The dawning of the technology age has given customers such an array of information that they no longer need traditional advertising to know what’s available.
The drawback to this is that they can access negative as well as positive information, which enables them to formulate their own (not always accurate) opinion about your product or service.
This undermines a company’s brand activities and dilutes the strength of your brand reputation, no matter how excellent the work your web design company delivers.
Brands No Longer Trustworthy
The majority of corporations aren’t trusted the way they once were, and communications from a “faceless” entity generates a measure of skepticism if not downright mistrust. With traditional advertising still everywhere you look, from billboards through radio and TV spots, consumers have become adept at filtering it out. Getting through to them takes more and more effort and “volume,” which creates more distrust and suspicion.
Becoming Less “Faceless”
The good news is that having a strong personal brand can help to support your corporate brand. People trust other people; the fact that 88% of online users trust reviews from other users as much as personal recommendations is evidence of that. By building a personal brand you can establish yourself as an expert in your industry, develop a reputation that underpins your company’s products and services and provides a credible image of accountability.
Building a Personal Brand
So, what are the main elements of a solid personal brand? There are three in particular that I believe are important:
- It must be real. There’s no way to create a personal brand around a fictitious person (believe me, some companies have tried!) It doesn’t have to be the business owner, either; you can choose a company executive, a corporate spokesperson or even a junior staffer if you have reason to do so. Or you can contract a celebrity to be your brand ambassador. As long as the person is willing and able to have a public persona that complies with your brand standards, you’re in business.
- The brand character must align with your company values. Think of him or her as being the face of the organization and an official representative of all you stand for. If you promote energy-efficient products, for example, you don’t want someone who is insensitive about environmental concerns. Your brand personality must be able to “walk the talk.”
- It has to be personal. This might sound like a contradiction of #2, and in a way it probably is. The point, however, is that you can’t allow your personal brand to sound as if it’s manufactured. It can’t be too corporate, too in line with your values or lacking in humanity. Or it just won’t be believable, that’s all.
Once you create the right persona, it’s time to put him (or her) to work.
Integrating Personal and Corporate Brands
To succeed at the task of increasing trust in your target market, your personal brand needs to be integrated to just the right extent with your corporate brand. Here are a few strategies you can use to do this:
- Make it clear where the buck stops. Remember that old slogan on the boss’s door that said “the buck stops here?” You need to develop an approach that indicates plainly that you take ownership of anything and everything your business says and does. It sounds daunting, but it’s what most business owners and C-level execs do as a matter of course.
- Use it as a public voice. Forget the “we” of the old days. Nobody in your company needs to communicate anything unless it sounds as if it’s coming from you, personally. Implement this across the board, through authorship of your blog posts, social media profiles and your company About Us page.
- Build public credibility, through efforts such as guest posting, networking on platforms such as LinkedIn groups—not as your company but as yourself (or whoever is behind your personal brand).
It’s a brave new world, this digital environment we live in, and it requires new approaches to replace many of the traditional methods of doing things. Educate everyone involved in your marketing right down to your web design services that nothing, repeat nothing should be published unless it aligns with this aspect of your corporate branding strategy.