How to Take Control of Your Personal Brand, Part One

This is a modified excerpt from my new book,
Marketing Simplified, now available on

Your business has a brand. You, as an individual, have a brand as well – your personal brand. Whether or not you want to incorporate your personal brand into your business marketing strategy is a decision you’ll have to make. There are some disadvantages to creating a highly visible personal brand, but in most cases the advantages far outweigh the downside.

First, let’s get clear on the definition. Just as your company’s brand is how it is perceived by the outside world, your personal brand is how YOU are perceived by the outside world. So personal branding is taking control of that perception and shaping it into whatever you’d like it to be.

Steve Jobs had a personal brand that was distinct from Apple’s brand. Same with Bill Gates and Microsoft. Elon Musk with Tesla. Richard Branson with Virgin.

At the same time, there are plenty of large and profitable businesses that don’t have a personal “face” attached to them. McDonalds. Coca-Cola. General Motors.

Here are a few reasons why you should intentionally build a personal brand for yourself as the leader of your business:

People prefer to do business with other people. Creating a visible personal brand for yourself humanizes your business. Rather than an impersonal, corporate brand, you become the face. Even if most of your customers and clients never interact with you personally, you still serve as the figurehead. If you do a good job with your branding, clients will feel like they know you, even if you’ve never met.

A powerful personal brand adds value and can justify premium pricing. If your personal brand creates additional credibility for your business, it can directly translate into pricing power. When you’re seen as an expert and a thought leader in your industry, clients and customers are willing to pay a premium to work with you. Even if they never actually deal directly with you.

Personal branding is a powerful differentiator. Your personal brand is one of the best ways to stand out in a crowded market, because you are unique by definition. Even if your products or services are unavoidably similar to a competitor, you are still unique. Your personality, your story, and your perspective is unique to you. The more you can embrace your personality and distinguish yourself, the more your business is separated from the competition.

In fairness, there are a couple of downsides to making your personal brand central in your marketing. The first is that some people simply don’t have the stomach for it. They’d rather remain anonymous and avoid the public eye. If that’s your mindset, so be it – but I’d encourage you to consider whether unfounded fears may be holding you back.

The second objection is that sometimes, creating a powerful personal brand can detract from the company brand. That’s not a problem until you decide to exit the business. But at that point, it can be a real problem, and it can even impact the valuation of your business if you are planning to sell it. If YOU are the main attraction, than what is the business worth without you? The antidote to this problem is to simultaneously build a strong brand for the business itself, and when it comes time for you to transition out of the business, gradually phase yourself out and allow other leadership figures within the business to step into the spotlight and build their own personal brand.

All that said, my belief is that in most cases, you will benefit from building and highlighting your own personal brand, as the owner of your business. In Part Two of this series we will talk about how to make that happen.

Click here to read Part Two.

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Danny Decker

I work with business owners to create real, practical marketing plans – and create systems to make sure the plan actually gets executed. I’ll help you put a strategy in place to create predictably positive cash-flow, to generate new leads consistently, to create more referrals and word-of-mouth marketing, and much more.

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