The Importance of Founder Branding and Why You Should Care
The founder’s persona, summed up in a few words, will be the first impression that potential investors, customers, and partners see when they come across your company, and it has the potential of having a significant impact on how people perceive your company’s brand. The way a founder presents themselves will influence how people view their business and whether they want to do business with them or not. The importance of founder branding should not be overlooked as a strong founder brand can help attract talent, investors, and customers, outshine the company in the marketplace and impact the company’s success and your personal success.
What are the Best Practices in Building your own Personal Brand?
The key to successful personal branding is to be authentic. People are not interested in a fake or a person trying too hard but someone honest, someone they can relate to. It has to be an aggregate of all the online and offline presence of the founder and not just the social media profiles.
The first step in building a personal brand is knowing who you are as a person and an entrepreneur. As simple as it may sound, this is often the toughest of it all as it requires a person to dive deeper within oneself and answer the most profound question of existence and impact, what one wants to achieve with what they have planned out? What do they want people to think about when they hear their name? What do they want the people to associate with their company? A personal brand is a way to establish a professional identity for yourself. It is about understanding who you are, what you stand for and what you want to achieve. Some of the best practices in the order of importance goes as follows :
- First and foremost, have a personal website. An up-to-date personal website that showcases your skills and accomplishments is a must, no questions asked. A personal website is like a permanent residential address that is online, which people can refer to know more about you, personally and professionally, and to reach out to you. It is a personal space, away from all the hustle-bustle of social media dedicated solely to you. That speaks only about you and reflects your persona, making it imperative to be mindful of the content you put on it.
- Establish an online presence. The best way to do this is by being present on various social media handles and being consistent with them. Share content that is relevant for your audience and regularly engages them by giving them some food for thought through blogs, articles and hosting/participating in online events.
- Have a clearly defined mission and vision that also entails the business’s brand. Often, entrepreneurs start with a mission and vision statement that aligns with their company’s mission and vision statement, but this alignment is lost as time passes. It is essential that your purpose in life encompasses your company’s purpose and is reflected strongly in every action you take. Hence, an end customer does not need to view you separately from your company; instead, you become a single entity heading towards a common goal.
- Create a visual brand that is coherent with your company’s brand. Many people are right on track with visual consistency when they begin their journey, but with time as things keep adding to the plate, this critical aspect of visual branding is often overlooked. Visual consistency makes it easier for the audience to connect the person they are following with the company that person owns and vice versa.
MIA (Marketing In Asia) research data indicates that, amongst the small percentage of founders who are making efforts in this direction, social media (65%) is the most sought-after channel that founders are using to brand themselves, followed by articles and blogs (45%) and only a few have their websites (25%).
How Does Your Product’s Success Depend on the Founder’s Personal Brand?
Some people think that self-branding is something reserved for big companies, but this is not true. Self-branding is also a clever way for entrepreneurs to promote their businesses and establish their brand identity. A founder’s personal brand is a crucial factor in the success of their product and can be a deciding factor in how well potential customers receive the product. MIA research found that only 6% of the startup founders were making efforts to brand themselves and almost 30% of those who are not branding had no or little understanding of founder branding and therefore had never given it a thought.
Methods of communication with your audience & how to use them properly
Marketing and communications are the keys to success for any startup. It would be best to find a way to speak to your audience and make them feel like they are a part of your company, so a founder must know how to use the different channels of communication properly and how to combine them when needed. There are many ways to communicate with your audience. However, the most effective one nowadays is social media marketing which has become one of the most popular and go-to ways for startups to market themselves because it is an easy and inexpensive way for companies that do not have much money or time on their hands. You should also invest in making relevant content and share it on other platforms like blogs, YouTube, or LinkedIn and use email marketing to stay connected with your customers and prospects or send them newsletters or updates about new products, features, or offers.
To sum up, the answer to the question, why a startup founder needs personal branding, lies in this single rule of thumb, proposed by Bob Burg and John David Mann in their book The Go-Giver “All things being equal people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like, and trust.”
To know more about how startups perceive founder branding – Download the report