A few years ago, if I tried to tell you what a personal brand consultant is and what I do, you probably would not get it!
Thankfully, the days of capitalizing on a personal brand are here and the term is vastly more celebrated. Now more than ever, I have clients coming to me for help because they’ve seen the success that influencers and CEOs like Elon Musk have had.
A personal brand consultant may not seem like something you need as an entrepreneur, but you’d be surprised to learn how many Fortune 500’s have one on their team. The need for a personal brand expert is likely due to the fact that “82% of people are more likely to trust a company when their senior executives are active on social media.”
And once you’ve become a 6 or 7-figure CEO, you don’t really have time to be social on social media.
When I saw the need for executives and entrepreneurs to have their own personalized, one-stop team to manage their online influence, I created Stratus Branding. My company works to build the reputation of founders by consistently providing them with full-service brand management, custom content creation and distribution, social media management, and website administration.
A personal brand strategist or “consultant,” on the other hand, may be a better fit if you’re an entrepreneur who is just starting out.
Are you still questioning if you really need one? Let me explain what it is that I do for a living.
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Why do you need a personal brand coach?
So, what is the benefit of having someone help you with your brand? A personal brand is pretty personal, after all.
My job is to help you see what you can achieve beyond your current vision.
For example, right now you may just be starting out with your company. You’re probably throwing all of your money at marketing as you’re looking for ways to kick your company off the ground.
When that’s the case, most founders put their personal brand on the back burner. This can really hit you hard down the line when you’re looking to expand beyond your company.
Let’s say that right now, you’re the founder of a law firm. Your goal might be to build a team to manage the day-to-day so that you can (eventually) move on to your next big gig. You want to take your experiences and position as a leader to land speaking gigs or even a book deal.
If that’s the case, then you’re going to have to start from the beginning: your personal brand.
However, if you take the time to build and nurture your personal brand from the moment you launch your company, you’re going to be successful in those personal goals a lot quicker because you’ve already established your online presence.
Whether you’re brand new or an established entrepreneur, you should be thinking about adding a personal brand consultant to your team. Especially if you want to increase industry recognition, deal flow, and press opportunities.
Here’s How a Personal Brand Consultant Can Skyrocket Your Biz
When you’re a busy CEO, you need your own team to manage your personal brand— plain and simple.
However, for those who are just starting out, you can work with a personal brand coach so that you can DIY your personal brand until you’re ready to release the reins and take that next step.
For clients that can’t take advantage of our concierge services at Stratus Branding, here’s how working 1-on-1 with a consultant like me can help you build the recognition you deserve.
1. Start with a personal brand audit
Have you ever Googled yourself before? What shows up?
If your answer to that is “nothing” then we’ve got a lot of work to do!
It’s one thing to have a few bad social media posts on your personal brand resume, but to have nothing show up at all is pretty telling. Even if your focus right now is to build your clientele for your company or solo business, your personal brand is how you’re going to get those clients.
On the other hand, what you’re saying online also represents your brand.
Did you know that “64% of consumers said that they would buy from a brand (or boycott it) solely because of its position on a social or political issue?”
This has been a prominent concern in 2020 when many business owners have been forced to consider if they should speak up or stay silent.
If you can relate to that, it’s because you were concerned about your personal brand.
The fact of the matter is, your personal brand is how others perceive you. If there are a lot of negative articles or controversial tweets all over your social media, then I might recommend a cleanup.
If you have any type of public social media, your personal brand is at risk. These days, people are quick to pull up dirt on anyone and everyone. The internet is just one giant time capsule. Nothing ever really gets deleted.
A personal brand consultant will be the first one to tell you what you can do to make sure your online presence doesn’t have any skeletons.
2. Deep dive competitive analysis
Once your personal brand has been analyzed, I like to take a dive into your competitors.
When you do this yourself, it can get ugly. Usually, you’ll fall victim to comparison and spend hours over-analyzing what you’re doing wrong. More often than not, these competitor analyses give you a dose of imposter syndrome and it’s extremely counterproductive.
That’s why it’s best to let someone do this for you. During our consultation call, I’ll ask who you see as direct competition so that I can dive into their brand. I’ll take into consideration how often they post, what they’re posting about, and how valuable their audience perceives their content (in other words, I’ll glimpse at their comments, testimonials, and overall engagement).
