Growing a startup from scratch is no easy task.
Building brand awareness is one thing. Gaining the trust of your customers is another. How do you convince people to do business with you over your competition, especially if you’re new in the market?
This is where personal branding for founders comes in.
For many startups, a strong personal brand can shine a light on the business. It can be the key to cultivating buzz and gaining your audience’s trust.
Below, let’s explore what a personal brand is and the role it plays in a founder’s startup.
What is a Personal Brand?
A personal brand is the public’s impression of you as an individual existing separately from your company. It is how people think of you based on your experience, expertise, values, beliefs, and achievements within your field.
Having a personal brand is crucial in many ways, especially for a founder like you.
That’s why many are taking conscious efforts to shape their personal brands and influence public perception.
They do this by communicating their value and positioning themselves as an authority in their respective industries—a marketing strategy known as personal branding.
Why a Founder’s Personal Brand Matters
Today, consumers have become more critical than ever. Before they give their trust and become customers, they like to know the people behind the company they would patronize. They want to feel positively toward a business’ leadership and how it operates.
That’s why a founder’s personal brand is crucial for growing a startup.
Sure, having a great product or service and an effective marketing strategy is important. But if your company lacks credibility because you’re new to the market, your personal brand can make all the difference.
How Personal Branding for Founders Impact Your Startup
Improving your reputation as a founder doesn’t just boost the public’s impression of you. As you grow your branding, it creates a domino effect that impacts your startup.
Below, discover how a business benefits from a founder’s brand.
1) It allows you to demonstrate your value
In the case of startups, people are buying “you” instead of your products or services.
They buy what you stand for, that’s why it’s essential to effectively communicate your value. A strong personal branding can be an avenue to do that.
2) It builds credibility and trust
The main goal of personal branding is to position yourself as an authority in your industry.
This is important because people always seek trust before becoming a customer. And customers are naturally drawn to experts to solve their problems, rewarding them with their trust.
3) It attracts paying customers
Having a personal brand allows you to reach more people. The wider your reach becomes, the more individuals will become aware of your business. With this growing awareness, plus credibility, you can attract more paying customers.
4) It attracts the interest of investors
Often, investors would research a new founder whenever they pop up on their radar.
They like startup founders with a strong personal brand. So, investors usually check a founder’s website and LinkedIn profile to determine if they would want to support a startup.
And if you have successfully position yourself as an expert in the field, chances are, you’re going to win the interest of these investors.
5) It encourages customers to recommend you
When you are a credible brand, your customers are more likely to recommend your company.
It’s best to practice what you preach, be visible on social media, and keep working on your authority to gain the trust of your audience—and eventually, the connections of your audience.
6) It lets you forge real connections
Your visibility can also help you create a network that can open new opportunities for your company. It allows partnerships with fellow experts to boost your authority and help your business in many ways.
7) It helps you achieve your business goals
Finally, having a well-crafted personal brand can launch your startup to new heights. People will see you as an authority, they will start trusting you, and they will be convinced to buy from your company.
In a crowded market, a strong personal brand can impact your startup in positive ways. A founder’s brand is what will differentiate you from the competition. It stands for your character, culture, principles, and skills which are crucial to earn trust and win you paying customers.
A Startup Founders Guide to Personal Branding
Now that you know how personal branding for founders can impact your startup, it’s time to put in work on your reputation. And working on your branding doesn’t have to be time-consuming.
Here, find out how you can solidify your personal brand to build trust, awareness, and credibility.
1) Create your branding mission statement
To demonstrate your value to the public, you should first know your personal brand’s purpose.
How do you plan to serve your audience? What do you do and what impact do you want to make? The direction of your branding relies heavily on your branding mission statement.
Just look at how Jeff Bezos wrote his branding mission statement.
Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, made it clear that businesses should retain their “Day 1 company” mindset. According to him, Day 1 companies are those that are at the beginning of their potential.
They are obsessed with customers and make quick high-quality decisions as opposed to Day 2 companies that become stagnant, “Followed by excruciating, painful decline.”
This kind of branding statement tells a lot about yourself as a leader of your organization. It summarizes how you intend to make an impact on your audience, and is a crucial step to develop a solid personal brand.
2) Build a personal website
When establishing personal brands, first impression matters. Having a professional website is key to leave a positive impression on your audience.
With a personal website, you can publish your own content and create your own narrative. It gives you control over what people will see and read about you.
More importantly, your website will serve as your salesperson who will work for you 24/7 to promote your brand. This is especially true when you optimized it for search—a great way for people to find you online.
3) Develop your social media strategy
When it comes to establishing authority, LinkedIn is arguably the most important platform to have your online presence. It allows you to showcase your experience, values, and achievements in a well-crafted profile.
The channel also lets you gain social proofs, get exposure, and connect with industry peers that can significantly boost your credibility.
LinkedIn is a valuable platform to build a personal branding. When developing a social media strategy, make sure that LinkedIn is your top priority.
Use the platform to help others with your expertise, connect with them, and attract a following that can become an asset to your company.
4) Showcase your expertise
Most experts today branch out from their respective roles to perform different activities. These “extracurricular” activities are what launch their reputation among their peers.
There are several ways to do this. You can author a book, get speaking engagements, maintain a blog, or guest posts in another expert’s blog.
Also, you can even showcase the expertise of other relevant people to your industry on your social media accounts. This shows you respect fellow experts and will help build your brand and credibility.
5) Be helpful to your audience
As you showcase your expertise, you should have the best interest of your customers at the top of your mind. Consumers today can see through your and marketing. They know the difference between a brand’s authenticity and insincere sales strategy.
But how do you win the hearts of your audience? By being helpful to them. Address their needs with well-crafted and valuable content that will help them solve their problems. Develop a solid content strategy with your audience in mind.
6) Get your team involved
In our report entitled Building Brands Within a Brand, my team tackled the importance of employee personal brands to the success of a business. Employers who motivate their employees and executives to build their own brand can benefit in several ways.
Based on the report, employees have the power to increase your reach, engagement, and sales by a significant percent.
Thus, you must get your employees involved in building your reputation online. You’ll be surprised how 61% of employees are willing to go above and beyond their duties to help the company.
7) Build a community
When building your brand, ensure that you focus on a specific niche. Determine which area of expertise you want to be known for, and then build a community around it.
When creating a community, a more targeted audience is better than a broader audience. So, target a specific audience, including potential customers, clients, and investors, who would be interested with your insights.
Then, create a LinkedIn group with these individuals where you can interact with each other. Building a community allows you to create valuable relationships with your prospects.
Start Your Personal Branding Journey Here
If you want to build awareness and gain the trust of the public, start developing a personal brand for founders now. A strong personal brand tailored to the benefit of your potential customers, employees, and future investors can be the key to grow your company.
And for all your personal branding needs, we at Steven J Wilson & Associates can guide a startup founder like you. We are a team of branding experts that developed systems and processes to help you position yourself as an authority in your field.
Talk with us and start your personal branding journey today.