I’ll list the key benefits of why is personal branding important. Digital marketers understand that branding cannot be overlooked when it comes to business.
You must be asking yourself, “Why is Personal Branding Important?”
Everyone knows first impressions count, but so do second impressions.
Imagine you’re on a date in a nice restaurant. The person you are on the date with is dressed to the nines — really polished, as if they stepped off a runway or out of a fashion magazine. You both are seated and you begin the process of making small talk while you browse the wine list. After a short time, your waiter arrives and then … your date is embarrassingly rude to the waiter.
So rude and demanding that they replace him with another waiter who also tags out. In fact, your date is rude to the entire staff. Your date sends food back to the kitchen, loudly complains about each wine they bring out to taste and causes quite the scene by yelling at the manager. Just when you think this evening couldn’t possibly get any worse, your date pulls out a cell phone and begins obnoxiously texting and taking calls in between berating the busboys. All. Night. Long.
Want free money?
As you shrink further and further into your seat with each painful minute, the check finally — mercifully — arrives. Your date excuses themselves to use the restroom, leaving you to dodge scowls from patrons who were inconvenienced by the steady stream of outbursts coming from your table.
When your date returns from the restroom, they are wearing a different pair of pants. Now that they’ve changed their appearance, do you go out on a second date?
Why is Personal Branding Important?
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If you are wondering why personal branding so crucial, here’s why:
1. Branding is more than a visual appearance.
No. Of course, you don’t go on a second date.
For you to give this person a second chance they need to fundamentally change who they are and demonstrate it quickly. Either by apologizing to each of the staff members they’ve offended, other restaurant patrons they’ve inconvenienced, or to you for making you uncomfortable at every turn.
They need a new message and new narrative in order to make up for that horrendous second impression — the impression that went far beyond physical appearance and presentation. They don’t get to slap on a new pair of pants and continue to waste your time.
This may sound obvious, but when people talk about the concept of branding or rebranding the conversation often stops short at the brand’s appearance. The design takes precedence over the message, audience, and even the business model or product in some instances.
2. Branding and public perception.
If branding were solely based on design, then every company who went through a rebrand would experience wild success after introducing a new logo or package design. For example, if someone can’t look at your website and find the desired information within ten seconds, they will move on. Learn more about how to start a successful blog here.
Occasionally these efforts boost the brand and increase sales from new customers, but rarely do they do anything for customers who were initially from negative experiences with the company.
A great design firm will ask a long series of questions before taking on a branding project. These questions help designers create a design that reflects the brand. Designers are not creating the brand, they are creating the visual representation that communicates what the brand is.
Examples of those questions are:
- What brands do you admire? Why?
- What adjectives would you use to describe your brand?
- What is the story behind your brand?
- Who is your target audience? Your competitors?
3. Design Only Gets You So Far.
The specialty grocery store chain Whole Foods Market experienced fast growth both at home and abroad, expanding rapidly into new markets. Between 2009 and 2016 the company increased its number of stores by 58 percent, but the customer penetration rate only increased from 7 to 8 percent during that period.
In 2010, the company — experiencing a number of growing pains due to lack of internal processes to handle the rapid expansion — decided to design new packaging, signage, and advertisements for each of its regions in an effort to give the impression of “mom and pop,” despite being a publicly traded international corporation.
While the hand-lettered chalkboard signage and craft paper packaging screamed “We’re still just your average lil’ ol’ corner store… really, we are!” the incredible, and sometimes illegal, markup of their products earned Whole Foods nickname known around the world: Whole Paycheck.
Despite launching a white label brand aimed at targeting “younger, more budget-conscious shoppers” (i.e. Millennials), consumers saw right through the ploy. Competitors, such as Trader Joe’s, pounced on the opportunity to embrace its place as the budget-conscious alternative to the Whole Paycheck brand. These stores began expanding offerings to include quality affordable wines, bath and body products, and more specialty items.
In the last 18 months Whole Foods Market, despite a number of failed rebranding efforts, continued to lose another 14 million customers while the competitors saw dramatic increases in sales of local and organic produce. Whole Foods was unable to effectively address or shake its “Whole Paycheck” persona, resulting in the recent Amazon buyout for a meager $42 per share.
Consider Your Personal Brand.
Whole Foods Market is a large international corporation, but the lesson is the same. Despite the organization’s notoriety and decades of success, it lost touch with its core message and values, abandoned its original customer base without appealing to a new demographic, and ignored its serious public image problem.
Why is personal branding important? Consider your personal brand. A new business card and website redesign may be eye-catching and exude professionalism, but they are useless if your public image and messaging don’t reflect the same tone. You need to consider adjectives to describe your brand, your brand’s story, and who it is that you’re trying to appeal to in order to achieve success in any market.
These are considerations you should take into account when managing your personal brand online. This requires keeping a close eye on your online reputation and knowing when an unflattering image, article, or social media post has made its way into the public eye. Fortunately, you can stay on message by working with professionals to have your online reputation properly scrubbed, monitored, and maintained.