When someone says, “It’s not personal” it almost always is, at least to the unfortunate person on the receiving end of the statement. I’ve always found most things are personal, or at least they feel that way, probably because we’re all persons. I believe politics is personal, and business should be personal, especially the way you conduct it and brand it.
The idea that business should be “all business, all the time” is not only ridiculous; it’s also ultimately ineffective. If you think being “all business” is the most professional path, you’re wrong. Whether you’re my brain surgeon, contractor or the cook at my local diner, I can’t always explain why, but I’ll feel better if I know you love your dog, obsess over crossword puzzles, or always wear red shoes.
Conveying something about who you are — into your small business, your workplace, your brand – helps customers, clients and co-workers remember, understand, and connect with you. If you have a small business, or you are consumers’ interface with a business, connecting is branding, and good branding makes you more relatable, credible, trustworthy, maybe even loveable.
You already have a personal brand, whether you know it or not. You might as well own that personal brand of yours, hone it, and leverage it to help you in business and life in general. Here’s why injecting your personal brand into your business or professional life serves you — and others.
By showing you are a real person with your own set of challenges and successes, you become accessible to your target audience; they begin to form an understanding of who you are and why your business came to be. They understand why you do that you do. It is from this understanding that respect and trust can begin to develop. Not only is this vital for building credibility among your customers (which leads to future sales!), but it also puts you in a great position to network on a personal level with your peers. Being genuine and authentic is the first step in creating powerful collaborative opportunities.
It is not a secret that conversations are the key to using social media successfully. While you may have social media accounts for your business, it is important to recognize that your customers can’t have a real conversation with a business, only with the human behind that business.
If you can incorporate yourself into your social media activity, you become more than just an out-of-reach brand. You become someone your customers would like to get to know. And that opens up the floodgates for many types of natural and personal conversations.
Your USP (unique selling proposition)
Chances are there are other businesses out there selling something close to what you are selling.
Even with a strong unique selling proposition (USP), it can be a challenge to show how your business is different from the rest. Merging your personal brand into your business allows you to create a commodity that is unique to you, and you alone.
Your brand transcends your current situation/job/business
Some might say that tying your personal brand into your small business sets limits on the growth potential of the business; it makes it difficult to sell the business in the future, for example. While that may be true in some situations — and may be a risk you are willing to take — merging your personal brand with your business also lays the groundwork for you to expand your brand in the future. If you decide to start a new business, write a book, become a public speaker, or consult up-and-comers, having a strong personal brand that is tied to the success of a company can be the perfect bridge to your next endeavor. Now is the time to start that process.
So how do you weave your personal brand into your small business? You can start by sharing some personal facts throughout your bio on your business website, engaging person-to-person on various social media sites, and bringing some of your personal values into your business.
As you strengthen your personal brand, more of who you are will begin to naturally mesh with — and strengthen — your business brand.