The reason this is so important to your own personal brand is because you don’t ever want to be a carbon copy of someone else. People share a lot of the same ideas, especially when you’re in the same space. As a personal brand consultant, I can let you know whether or not your brand stands out. Your tone of voice, your images, and even your brand colors all need to be slightly different from your competitors. For example, I use the color purple in my branding because it’s not a common color seen in this industry (plus, I just like it).
This brief analysis can also tell me what works and doesn’t work within your industry. This helps me when I develop my client’s personal strategic plan to boost their brand.
3. A personal brand consultant makes a strategic plan
There are so many outlets to promote your brand, and it’s my job to tell you which ones to utilize. I’ve been working as a personal brand consultant for a long time, so I use my professional experience and advice to guide your brand in the right direction.
The first things to consider are your brand aesthetic and your website. If you don’t know your brand’s colors, fonts, or overall visual theme, that’s something you need to work on first. “Consistent presentation of a brand has seen to increase revenue by 33 percent,” according to 2020 personal branding statistics.
When all of the stylistic branding is ironed out, you’re ready for social media content. If you’re a client at my company, Stratus Branding, we actually do all of this for you.
If you’re working with a consultant, however, you’ll receive a general guideline of what you need to do. I personally provide a video library of resources for my clients to refer to for best practices.
Your strategic branding plan also involves coming up with blog or video content. Both of these are crucial to your personal brand’s success. While there are plenty of entrepreneurs who have made a name for themselves off of social media alone, you’ll be able to maximize your efforts more quickly than someone depending on social media alone.
4. Maximize visibility
This is where your brand’s visibility plan comes into play.
As an example, I provide ongoing feedback and strategies for my clients. This helps them to maximize visibility because we’re working to create a personal brand that stands out from the competition.
Let’s talk about the strategies a little more in-depth.
When I say strategy, I mean coming up with a content schedule. You have to be consistent in order to project your visibility. There’s no other way around it. It doesn’t matter if your consistency schedule means 2 days a week or 5 days a week— as long as it’s consistent.
What truly matters is the quality of your content. If your graphics are too messy, uninteresting, or hard to read, I’ll tell you. If your captions, blogs, or emails are too wordy or self-promotional, I’ll let you know so that you can change it.
Getting out of your comfort zone
Visibility also means getting out of your comfort zone. Usually, this means getting used to producing video content, booking speaking gigs, and maybe even starting that book you’ve been meaning to write.
These types of brand messaging are a bit more hard-hitting than social media and blog content because they allow you to present yourself on full display.
Video content (as I’m sure you know by now) is becoming more popular by the day because of its personal appeal.
A speaking event allows you to stand up in front of a crowd (virtually or in-person) to share your industry knowledge. And stage fright is real. No amount of prepping can really prepare you for that innate fear of standing in front of a sea of people to talk to them about your expertise. But if you can do that, you’re on your way to opening up more opportunities for your personal brand.
Book deals have always been the marker that shows you’ve “made it” as an industry leader. The good news is, almost anyone can write and publish their own book these days. Even an eBook has a powerful impact on your brand. If you have the discipline and drive to write your own, it can go a long way in increasing and cementing your personal brand’s credibility.
Visibility is impressive
The reason these visibility metrics are so impactful to your brand is more simplistic than you would imagine.
Your everyday online consumer isn’t showcasing themselves in this vulnerable light. These videos, books, and convention gigs also speak volumes to your strength as a leader, a thought leader, or an influencer within your space. This also gives journalists an incentive to reach out to you for quotes. You’ve taken your own steps to validate your knowledge, so almost immediately, you’re a credible source.
In short, your brand’s visibility doesn’t equate to how many followers you have. It means you’ve been consistent with your online message. It means you’ve taken extra steps to showcase your industry expertise through video, writing, and press features.
When you’re open to doing those things, it leads to endless opportunities for your business.
5. Personal brand consultants provide accountability
I’m not going to lie— it takes a lot of work to manage your brand.
Your personal brand is the umbrella term to reference your mission statement, your online presence, and your industry recognition. You have to have an image. You have to build that image through online content, and then you have to continuously work to boost your brand for press and visibility.
One of the best things I ever did for my business was to elicit the help of a mentor. I had someone there to tell me what to do next. Or, when the time called for it, what I was going wrong.
This is exactly what I do as your personal brand consultant. I’m your business manager, social media guide, and PR representative all wrapped up in one title. As a consultant, I give my clients the steps they need to lead their company and their personal brand to success.