4 Major Reasons Why It’s Time To Invest In Your Personal Brand Story
As a founder operating in the sustainable lifestyle space, time is limited and ultra scarce.
There are suppliers calling you up, customers to respond to, and an inbox that never seems to empty despite your best efforts.
In short - it takes A LOT to run a business. And while it may seem a frivolous use of time to be thinking about your own personal brand, you’d be making a BIG mistake by ignoring it.
What’s A ‘Personal Brand’ Anyway?
A ‘personal brand’ is the way in which you as an individual are perceived based on your experience, expertise, achievements, and actions - basically, anything you do that can influence how others think of you.
In the online world, this means being present, visible, and accessible, whether that’s through your Instagram or Twitter, having your own YouTube series or podcast, or even your own personal blog.
Really? You might be asking yourself. Is this REALLY worth spending my precious time on?
The answer, my friends, is yes.
In today’s saturated world of e-commerce brands and fast fashion labels, owning and sharing your unique founder story is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’. It’s an essential component of any brand’s online marketing and storytelling strategy, especially for sustainable and positive impact brands.
Despite this, most founders aren’t leveraging their personal brand stories at all, which is unfortunate for them, but a benefit for you because your brand is about to activate its secret weapon.
Read on to find out why it’s time for you to leverage your personal brand for your business.
1. Your Story Humanizes Your Brand.
Research shows that customers want to buy from brands we feel connected to and with whom we can trust.
This is especially true in today’s context, where consumers are fed up with old-school business models and lack of transparency. You can even see this translating to the world of Instagram, where perfectly curated feeds and influencer-type photos are no longer as effective.
For brands operating in the sustainable fashion and ethical lifestyle space, humanizing your brand and adding a personal touch is critical.
People want to feel they can trust you and that they’re buying from an actual, REAL person. They want to know that when your business pledges commitment to the environment and ethical business practices, that it’s for real and not a greenwashing gimmick.
Just think of some of your favourite ethical brands. Which ones stand out to you most? Chances are, you not only know the story of the brand itself but you also know quite a bit about the founders behind the brands you love.
Think Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia, Safia Minney of PeopleTree, or just the general appeal of podcasts like NPR’s How I Built This. Hearing the stories of the founders and their entrepreneurial journeys are powerful.
So, how does this translate to your personal brand?
It could mean posting about your journey of running a business and beyond, sharing the behind the scenes, learnings and challenges, or even showing us about the challenges of juggling founder responsibilities with the pressures of motherhood and parenting. It’s all about doing it in a way that’s transparent, intentional, and strategic.
By allowing your customers to get to know YOU on a more personal level, you’ll be able to foster more direct and meaningful relationships with your audience. And that will translate to business results for your brand.
2. Your Personal Story Strengthens Your Brand’s Story.
Continuing to the point above, your personal story enhances your brand’s narrative by complementing it and giving customers a deeper look into your business and what happens behind-the-scenes.
How do you actually live out the values of your brand? If you’re the owner of an organic food brand, for example, show us the organic meals you prepare at home or scenes of your trips to the local farmers’ markets on weekends.
If you work with artisans to create handmade jewelry, show us the other areas of your life where you support fair employment and ethical business values. Introduce us to other entrepreneurs in your circle, or show your favourite fair trade brands that you personally purchase from.
Do you volunteer? Are you politically active? Are you passionate about other causes and issues that may not immediately fit your business’ brand?
With your personal brand, you can share stories and dive into forms of storytelling that go beyond your usual business narrative.
For example, I’m personally passionate about environmental conservation and conscious travel. These themes overlap a bit with my businesses Cambio & Co. and Sinta & Co., but posting regularly about the Amazon Rainforest, for example, would be a bit off the theme of Filipino craftsmanship and fair employment.
Think through the various ways your personal brand could help support your business’ storytelling. What are areas you’re passionate about and you don’t get to share about right now?
Not only will your audience feel more connected to you as a person, but they’ll also gain a more holistic understanding of what your business stands for.
3. Your Personal Brand Can Create New Business Opportunities.
Think of your personal brand as another business channel. When you invest consistently and intentionally into your personal brand channels and owning your personal story, you can position yourself as an expert within your niche.
This, in turn, can open up new opportunities, which then filter down to your business.
Some examples include invitations to speak at conferences or events, brand collaborations, media features and PR opportunities, or even opportunities to do consultancy and coaching.
Because of my work in the social enterprise space in the Philippines, for example, I’ve been invited to moderate a social impact panel in San Francisco and to speak about ethical retail at sustainable fashion events. In fact, my personal brand landed me a position as a content strategist with Peace Flag House in the first place!
From a media perspective, your personal brand is a powerful tool. Journalists are more likely to feature you if you have a compelling founder story and if you come across as someone who can present yourself well to the public. Remember, people connect with businesses they can trust and whom they can put a face to.
If you position yourself as an expert in a certain space, the media are more likely to reach out to you when a similar story comes up.
You want to be the go-to person for specific topics, and you can’t do that if you’re hiding behind your business’ brand.
4. You Can Create Distance Between Your Personal Brand And Your Business
This may seem counterintuitive, but one of the best things you can do for your business is to create space and divide between your personal identity and your business’.
Of course, entrepreneurship is a deeply personal thing. But at the end of the day, you are not your business, and your business is not you.
Personally, it took me YEARS to fully grasp this. But once I took a step backward, I realized that thinking of my business and myself as one and the same was a recipe for disaster.
Not only did this mode of thinking wreak havoc on my mental health. It put huge limitations on how much my business could grow and, at the end of the day, was doing more harm to my company than good.
No business should ever be fully dependent on one individual for its long-term success. Eventually, we’ll have to hire people to help us. We’ll have to let go of our social media channels and loosen our grips on our Instagram accounts.
If you’ve tied up your whole brand to your personal identity, what will you do once you need to start relinquishing some control?
Enter your personal brand channels. By investing in your own personal platforms, and developing a personal brand that’s different enough from your business, you provide avenues for your business to exist and succeed on its own, while still providing avenues for customers to connect with you directly. It’s a win-win and sets your company up for long-term success.
It takes a lot of courage and daring to put yourself out there, share your story, and carve a space for yourself in the busy online space. But I promise, it will be well worth the effort and will open up a whole new world for you and your business.
You are your brand’s secret weapon, but you’ve got to be brave enough to use it.
PS - we’re working on something special for women-identified founders who are ready to OWN THEIR STORY and invest in their personal brands. Want to find out when we launch? Subscribe to our newsletter and we’ll keep you posted.