11/18/2014 02:46 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How to Build Your Personal Brand

Whether you realize it or not, you have a personal brand.

As branding expert Chris Ducker says, "Your personal brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room." (Click to tweet)

Why is having a personal brand important? There are a variety of benefits:
  • The ability to charge more for your product or services.
  • Building industry credibility.
  • Being able to distinguish yourself (and your business) from the competition.

While building your brand may be hard to measure, it could be the most important step you take in growing your business.

Build Trust, Loyalty, and Raving Fans


Before building a personal brand, you must build a foundation to support its growth. This foundation, like any relationship, must be built with trust.

Trust creates loyalty and loyalty creates raving fans. It is these fans that will become brand ambassadors and do your marketing for you by referring their network to your business, website, book, etc.

How do you build trust?

Put Value Over Money


One of the fastest ways you to turn potential customers off is by being too eager to sell early on in the business relationship.

You wouldn't marry someone you just met, would you? Why would you expect someone to purchase from you without first getting them to trust you?

Giving away something of value is how you create trust prior to making the sale.

What do you currently own that has the most value? It's not your car, your watch or even your home. I'll give you a hint, everyone has it... Time.

Take a look at one of the most successful entrepreneurs and branding experts of our time, Gary Vaynerchuk. All of his social media channels share one thing in common, he responds to almost each and every question or comment.

Not only that, he quite literally asks his audience how he can add value to their day:

While his hourly consulting fee may be four digits, he gives away this precious commodity for free to his audience, thereby gaining their trust.

It's these simple gestures of goodwill that have generated massive amounts of fans that not only buy his products and services, but have also become his brand ambassadors.

Craft Your Story


Building trust by adding value is how you get people to notice you. How you get them to stay is be creating a personal connection with them. One of the best ways to do this is by telling your story.

Human beings are drawn to stories. They shape our views on the world, our values, and our emotions.

In the book, "Made To Stick" by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, the authors identify what makes an idea stick in your mind. They found that being able to weave the information you are trying to get across into a compelling, personal story leads to a much higher chance of creating an emotional connection with your audience.

Take Pat Flynn for example, owner of one of the most popular online business and entrepreneurship websites on the internet, In 2008, like many other people, he was laid off from his job. Without skipping a beat, he decided to start his own business. Fast forward to today and he says losing his job is the best thing that has ever happened to him. By sharing this story with his audience, he creates an authentic connection. One that they can relate to and/or are inspired by.

Become a Thought-Leader


Positioning yourself as an expert in your industry is an important aspect of building your personal brand.

John Lee Dumas, of one of the most popular business podcasts says, "Thought leadership should provide your audience with valuable insights on - and answers to - questions on hot topics that they are just dying to know more about."

In becoming a thought-leader, you are also able to add value to people's lives, thus increasing loyalty to your brand. This can be done in many ways:
  1. Growing your social channels by hyper-targeting your audience based on your industry.
  2. Blogging on your personal website and promoting that content to your audience.
  3. Leveraging the popular articles you write to speak at industry conferences.

By becoming a thought leader you will inevitably increase your brand equity (the value of you in the eyes of others).

What To Remember:

  • Your brand must be built on a foundation of trust. (Click to tweet)
  • Building your personal brand allows you to create raving fans who promote you more than you could ever promote yourself. (Click to tweet)
  • Add value by spending time with your audience before asking for the sale. (Click to tweet)
  • Craft your personal story to create a connection with your audience. (Click to tweet)
  • Become a thought-leader in your industry to increase your personal brand equity. (Click to tweet)
Did you find this article helpful? Let me know on twitter @DanScalco.