Business IQ

Do A Branson: The Pros And Cons Of Personal Branding

Katie McMurray
Smarter Writer

Katie McMurray is a content editor for Smarter Business™

Katie McMurray
Smarter Writer

Katie McMurray is a content editor for Smarter Business™

There’s a lot of talk about the concept of personal branding. We get excited about Richard Branson’s exploits - space travel, bikini girls and balloon races.

Should we all adopt this way of promoting our businesses: outlandish, cheeky and airborne? Or what about the sob story: the celebrity or politician who achieves national media coverage in a tell-all interview? 

I know a businessman who refers to his positioning and public profile work as ‘doing a Richard Branson’. He’s talking about creating a public profile that can be leveraged. But he isn’t trying to emulate Branson’s style. Branson’s public profile is larger-than-life but personal branding is not a one-size fits-all exercise.

This businessman is developing his own personal brand. There are no bikini girls or parachutes required; in fact you couldn’t find a business less suited to those antics. His business is based on the issues of corporate accountability and responsibility. And he tells a personal and professional back story as part of his business story.

plane

Promoting Your Ethical Position

Twenty years ago, Richard Boele was closely involved in a campaign against a major oil company; whose African operations adversely affected the Indigenous Ogoni people of Nigeria. Richard has now founded and is managing director of Banarra; advising government and big business (including those operating on Indigenous land) on accountability and social responsibility.

Is his back story relevant to the business today? Yes. Is it also personal? Yes? And is it appropriate to talk about this story? Yes.

Sharing Your Personal Challenges

Deeply personal stories might pull at peoples’ heart strings, but before you dig deep ask yourself: ‘Is this personal information relevant to the business?’ If it isn’t, don’t share it. People respond to business stories based on personal experience when the business itself is focused on helping other people benefit from the founder’s own experiences.

Forty-seven years ago, Dena Blackman had a newborn baby; two toddlers and a busy working husband. She desperately needed help at home but none of her family lived nearby. As a result, Dena founded Dial-an-Angel, providing in-home care services. In this case; Dena’s personal story is both relevant and appropriate.

If you’re tempted to simply exploit yours or others’ misfortunes to develop your public profile; you’re heading in the wrong direction.

Ask Yourself: 

1. What life experiences drew you to the business opportunity?

2. What was the niche or gap in the market?

3. How were you personally placed to see this niche and fill it?

4. What did you do before this that helped you fill the niche?

5. What do you bring to your industry?

6. How have you developed a unique offering based on that?

Customer shopping online
Customer Experience
Customer Experience
5 ways to help prepare your business for online Christmas shopping

Despite COVID-19 restrictions easing, many people might still prefer to shop online instead of in-store this Christmas. Is your business ready to meet the demands of the holida...

Regional Australian landscape
Customer Experience
Customer Experience
Bridging the location gap: How regional businesses are thriving online

As society becomes more digitally connected, technology is helping to unleash the potential of many regional businesses.

Female worker stretching hands above head at workplace
Productivity
Productivity
Why you should choose mindfulness over multitasking

Every minute counts for small business owners, so working on three or four things at once might seem like the best way to get things done. But is multitasking actually holding ...

Business owner uses digital tablet on a farm
Business IQ
Business IQ
Federal Budget 2020: 5 key take-aways for small business

Telstra has teamed up with Small Business Australia to deliver a series of articles and resources to help Aussie small businesses survive and thrive in these challenging times....