A couple of weeks ago, I spoke to a group of business leaders about the use of the web to grow their organizations.

During the conversation, the issue of personal branding came up.

I know, I know. There is a conversation about whether or not personal branding even exists.

For sake of this blog post, let’s lean on the side of personal branding as a way to build trust and loyalty for an organization.

Like Oprah or Richard Branson or Martha Stewart or Tony Hsieh. They all have businesses built around them.

On a much, much smaller scale, I also have a business built around me. It’s fantastic for business growth and it sucks for business growth.

Personal Brand = Business Growth?

On one hand, we’ve been able to reach larger companies, demand bigger budgets, and do more sophisticated work.

On the other hand, prospects expect they’re going to work with me day in and day out.

You can’t scale that. It’s impossible for me to work with every, single client every day and continue to grow a business. That’s why I’m extremely choosy about who joins my team, both from employee and client perspectives.

But if the CEO of the client’s business is involved in what we do (and most of our clients are), they expect to have a relationship with the CEO of the partner firm. End of story.

It’s a good problem to have, but it’s a problem.

So when this entrepreneur asked me if I recommend he build a brand around him for his law firm, I hesitated.

As a group, we debated the pros and cons, but never come to the “right” way of doing things.

Two Reasons to Have a Personal Brand

Which is why, when I saw “Move Beyond Me to We in Your Leadership Brand,” I clicked to learn more.

The article’s author, Karen Kang, provides two reasons your personal brand is imperative to business growth.

  1. Culture and personal branding. She says to be an effective leader, you must have a brand that is valued and recognized. Without it, your talent recruitment, bank relationships, prospective clients, partners, and even the company image are weak. Sure, there are organizations that can succeed without the personality of the leader – IBM is one I can think off the top of my head – but most are synonymous with their leaders. Think Apple, Microsoft, and GE.
  2. Vision or big idea. Of course, you can’t go out there and talk about sports or cycling or whatever else it is that gets you pumped up personally. Your personal brand should revolve around something where you can add value. For me, it’s changing the perception of the PR industry. For Tony Hsieh, it’s about delivering happiness throughout the world. What is yours?

This, of course, doesn’t lay down the law on whether or not personal branding is the way to go, but it certainly helps me think differently about how we can evolve into a “we” brand.

What do you think?

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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