Throughout popular culture, variations of the phrase “It’s business, not personal,” have been repeated so many times that the concept has been accepted as a given. While variations of this phrase have often been used to impersonalize a negative or dehumanizing action of some sort, in a fair free market economy many of our actions under the guise of business are often impersonalized, whether they are positive or negative in nature.
The Company Persona
When employed by a legal business entity, whether it is a large corporation or a small business, we work as a representative of that entity, and our actions while on the job are almost always in accordance with our role that has been designated within the organization. When we interact with the public in a professional role, it is on behalf of that entity and, of course, the benefits or revenue we generate are strictly for the benefit of its owner or shareholders. In this sense, many jobs require workers to take on the branding and persona, at least temporarily or while on the job, of a “company person,” or an employee who adopts the personality of a company or organization.
How Branding Becomes Personal
For many businesses and organizations, the opposite is true – they are defined by the personal side of its owners. More specifically, they can be defined by the personality a single person, and when a single person becomes the “face” of a business or organization, its branding becomes extremely personal as well. Whether it is a famous business magnate such as Richard Branson or a small business owner relying on themselves to sell a product or service, many of the branding elements and strategies used are the same. When business becomes personal in this way, developing and launching a successful personal brand can mean the difference between thriving and failing as an entrepreneur. What can you do to ensure that your personal brand is an effective one?
You Have Likely Refined Your Personal Brand At Least Once Before
For many professionals, the concept of branding can be a bit mysterious. We understand that we are often drawn to one brand over another, and that many of our purchasing decisions are influenced by branding. However, for many people, a very personal activity motivated them to become personal brand experts almost overnight! Believe it or not, one of the best catalysts for developing your personal brand is…dating!
Your Personal Brand And Dating
When you are the face of a business or organization, you want to develop a personal brand that accentuates and maximizes your positive attributes while minimizing and even hiding the negatives. The product you are selling is ultimately you, and you have to convince your customers and clients that your business is the best choice and is preferable to your competitors. This same concept applies to dating where the objective is a long-term relationship – on a date, you are selling yourself as a person and as a potential partner, and in order to advance the relationship you must convince the other party that your positive attributes make you a worthwhile candidate for a long-term partnership. For those pursuing a legitimate, long-term relationship, both parties must be honest about who they really are, and it is acceptable to accentuate the positive and downplay the negative, but being duplicitous and dishonest about who you are can have negative consequences and can damage relationships farther down the road.
While It’s About You, It’s Also About Your Target Market
Remember, your personal brand is about you, and you don’t want to develop a personal brand that is inauthentic, but at the same time your ultimate goal is to attract repeat clients and customers and build your business. While a business built around the personal brand of a single individual is all about that persona, it’s important to remember that you are not your own client or customer – you have to convince others to purchase your product or service, so it is still vital that you understand your own target market and adapt your personal brand accordingly.
Be Wary Of Uncomfortable Props And Gimmicks
Some entrepreneurs and professionals that are selling themselves and their personal brand adopt props and gimmicks in order to differentiate themselves and create a lasting impression to the public. We all know of local business owners who may sport a unique hairstyle, clothes and, in the case of men, unique facial hair. Some chose to pose with animals, while others may feature a prop or even a unique hand gesture, usually in accordance with a tagline or catchphrase. While the success or these props and gimmicks can vary from brand to brand, it is important to remember that once such a brand or persona is established, it is hard to change or eliminate it later. Adapting something outlandish or trendy can be risky, as you may be forced to keep or repeat it for years, so be sure that you are completely comfortable with what you are doing and are prepared for it to become a semi-permanent part of your personal brand.