KHWS Blog: Building a personal brand

Building a personal brand

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These days it seems harder than ever to really stand out from the crowd. In this blog post we consider the power in building a personal brand and how it can be utilised to trigger emotion and drive sales.


What is personal branding?

When we think of powerful branding, what often springs to mind are logos of large corporations with huge advertising budgets such as, Coca-Cola, Apple, Disney, McDonald’s, Nike and the list goes on. However, as the name suggests, personal branding is human-centric; it has a face, personality and individual identity. Personal branding is the practise of individuals marketing themselves and their careers as brands and forming a reputation, be it online or offline.

So why is this important? In today’s noisy marketing landscape, brands need to work harder to be seen and heard. It’s too competitive to dilute your marketing message or risk confusing consumers. After all, you may only have one chance to convince potential customers that your voice is one worth listening to. But a strong, authentic personal brand which endorses certain brands or products can trigger emotions such as trust and reassurance. This has the potential to guide people. Once this trust is established it can encourage customers and consumers to make a purchase.


The queen of personal branding?

Kim Kardashian is arguably the epitome of someone establishing and using their personal brand to build a business. In the last decade, she has altered her personal brand from being a full time socialite in 2007, to a career business woman and fashion icon, which has helped her build up a personal brand worth approximately $175 million. This has been enhanced by her 110 million Instagram followers (and strong contouring skills), which has enabled her to sell beauty products from her brand KKW Beauty, KKW Fragrance, and Kids Supply.

It goes without saying that her celebrity family TV show, pop icon husband and scandalous nude photoshoot cannot be ignored in contributing to building a successful personal brand. Now, she can simply put her name to a product and watch the brand value increase.


How does personal branding trigger emotions and affect purchasing decisions?

When purchasing, consumers want to buy from companies that they trust, and customers subconsciously base their purchasing decisions on the opinions of other people. This form of social proof (one of our nine Sales Triggers) is influenced by family, friends, reading reviews, ratings, talking to store staff. Authentic personal brands can also trigger similar emotions of trust, reliability, expectation and so on, therefore when they are endorsing a product or brands, potential customers are more likely to make a purchase. For paid partnerships to be successful, they must strengthen or align with the influencer’s lifestyle and personal brand.

All too recently, brands have had to sever ties with influencers and ambassadors because of inappropriate behaviour. So while authenticity is an important factor to driving sales, it is also taken with a pinch of salt. For instance, it’s widely understood that influencers such as Kim Kardashian are paid to sit on the front row at Fashion Week and post or tweet about fashion brands. So, in an age of ‘fake news’ where consumers seek transparency from brands and influencers what kind of legacy will personal branding leave?