In a recent survey conducted by Impact Marketing Group, we asked entrepreneurs, business owners and independent professionals about their perceptions of personal brands. Here’s what they said:
– The most important elements of a brand are Authenticity, Honesty and Expertise.
– Visibility online via events, books, blogs and articles is more important than traditional media coverage.
– Your website isn’t as important as it once was – the focus has shifted to personal presence (both online and offline).
What does this mean for you? First, it means we all need to evaluate who we are and what we stand for in business. As a whole people are tired of promises made and broken. We see it in politics and big business, and it is clear that our customers expect more from us, the entrepreneurs and business owners. We need to be true to our customers and keep our promises. Remember that we all sell something – whether it is a political message, bookkeeping or graphic design – that helps our customers improve the ways they do things. They want to hear from us and it is our responsibility to tell them who we are and what we do to help them.
Second, it’s time to start talking to your customers, not the media. It’s time to start taking part in conversations that are relevenat to your customers. Hear what they are saying and find out what’s important to them. Chime in and share your thoughts, expertise and experiences. Don’t sell them during these conversations – just talk, and get to know them.The time to sell will come once you have gained their trust and become a known entity.
Finally, it isn’t just about your website anymore. The focus has shifted to a more dynamic type of communications where your personal presence is more important than your webpage. By personal presence, I mean, your message and presemnce on and off line. If someone Googles your name, what will they find? FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn accounts all sharing different parts of an integrtated story? Or, more likely, wil they see some stuff here and there that doesn’t help them to get to know you. Websites are about credibility, but they aren’t what people need to make a decision to do business with you. People need to know that you’re the real deal, that you’re a real person with experiences to share and ideas that might help them. Blogs, articles, videos, speaking appearances can all work to help you build your personal presence.
Here are the details for anyone who’s interested in seeing more: