Both online and off, there’s no shortage of people and companies trying to sell you things. The downside of this multi-merchant megamarket is that it’s very easy for a company to be drowned out. You can have the best product at the most competitive price, but without that added special something you’ll be totally ignored.
So, the big question is - what is that special something? It might be being in the right place at the right time, or having an ad campaign go viral. It can be all sorts of things, but one of the most effective, efficient - and downright fun - ways to stand out is through the use of personal branding.
We’ll look at what you can do to make your sales strategy spring sharply to life with personal branding. Before this, though, time for a basic question.
So, what is branding?
You probably already have an idea of what we mean by branding. After all, brands are thrown at us every day, so if we have no idea what they are, we can’t have been paying much attention.
But let’s take it from the top, just so we’re all on the same page.
Branding is a way of making a product and/or producer instantly recognizable to the customer. Good branding delivers speed. After all, you don’t need Nike explaining to you - you just know. And sales are built on speed.
In every step of the sales process, from brands saving the customer time on product appraisals, to sales navigator integrations speeding up document management, speed and convenience are what make all the difference. So when customers already have an image of your brand, you don’t have to take the time to introduce them.
So, what is personal branding?
Personal branding is a continuation of this, with one key difference - branding’s all about an individual rather than a product or a company. This lends a humanizing, authentic quality.
Which individual? Well, if it’s a one-person outfit, then it can be that person. If, however, it’s a larger company, then it can be about a person who best represents that company. If that’s the owner, great.
Doesn’t have to be, though. It can be that someone in the contact center is a perfect representation - she’s lively, empathic, passionate, and knows the products inside out.
In any case, the aim is to humanize the brand. Why’s this important? Because people like to deal with people.
Humanizing your content
When it comes to UX and conversions, content is king, so it makes sense to start here. There are a number of techniques you can use to humanize your content. Here are two of them.
First and second person
Back to basics. When producing content for your company, no matter what the product or medium, it’s a good idea to give the impression that it’s always the same individual, talking one to one to the customer. You can seek to underline this by using the first and second person in your product descriptions, thereby turning things conversational.
So, if your business sells a telephone product, it might be a good idea to frame the approach to the customer in a fairly casual manner. Like ‘I know what you’re thinking - why do I need an enterprise voice provider? Try this - it’s got built-in AI that transcribes in real time.’
Image is everything
So, your personal brand has a distinctive voice. So far, so good. Now think about utilizing our famous preference for image. Why do we prefer images? Because we’re wired to process pictures over comprehending text.
The great thing about using images is that not only do they chime better with the consumer, but they also give you the perfect opportunity to ramp up the humanization of your sales strategy. Nothing’s more human than, well, a human, and your pictures - or video! - can be full of them talking, smiling, laughing, winking, waving, doing whatever seems appropriate.
Some sales funnels and CX can be very automated, with AI and service bots at every turn. This can be alienating for the consumer, but the insertion of a video of a real-life human can break this up, helping improve their experience (and consequently, your sales).
Emails can be human too
The next time you’re planning an email marketing campaign, consider this. Over 300 billion emails get sent around the world every day. Most of these will look very dreary indeed, and a lot will have all the hallmarks of a mass-produced personality-free sales pitch. But how to avoid being seen as one of them?
An easy solution is to have the email coming from a particular member of staff. As we’ve mentioned, this could be the company founder or any individual of your choice.
Getting an email from an individual rather than a company name feels like a real breathing human is reaching out personally. This helps avoid your customers feeling like just another target prospect on a business roster. Take this one from Marketing Sherpa.
Another way to humanize your emails is to stick some humor in there too. Nothing too edgy, just a note of informality. Obviously, think about your audience and pitch accordingly. If it’s a cozy and traditional knitwear brand, you’ll want safe and light humor. For a tech startup B2B brand you might well be able to go a bit more outrageous and edgy. But be careful - what’s funny to you may not be quite such a hoot to others. So always run it by colleagues before you send it out.
A safe bet is clever wordplay, as this can strike a harmless but playful chord. For instance, say it’s an email from the boss of a dairy business. Don’t just call them CEO. Try the Big Cheese. Highly trucklesome.
What about social media?
We’ve touched on the importance of video, and this can obviously be a big part of any social media output. Beyond this, consider using the following techniques to get your social media all about your personal brand.
Pick topics that are key to your product, as well as connected to the personal branding you’re aiming to promote. If the company’s selling outdoor gear and the branding’s all about the outdoor life, write about outdoor topics like best recipes for campers. Sounds obvious? It is. But you’d be surprised how often it gets overlooked!
The important factor is to focus on the essential message of the brand. Eventually, this will have the effect of creating a center of gravity for the subjects you’re writing about. By staying consistent, interesting, and authoritative, you’ll get links from others and your credibility and expertise will increase.
This is when your personal branding really takes off. Once people start to invest their trust in a person, they’ll be more likely to go with that person’s suggestions. So when you tell them your product is the best at what it does? They’ll be inclined to agree.
Social media is great at this. Take the time to make connections with others, especially those that seem to chime naturally with what you’re all about. If you offer mobile app testing, for instance, get chatting with developers or share information about coding-based events.
And while we’re on networking, don’t forget to reply to your followers. Do it with speed and depth of interest - show that you value their interest in your brand and do all you can to make their experience with you an enjoyable one.
Don’t be afraid to stir things up a little from time to time. It can really cut through the chaff and get people talking about you. By having your brand persona doing something a little against the grain, people will sit up and take notice. Of course, we’re not talking about anything offensive.
A great example is when breakfast cereal Weetabix launched its baked beans campaign.
As you can see, it got a lot of attention on Twitter. Not surprising - it’s an image not likely to be forgotten by anybody familiar with the taste of the items concerned. Both great in their own cuisine milieu, with devout adherents to each. But mix them up and you get some real fundamentalist furore. But - importantly - in a fun way.
Indeed, the beauty of this is that it’s controv-lite. Nobody’s going to be offended by it, but it stirs up emotions nevertheless.
Don’t overdo it
Yes, it can seem like you need to post and post in order to stay relevant, but it’s possible to overpost and look desperate for attention. You may want to tweet for the tenth time that day about your amazing VoIP (voice over internet phone) products, but sometimes less is more.
So, by all means, take a break now and again. Once you’re established, you’ll have them wanting more from you, and this won’t go away overnight. So, from time to time feel free to build up the anticipation. Make them wait for it!
In sales and marketing, as it does in all relationships, personality makes all the difference. By shaping your brand story around a human personality, you stand every chance of giving your business what it needs to make a connection with the consumer. And every sale starts with a connection.
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AuthorTanhaz Kamaly is a Partnership Executive at Dialpad, a modern cloud-hosted business communications platform that turns conversations into the best opportunities with helpful guides like this Dialpad guide to PBX phone system for small business both for businesses and clients. He is well-versed and passionate about helping companies work in constantly evolving contexts, anywhere, anytime. Tanhaz has also written for other domains such as Not Going To Uni and Corporate Vision Magazine. Check out his LinkedIn profile.