One of the biggest decisions that entrepreneurs face with new start ups is whether to go for the big corporate look and appear bigger than they actually are or whether to invest in personal branding. So which is better?
No matter where you turn on the web today it seems all advice points to going with the personal branding route. However, it has perhaps always been the inclination of most entrepreneurs that they have to look like the IBMs of the world to gain credibility and get people to do business with them. So is all this talk about personal branding just hype or is it really the best marketing strategy?
Perhaps the best way to really tell is to look at what the most successful businesses and entrepreneurs are doing. Are America’s big corporate giants still trying to maintain that faceless look or are they too turning to personal branding? Apple and Steve Jobs is a great example. When Apple’s products are in the news today and when it is being represented anywhere it is actually Steve Jobs that you hear more about. It is not ‘how Apple did this or that’, it is ‘Steve Jobs did an incredible job…’. Donald Trump is another. He doesn’t hide behind a corporation, his corporations and ventures succeed or get launched because his name is on it. His businesses don’t get to run for president, he is the one that gets to play with politics even if it is just for the advertising and additional personal branding.
The recognition and proof that personal branding really is the best way to go is also evident in the real estate industry in a big way. Why do you think the nation’s top performing agents put their faces on all of their marketing? They aren’t necessarily running around like a chicken with their heads cut off. They have huge teams doing all the real work, they just become the brand that everyone wants to do business with.
Then look at the rise of reality TV. This is full of examples of personal branding. Shows are put together to create new stars and personal brands that then go on to launch a variety of business ventures based on their names alone. You can think whatever you want about the cast of Jersey shores or the Kardashians baring it all on the screen, but they know what they are doing. Now they can start clothing lines, create workout videos, sell their own perfumes, you name it, people will buy it because of the personal brand. Kim Kardashian now has almost 8 million Twitter followers and as far back as two years ago was businessshed.ca to be getting paid $10,000 per Tweet!
So for more perspective on the value of personal branding think about how many Tweets could you be doing a day if you were getting paid $10,000 a pop for them and what your income would look like? Or if you knew that with 8 million followers you could get at least 800,000 people to buy into anything you promoted in a matter of days? Though going even further, once you have built a formidable personal brand you don’t even have to create your own products or services anymore. You can simply license out the use of your name!