Author, Azleen Abdul Rahim
When your business is still at its infancy, you obviously need to have a personal brand to facilitate the growth. Why? One word – trust. You see, humans trust another human being better than things. You know what I mean. You can achieve wonders by acquiring trusts especially from the right people. In fact, you can even monetise trust too.
Too many people out there are creating and nurturing their personal brands by just following what other people are doing. They don’t even have a clue how to do it, how to start it in the most impactful way, what to do to grow it, how to monetise it accordingly and how to move on to a larger scale at the end of the journey. You should know that you may face challenges if you keep on hanging onto your personal brand all the way as it will hit a plateau at some point which you can’t even grow it further. In other words, personal branding is great for a short to medium term but not long-term. You need to ‘exit’ and move on to the next level.
Here, I am going to share with you a secret on how to embark and grow it the most impactful way. Hey, don’t tell anyone. This is a secret, just between us.
Know yourself very, very well. I mean extremely well. You must be clear about who you are, what you can do, your limitations, your niche, what separates you from your peers, your story and how do you plan to share your message to the world. Visibility has no value without clarity. Do a little homework and be very, very clear about your brand and turn that clarity into your bio. It will serve as the basis of how you talk about yourself online. The digital landscape is cluttered. Your unique message will stand out if it’s clear.
Solving the right problems strategically. Find a certain niche which complements well with your strengths and with less risk for machine or software to take over.
Resonate you with your value proposition. People are only keen to see the value you can bring on the table for them to take advantage of, nothing more. They will skip those without one. Once they see your value perfectly match with what they are searching for, they will then want to know whether you are on their side or not, as in really serious about helping them or you just want to make money out of them. Once they smell that you’re sincerely on their side, they will go for you subject to your price – which need to make sense too.
Prepare the content to distribute your message. This one, you need to produce it strategically. There are many types of content out there, from articles and posters to videos, infographics, short texts, quotes and images. Here, the variety is a little bit overwhelming but one thing you need to do – indirectly deliver your brand’s underlying message in many ways, repetitively without being boring.
Distribution channels. As you know, there are a lot of platforms out there. In short, those channels can be grouped into two types – social media and search engines. The former is meant for you to create followers and the latter is for strangers to find you on the web. Pick the right channel wisely. If you’re stuck, get help.
Be visible to one group of people at one time. Only fools rush in; so do not, I repeat, do not hunt for the whole country when you’re out there ‘shouting out’ about your brand on social media. Build the authority and confidence by acquiring trust from one group of targeted people at one point of time. Start with the first layer of friends, followers and connections. Work on them for a period of time. Then when you think you’re ready to build a bigger ecosystem, work on another layer – their network of friends and circle of trust. Then another. And another.
Put your Godfather Offer out there. Your brand won’t be able to make it if you aren’t able to position your product offer well that makes you really special. There’s nothing special about you if they can find alternatives. You need to make your offer as if they’re going to lose out big time if they don’t buy from you. You need to make them to crawl back for your product.
These steps are very critical in making sure your personal branding journey will be a successful one. Personally you will enjoy a successful personal branding journey when you’re able to monetise it big time. Else, you’re going to just waste your time.
I said earlier that humans trust another human more. Once they trust you, bring them to your company and get them to know it better. This is to ensure that your company’s brand will continue to grow in tandem with your own personal brand. You see, personal branding has its limitations when it comes to growth, unlike the company’s brand. Once your company’s brand can earn trust from the people by itself, without the help of your personal brand, the real potential is pretty much limitless.
Just look at how Richard Branson plays his personal brand in elevating his Virgin Group, Steve Jobs ran Apple, Tony Fernandes builds AirAsia and Anthony Tan grows his Grab. Eventually the moving forward long-term branding strategy of yours shouldn’t focus solely on your personal branding.
In the end it’s not about the mortal Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Tony Fernandes and Anthony Tan. It’s about the immortal Virgin, Apple, AirAsia and Grab.
Azleen Abdul Rahim is the Co-Founder of NSE