Powers of perception: the importance of personal branding
If it’s true what they say, you never get a second chance at a first impression. That’s why for new small business owners, start-ups, entrepreneurs, and freelancers, it’s so important to get your personal branding right. First time.
It wasn’t always like this. But we’re living in the age of the gig economy. Social media and Google search engine results pages mean that — like it or not — your personal brand is already out there.
Employers and clients alike are using those tools to screen candidates and suppliers or vendors. Companies are actively encouraging their employees to cultivate personal brands — because it benefits their business too.
Getting your personal branding right sets you apart from the competition. It can build trust. The big question is: are you in control of your personal brand? You should be.
After all, you’re your own best ambassador.
Not managing your personal brand, particularly online, means potentially missing out on business. It’s all about perception.
What is brand perception?
There’s a simple equation for brand perception:
Someone’s experience of your brand + their feelings about it + their attitude towards it.
Whenever someone connects with your brand, the outcome of that equation has the potential to change. Those thoughts and feelings someone has when they interact in a sensory way with your brand can radically alter their perception of it.
Whatever your business, whatever you’re selling, every little touchpoint in your business matters and creates a holistic customer experience that makes working with you easy, memorable, and enjoyable.
Big or small, brand perception needs to be at the heart of your marketing strategy. You need your clients or customers to feel the right way about your brand. How you present needs to resonate to build trust, loyalty, and better business.
What do we mean by ‘personal brand’ and ‘personal branding’?
A personal brand is a widely-recognized and largely-uniform perception or impression of you as an individual — based on your experience, expertise, competencies, actions and achievements within a community, industry, or the marketplace at large.
Personal branding is the strategy used to create your personal brand. The conscious and intentional effort to create and influence public perception of you as an individual by positioning yourself as an authority in your industry, elevating your credibility, and differentiating yourself from the competition, to ultimately advance your career, increase your circle of influence, and have a larger impact.
Why is personal brand perception important to your business?
Over the years, Khula Design Studio has worked with a host of solo entrepreneurs, early-stage start-ups, and new business owners who’ve previously lost out on business due to poor positioning online.
Without strong personal branding to back you up, it doesn’t matter how good your skills, knowledge, communication, and sales savvy are — it’s all about brand perception. To manage people’s perceptions takes investment. And sometimes to understand exactly what to invest in, it’s good to look at the weak spots.
How can you build a better brand perception and experience?
From coaches and consultants, to creatives and contractors, there are a few straightforward improvements you can make today with little or no effort:
1. Make your profile more presentable
On a platform like LinkedIn, paying attention to details can go a long way. So replace that low-resolution profile picture, add a nicely designed cover and tidy up that badly-written bio — maybe even spice-up your title to market yourself better. Because first impressions count. Be positive and inviting. Show pride in what you have to offer.
2. Fix that unprofessional email address
Another quick-fix is your email address. It sounded quirky when you chose it (or a provider auto-generated it based on the one you actually wanted). It’s certainly unique, with those pet names and random numbers. But can anyone actually remember it? And what is it actually saying about your personal brand? Take it a step further and invest in a domain name and Google Workplace (formerly known as Gsuite) account to create your email@example.com email address.
3. Get your invoices in order
Your invoice is just as much a part of your personal brand as everything else. So when you’re issuing your client with an invoice, make sure it’s clear. Is it detailed enough? Are your banking details prominent? Do you offer alternative ways to pay?
4. Consistency is key
When engaging with your audience, whether thats in person or online through social media, it is important to always be consistent in how you show up. From messaging, to visuals and personality this will help you stay top of mind with your audience. You can look to others for inspiration however it's important you create your own unique story and brand perception.
5. Make connections, promote yourself then learn, refine and repeat
It's important to be constantly promoting yourself and making connections with your audience and the people in your sphere. Find ways to actively promote yourself through all channels. Gather feedback, learn from others, develop relationships, then refine your personal brand and repeat this over and over until you have a winning formula for building a better brand perception.
When you take some time to invest in a brand identity, creating a unique logo, typeface, and profile picture; when you have clear messaging through your bio, webcopy and titles, and a professional email connected to a domain; when you go as far as creating a professional website or landing page; THEN you’re on the way to creating a better brand perception at multiple touch points — helping you ultimately win more hearts, minds and customers.
Khula Design Studio is a purpose-driven design studio built on three core services: branding, copywriting, and web design. We design brand identities with impact, and powerful websites that connect with your audience in a meaningful way.
As a Solopreneur, find out what we can do for your brand perception by scheduling a call with us today.