Personal Branding: When It’s Not Really About You

I had a conversation with a client recently that wanted to make some updates to her business website. “I think I need to add my picture to the site and maybe a bio, but it’s not about me…it should be about the business, right?” She felt conflicted because she thought the “about” section of the site should be about the business and not about her.

But personal branding isn’t always about you. (Tweet this) Sometimes, a little information about yourself can help other people, things, and endeavors. Here’s how:

Personal Branding Can Add Credibility

For this particular client, the purpose of her site was as an online brochure for her business. When she networks, passes out business cards, conducts cold calls, and follows up with leads, she gives out her website address as a source for more information. While she has decades of experience doing what she does for a living, the business is relatively new and does not have a track record. She does.

Her expertise, her brand, is what makes it worthwhile to hire her company. You hire her company, you hire her experience and expertise.

Adding a bio about herself, her experience, and expertise can help to sell her company. Her personal brand gives her company brand credibility. Knowing that the leadership behind a brand has a strong skill set that’s relevant to their product and service is a great selling point. Linking to a social media profile like LinkedIn with recommendations provides even more credibility. She and her personal brand are an asset that her company can capitalize on to build its brand.

Personal Branding Builds Trust

By adding her photo, potential clients will know with whom they are working with. Yes, they are hiring company XYZ, but they will be speaking, collaborating and working with an actual human being. Who is that human being? She is, and she can show them with a photo. People are more likely to trust someone when they feel they have some sense of who they are. In the case of a business, we are more apt to put trust in a business when they show themselves. Nameless, faceless company ABC, or company XYZ with Jane Doe and her decades of expertise that can be verified at the helm? I’ll take the latter, please!

By the end of our conversation, she had decided that it would indeed be a good idea to add her photo and a bio to her website.

How Personal Branding Helps

This was just one example of how personal branding can be used when you are not what is being promoted. It is by no means the only example. Here are a few more:

  • Fundraising: Sites like Kickstarter and GoFundMe have become popular platforms to use to crowdsource fundraising. No matter how great a product/service looks or how touched I am by a cause, I always do a bit of searching online to learn more. If I find social media profiles for the people behind the fundraising campaign, I look to see if they seem in line with what is being presented. Ultimately, I want to feel like I can trust them.
  • Buying/renting lodging: If you use a site like Airbnb to book a place to stay when you travel, you know that they use a linked social media account to help prove that you are who you say you are. In some cases, if the owner does not like what they see, they will not allow you to book their place to stay. The same holds true when looking for a permanent place to rent or buy. Landlords often turn to social media to vet a potential applicant and homeowners like to sell their homes to someone they can “feel good about.”
  • Building confidence: Personal branding can help to you instill a better sense of confidence. The way you dress, walk, speak and look outside of the online realm is a part of personal branding. Your online voice, tone, and the content you present online shapes people’s perception of you. The same is true in real life. If you look successful and confident, people will think you are and treat you as such. In turn, you will believe it to be true (if you did not already).

Personal branding can be a great tool to provide credibility and trust for almost any endeavor in your life. It creates the story line and perception that people see and believe. If they feel that you’re credible and trustworthy, they’ll be more willing to work with you to get what you need. It may be a fundraising goal, a place to stay, a boost to your ego, or the foundation to trust an unknown brand you are pushing. Whatever the endeavor may be, personal branding can play a role.

How has personal branding helped you?