Richard Branson steps out of the car and media photographers go into a frenzy. He’s dressed as an Indian Chief and he’s carrying a small axe. He makes his way up to the CEO of Sydney Airport, extends his hand and says, ‘I’m here to bury the hatchet.’
At that moment, the details of the conflict become irrelevant and all is instantly forgiven. Richard Branson has used his personal brand to instantly resolve a standoff between two companies who couldn’t find their common ground when it comes to airport allocation. His top executives had tried, his advisors had tried – in the end it was a bit of personal magic from Branson and the deal was done.
Whatever the situation, Branson is very aware that his personal brand allows him to get things done, launch products, resolve conflicts, raise capital, attract talented leaders, win mandates and to affect social change.
Branson has written seven books, he writes articles for newspapers and has a team of content marketing experts who manage his social media. Suffice to say he has captured the media’s attention. He’s built a brand that attracts opportunities constantly and is so well liked and trusted that his involvement in a venture can make it an overnight success.
Gone are the days when a company of any size can survive as a faceless corporation that exists as a set of logos, colours and symbols. Brands nowadays live and die by the persons who represent them.
You build a personal brand when you become better known, liked and trusted in your market. You can build personal brands using videos, blogs, articles, books, photos, quotes, live appearances, talks, publicity and events.
Personal brands are powerful for a few reasons:
Rob Gardner is one of the most influential people in the pensions industry. He left Merrill Lynch to set up his own boutique with a mission to help the pension fund crisis in most developed countries. People expected him to be a faceless asset who built the company brand and never his own; instead he built a company that is full of key people of influencers. Every employee is requested to blog each month and share their own ideas under his own name. Everyone is encouraged to pitch the vision of the business to others and build their online connections.
And that’s a pension company…
A lot of people have a fear of putting themselves out there – but you need to weigh it up against being a faceless, generic business / person that doesn’t get the work or credit it / you deserve. You will make the right decision and see that it’s worth building the brand you want.