When I say banana, orange, watermelon, lemon, or strawberry, does anything come to mind other than fruit? What if I didn’t first put fruit into your mind and instead simply said the word “Apple?” There’s a good chance you would have instantly thought about computers, tablets and phones brought to you by the consumer electronics company of the same name.
If I asked you to think of someone related to Apple, what would have popped into your mind? Most likely, the late Steve Jobs. And if I asked you to think about a person associated with Microsoft, most likely you would have thought of Bill Gates first, even though he’s not been active in day-to-day operations for more than four years!
Now, think of a local small business you frequently visit. Who pops into your head when you hear their business name? Even if you don’t remember a name, there’s a good chance a face of an employee you interact with on a regular basis or the owner comes to mind.
Lastly, think of the opposite. How would you feel about those companies if those people were never associated with them?
The above exercises are examples of the power of personal branding in action. When combined with the power of a company’s brand, these two brands create a dynamic duo that support one another. When there’s a powerfully branded individual associated with a company brand, the way we feel about that person translates to the way we feel about the company — and vice versa.
That’s why professional athletes and celebrities are highly sought after as spokespeople. There’s an incentive for both the company and the celebrity to be associated with each others’ brands. For the rest of us, building a personal brand makes you more valuable to the organization you represent — and should you ever leave your current organization, having a strong personal brand is something you can easily take with you to your next organization or startup.
Whether you’re an executive, a startup founder, a customer service representative or a sales professional, strong personal branding can help you help your organization deliver better results. Everybody likes to think they are working with a celebrity — and from social media superstars to being an expert in your niche, the chance to be a “celebrity” of sorts is much easier than it was just a decade ago. Here’s how.
4 Steps to Become an Online Celebrity
True celebrities have teams of people working on their brands — so make it look like you do as well. With persistence, time and focus, you too can develop a professional online presence (without having to pay an arm and a leg).
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. Inpartnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.