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personal branding

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26: Neutralizing The Cons Of Personal Branding.

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I won't lie, it would make me happy if my own name is associated with 'success' and 'entrepreneurship'. The only thing is, I'm stuck in the realm between wanting fame and not being able to deal with the attention. Ha!

If you decide to go with personal branding, it means that you've judged that it's the best route for you and your business. Even if you can also apply business branding in the future, you will need to commit to personal branding for a few years.

Let's tackle the cons that I mentioned in the last email.

 

Con #1: Any attacks from ill-wishers will be personal and malicious.

With personal branding, you're going to be putting your face and name out there, which makes you extremely vulnerable.

There will be people who will adore you for who you are, and people who will despise you for who you are. They'll use whatever detail you make public against you, even if it's IRRELEVANT.

It can be pretty shocking to get your first 'hater', but remember this: Those haters are not in your target market anyway. They can't relate to you and they may never will.

They don't like your (personal) brand. So what? They don't know how hard you've been working for your own goals behind the scenes. They only see that you're 'lucky' and that you 'don't deserve your luck'.

Haters don't really know who you are because they're not seeing you in 3D. It's your brand image that they're attacking.

So you must be able to shrug off those attacks because even if the hate is personal to them, it's business to you.

 

Con #2 : You can only start selling products after you have a substantial number of followers.

You've been investing all this time and money into personal branding and you'd like to see some returns. You want to start selling.

But not all your followers will be customers. Likes for your photo doesn't guarantee sales. You don't want to spend time and money in developing a product, only to realize later that it's not the right time / thing.

What you can do is be consistent with your branding and constantly 'test' your ideas on your audience. You have access to people who are listening to you and are willing to interact with you. This is GOLD.

Ask for your followers' opinions. Listen to their responses. Have them confide in you about their problems. Find common patterns.

Once you spot a pattern, your product should be a natural answer to it. If they've been telling you that it's hard for them to get a nice pair of pants for work, then why not design one? Be the one to solve their problems.

If you've been branding yourself consistently, then what YOU want to sell will also be what YOUR FOLLOWERS want to buy. The stars will align.

 

Con #3: The pressure to keep up appearances or be 'perfect' online can be overwhelming.

If you're an introvert whose energy must be replenished by being alone, having to be 'on' all the time can feel like an exhausting nightmare. Even if you're not an introvert, public scrutiny can be intense.

You may start feeling the pressure to do the right thing for your brand image and things just doesn't become fun anymore.

Having to sneak around to do what you want? Doesn't sound very enticing. But what you can do is to keep in mind that you are cultivating a personal brand for business purposes.

Think of it as a job. You can switch your personal brand on and off like a light switch.

Establish boundaries from the start. Have a consistent schedule to develop and publish content, and then relax when you don't have to work.

When you're being strategic with your content, there's no need to be 'on' all the time.

Want to show stuff that doesn't fit with your brand image? Make another private account and invite friends and family. Let loose and be yourself.

 

The bottom line is this: Just because it's called personal branding, doesn't mean that you should make it 100% personal.

All business owners, even those that choose business branding, must be able to take a step back. Take a bird's eye view of everything. You are not your business.

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25: Personal Branding vs. Business Branding.

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You most likely belong to either one of these categories:

  1. You want your face and identity to be associated with your brand (or at least are comfortable with it)
  2. You don't want to be associated with your brand and prefer to remain behind the scenes.

I belong to the second category. I'm the type that sets every social media profile to 'private', and naturally that extends to how I behave in my own business.

It's important that you decide how you want to present your brand in the first few years. If you belong in the first category, then personal branding might be the route for you. If you're in the second category like me, it's likely that you will go for business branding. In fact, that's what I'm using for Narrativity Consultants.

No type of branding is better than the other. Both has its own pros and cons. What you choose is entirely up to you, your circumstances, and personal preferences. 

As for the work involved, all principles on branding that we've discussed so far apply to both types. Branding is still branding, regardless of the face of the brand.

Today we'll just look briefly at both types as well as their pros and cons.

 

Personal branding

Nowadays, you don't need to be featured in talk shows or magazines to have a large following. Personal branding is within anybody's reach, as long as they're committed to building that large following.

It requires you to consistently share details of your life. Everything you do online (where people can see) becomes part of your personal branding. When you share something, you use the pronoun 'I'.

And it's crucial that you are comfortable in front of the camera. You have to be the subject matter of the photos, because that is what (or who) people connect best to.
 

Pros:

  • Once you have a large, loyal following, your products will almost always sell well because you've gained their trust.
  • It has a quicker start compared to business branding because people instinctively connect to other people better.
  • The work involved to keep up the branding fits more naturally in your day because it's about you.

Cons:

  • Any attacks from ill-wishers will be personal and malicious.
  • You can only start selling products based on personal branding after you have a substantial following.
  • The pressure to keep up appearances or be 'perfect' online can be overwhelming.
 

Business branding

This type of branding requires you to establish a whole separate entity, complete with a new look and personality. You transact using the name of the business, rather than your own. You're using the pronoun 'we'.

Because no person is associated with the brand, you'll be relying on the visual identity, e.g. logo and illustrations, more heavily to get noticed. It's important that the visual identity is developed well from the very beginning because it can't be changed that easily.

Pros:

  • You'll be able to start selling products early because it's expected for businesses to have products.
  • It's easier to scale the business because you can delegate tasks to other people.
  • When something goes wrong, people will be less inclined to blame you personally.

Cons:

  • You have to work harder to gain customers' trust because it takes more for them to trust a 'faceless' personality.
  • The work involved requires more intention and planning compared to personal branding.
  • How well your product sells depends on how accurate your market research is, unlike personal branding which has its own market it could tap into.
 

Whatever type you choose to start with, you will NOT be stuck with it for life. A lot of people begin with personal branding, but the business brands they build end up being equally as good a few years down the road. Other people begin with business branding, but consequently become well-known personally after much success.

The purpose of choosing in the first place is to consolidate your resources into one thing, so that you can do it very well. The key to success is focus, not multitasking.

That doesn't mean you have to stick to one type of branding, through thick and thin. We can take steps to minimize or neutralize the cons for both personal and business branding, no matter which one you choose. That's why I said that no type is better than the other.

We'll discuss those steps in the next email. Keep an eye out for it!

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