The digital space shapes how we see the world every day. There’s a lot of clutter and a lot of competition, but when you strip it back, it all comes down to human connection. This is all crystal clear to any marketing manager. You work day in day out creating a magnetic brand which shines in all the right ways, and shows up in all the right places.
Yet a business brand alone doesn’t cut it anymore – here’s why your personal brand matters.
1. You don’t own the company or what you create in it. The company does.
It sounds harsh, but hear us out. You should ‘own’ your work – staying accountable and embracing everything in your corner. That great work ethic will build up your reputation. But when you leave, all the work you’ve poured in stays there. You’ll have experience to take to the next job, but the only thing you 100% own is your personal brand. It’s the currency you take away that will open doors in the future.
If you think you’re committed to staying in your job, consider this: you’ve spent three years at a company, pouring your heart into everything you do. You’re completely invested in putting out quality work every.single.day.
Then one day, someone buys your company out and new management comes in. Their only concern is restructuring to reduce costs, so they can sell for a profit. Suddenly, everything you’ve done in the past doesn’t count towards your future.
What you have done though, is built relationships in your industry, learnt new things to stay ahead of the curve, presented compelling solutions, kept promises, stuck to your values and supported colleagues. People know your personality, your favourite coffee joint and lunch spot, and what you like most – whether it’s a round of golf or a bottle of Moet. And they like all those things! They trust you like a friend and can count on you to always show up.
These are the exact brand qualities every business wants too. When you’ve built a strong personal brand, people will think of you, and options will show up.
2. It’s the only thing you can completely control
In a competitive market, you’re only ever as good as your current results. And even the most talented marketing managers can’t control everything. The reputation of a company damaged by forces outside of your control (like board decisions), a threadbare budget, or a CEO who lacks vision can all foil your efforts. Pushing down negative reviews when there’s systematic flaws can only work for so long. But what you can always control is your personal brand and the relationships you’ve built from it.
3. People want a personality not a business
Your brand is the experience you offer every time you reach out to someone. And likely you reach out to what seems like a million people a week – from designers and content marketers to PR reps, the media, and your CEO and marketing team. They all want to deal with a person who’s honest and relevant, inspiring and resourceful, has unwavering values and is willing to take the extra step – not a business pitch.
Even if people don’t love the business you are marketing, chances are they will listen to you if they value your personal brand. It’s what you should represent every time you reach out to anyone.
4. It’s a saturated market
5,000 is the amount of ads the average person is exposed to in a day. That’s a lot of marketers who are all vying for space. In the past, marketers placed a TV or print ad to reach their customers. Today, there are so many places a brand can get seen, you have to catch the market’s attention in every way you can. In a saturated market, landing in the right place can come down to who you know – a digital editor, journalist or blogger can open up a whole new market if they like your personal brand.
If you’ve ever pitched a news piece to a journalist, you know the type of coverage you land is linked to the relationship you have. That’s because the average journalist has 100 pitches sitting in their inbox, so if they don’t know you personally, you’re likely not on their radar. When was the last time you received a cold sales pitch, and thought how out of touch it was? So many companies jump straight to selling without establishing any personality or brand, and you can see how well that works.
5. Strong brands create impact
Despite all our technology, everything in life comes down to human connection. Social media shows the power of that every single day. It’s why followers are far more likely trust a brand personality they know than a sales pitch. The same applies to people. A personal brand can create trust, impact and shake up the status quo when it unwaveringly represents a clear set of values.
While you can’t control every situation, what you can control is the brand of personality you show every day, and what makes you stand out in a cluttered market. A personal brand will always shine brighter when you are clear on what you represent.