Founders making use of their personal brand to grow their business is not exactly uncommon. The most famous example of this is Richard Branson who has used his flamboyance and ‘daredevil entrepreneur’ brand to effectively market the Virgin Group. According to some industry observers, Branson’s personal brand is 100x more powerful than the Virgin brand.

There are several reasons why building a personal brand is important as a founder. If you are a serial entrepreneur, you may not want each of your new launches to be as challenging as your first one. A personal brand ensures that investors and customers follow you to each of your new businesses. This makes it easy for you to gain traction on each of your new launches.

In other cases, a personal brand may be used to position your business offering. Stefano Giovacchini launched his premium shoe brand company Belvedere Shoes in 1986. He positioned himself as the “Gator Man” in order to promote his shoes that were made with exotic leather like those of alligators, eels, lizards and ostriches. This way, customers who are looking for exotic leather shoes often look up to Giovacchini’s recommendations which inevitably leads them to his brand.

So what kind of personal brand works for you and your business? We will list a few ideas here.

Authority Branding

Customers seek trustworthiness and reliability from the products or services they pay for. Establishing yourself as an industry authority is a great way to build trust among your customers, especially in a B2B industry. There are various ways to build authority in such business segments. As a founder, you could take up speaking assignments, serve as the industry voice on media outlets and also contribute regularly on industry blogs and websites. In short, any marketing opportunity where you, as the founder, can get to define the narrative and build consensus on topics related to the industry are good to establish authority.

Lifestyle Branding

There are two reasons why a founder will need to promote their lifestyle. A flashy lifestyle like that of Richard Branson helps paint Virgin Group as a fun place to work. This helps the business attract talented employees to work for the organization. More importantly however, human beings naturally gravitate towards aspirational products. Building a brand around your lifestyle generates an aura and feeds this aspiration. Do however note that this strategy may not work at all times and relies on the societal norms. A flashy lifestyle in a poorer community, for instance, could backfire on your business.

Value Branding

The best example of a founder who benefited from value branding is Steve Jobs. Value branding, in essence, is the use of your personal values and passions to define you and in turn, your business. Steve Jobs was extremely well known for his desire to create products “that simply work”. User design was a topic that he was extremely passionate about. By building a brand around simple, yet effective values, Steve Jobs successfully established a cult following for his Apple brand.

Building a personal brand serves as a sort of an insurance towards continuing success. Customers follow brands that are represented by recognizable faces. Celebrities are often paid millions of dollars to lend their credibility to brands. By establishing a personal brand, founders can leverage their own authority and values to attract customers.