
- Customers do experience a difference in the brand. Nowadays when many no longer see much difference between products or services, your personal branding helps you influence their perception for favourable patronage.
- As efforts towards personal branding make for aiming at being known for who you are, what you stand for, and what you do for others, these surely remain a clear reflection of value you can add to customers and others you associate with – A positive disposition for business enhancement.
- Your personal brand helps increase interest from the market, as the current propagation of word-of-mouth marketing is known to help boost referrals and leads. These, no doubt, generate opportunities for more business and growth of customer base.
- While you build your personal brand, your visibility and credibility as someone who delivers on his promises, seen as accessible, warm and kind, will be elevated. The favourable impact of such perception to business is obvious.
By way of advice, keep an eye on both your personal and business brands, and then understand the impact these have on one another. Do not try to hide things. Be genuine and honest in whatever you do; live your life right, and mind how you expose your lifestyle to others. With these at the back of your mind, success surely awaits you.
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