Having a good personal brand is as vital in business as any other personal skill or strength. It is essentially an expansion of one’s reputation, the impression others see when one’s name is mentioned or read. It not only affects one’s ability to lock down professional relationships, but also extends to the credibility of one’s company as well.
Why is personal branding a crucial facet of business? For one, it distinguishes the person (and the company he or she carries) from the competition. Steve Jobs’ personal brand was different from Bill Gates’. Donald Trump’s differed from Richard Branson’s. Executives carry their brands as much as the brands carry them, their personal preferences and styles define their companies and makes their services distinct from others. This in turn makes the company relatable not just to consumers, but to prospective business partners and employees as well. Like-minded individuals gravitate towards the brand, bringing with them their own creativity and skills. This enriches the company with people who believe and share the executive’s beliefs, and makes for better internal communication and efficiency.
An executive’s personal brand is also a reflection of the company’s principles. Customers and partners connect the company to the figurehead, and poor performance always has the executive to blame (Kenneth Lay of Enron being a notorious example). For a company to survive and expand, the executive must go to great lengths not just to promote his or her personal brand, but also to uphold the brand based on the company’s ideals.
Spiro Baltas is the founder of Gotham Brand, a New York-based firm specializing on brand identities and personalities. For more information about Mr. Baltas and his endeavors, visit his official website.