After a heartbreaking professional setback, Amber Williams discovered the true power of a personal brand. She had been so focused on achieving the company’s goals, Amber hadn’t been building her own reputation outside of the company. When she was ready to leave her company, it felt like she had no leverage and nothing much to show for all her hard work. She’s been building her own brand since.
Amber took to the stage at the She’s Unstoppable Live! Conference to share how your personal brand is empowered by your personal story. As a Brand Strategist and founder of her brand consultancy, Punkyflair, Amber helps women uncover their stories and learn to use them to develop their personal brand. She believes in the power of storytelling and that a strong personal brand is more beneficial in business than sales pitches.
So, how do you build a strong personal brand?
Attributes of a Powerful Personal Brand
When considering how to use the magic found in their story, Amber asks her clients to consider the following factors: authenticity, meaning and connection.
Authenticity: One of the major factors that defines your personal brand is authenticity. Degrees, accolades and work experience are all duplicable, but no one has your exact story. At She’s Unstoppable, Amber said, “We live in a climate where 33% of customers buy and trust businesses and people who are authentic. Ninety percent of customers trust what a person says over what a company says.” She also quoted a Nielsen study which found that 80% of customers considered authenticity the first factor when determining if they’ll follow a person or brand on social media. When people and brands strip out the personal aspect, there is even more power in those who are willing to tell their authentic story. Amber asks, “When we’re creating these personal brands, why are we removing the personal part from it?”
Meaning: Tied to authenticity, are the two things that some of the most successful brands tend to have in common: meaning and connection. Meaning is your “why” and it is what differentiates a brand from a business. A brand has a deeper meaning and creates a relationship with the customers who buy into it while a business is purely transactional. To find the meaning of your story, it is necessary to look back at chapters of your life, examine them, and see which ones stand out based on how each chapter got you to where you are now. This helps you understand and identify your “why.” Amber’s own work today has been driven by her story and experiences.
Connection: Oftentimes, the personal aspects of a story are left out when developing a brand. This is especially true among women due to fear of being perceived as overly emotional. However, some of the most successful and amazing brands have emotional connections with their audiences, such as Oprah and her connection with her work. Quoting a Harvard Business Review study, Amber said, “Harvard Business Review conducted a study and found that 64% of customers buy into brands and people that have the same shared values as them.” Nielsen found that 94% of customers were more likely to be loyal when brands showed full transparency. Your story defines your personal brand, who you serve and why you serve them, says Amber. She also quoted author and entrepreneur Seth Godin who said, “People do not buy goods and services, they buy relations, stories and magic.”
By finding her why, being true and authentic, Amber is determined to make each chapter in her story count. Unleashing the magic in her story has allowed her to do what she loves in marketing and branding. Amber embraces the fact that at one point she felt like her career stopped dead in its tracks and uses it to connect with her customers who have faced similar challenges.
There is power in your story, too. Take a moment to consider what your authentic story is, how that provides meaning in your business, and use that to connect with your clients. And create relationships not just transactions.
To find out more about how Coldwell Banker can be the place that supports you and your business, visit CBwomen.com.
Senior Manager, Public Relations for Coldwell Banker. Grew up in south Florida as an avid Seminole fan and attended college in the mountains of North Carolina. Athena wanted to wake up in that city that doesn’t sleep so headed to Madison Avenue to start her marketing career. Athena has been with this awesome brand for more than 15 years and can be found generating buzz about CB in every way possible. The one area of her job she loves the most is overseeing the Coldwell Banker Homes for Dogs Project in partnership with Adopt-a-Pet.com where hundreds of thousands of dogs have now found their fur-ever home. In her spare time, you can find her either digging up a new area in her yard for another flower bed or planning her next travel adventure. She resides with the Bukowski of our generation (AKA her husband) along with her cats Jolene, Ziggy and Lucy in Atlanta, Ga.