MP spoke with Becky Bugger, Director of Business Development and Sales at StubGroup. Bugger has years of experience in the field through working as a marketing director, account executive, senior-level copywriter, and director. She focuses on humanizing the sales process and creating reliable forward-facing employees. Bugger uses generic branding and marketing skills to determine if digital marketing will work for every client.
What is a personal brand, and how does it evolve?
A personal brand represents the identity you want others to understand about who you are, what you stand for, and why they want to work with you.
More than a marketing tactic, a personal brand is about using your expertise, charisma, and talents to earn the respect of your peers and as well as your customers.
Developing a Personal Brand
Why should someone consider developing a personal brand, and why do personal brands matter?
Your personal brand is your reputation.
In a virtual world, this reputation is often perceived versus learned or earned, so creating a digital footprint that you are proud of is the most important part of a personal brand in 2022.
How can someone begin to develop a personal brand from the ground up, and what steps should be taken from the beginning?
Consistency is key.
While your values and ideologies may change and evolve, how you represent them and the role that others perceive you play in your chosen space needs to be presented in a repetitive, consistent manner.
Just like a traditional brand, if you suddenly change your outward appearance, people will notice, and sometimes, that can create distrust or skew loyalty.
What role does passion play in one’s personal brand, and how should it be used?
Passion is super important in a personal brand but also a slippery slope.
As I mentioned previously, if you are early in your career, it’s 99.9% likely that your passions will change from when you are 25 to when you are 35. You'll have to start from scratch if you’ve developed a brand that represents one particular passion and decides to change your direction.
Make sure that the passion you are presenting within your personal brand matches your goals for yourself and your career but doesn’t cross the line into personal agendas and efforts that you pursue outside your career.
How true to one’s natural self does a personal brand need to be, and why?
Authenticity is so important in a world where people pretend to be people they are not.
Trust has always been difficult to earn in business, but earning it online and through emails, social media platforms, and video calls is even more difficult.
You should be prepared to be stalked by anyone considering starting a relationship with you, even in business.
How important is marketability in one’s personal brand, and why?
Marketing your personal brand is dependent on your goals for that brand.
If you are in a career where your brand is your product, then marketing will be vital to your business endeavors' success.
If your personal brand represents an additional product or service, then how you represent yourself within your brand directly impacts the overall perception of the brand you represent but doesn’t necessarily need marketing.
Is it possible to create a personal brand that’s too niche?
As I mentioned earlier, once you’ve created your brand, changing it is difficult and can create distrust.
If your brand is incredibly niche and you change career paths, for example, it will take a lot of work to rebuild your brand and earn back the trust of those who previously saw you in one light but now have to see you in another.
Personal Brands for Entrepreneurs
How can entrepreneurs develop a meaningful personal brand while putting almost all their time and attention into their businesses?
Old-school PR is often invaluable when creating a personal brand without the time to do it yourself.
Hiring someone that can represent your brand on social media platforms and in articles and other media outlets can help you grow your personal brand without a ton of effort, as it is a full-time job.
Just make sure you have your brand guidelines, just like you would with a product or a service.
How can developing a strong personal brand help entrepreneurs succeed with their businesses?
People like Tony Robbins, Gordon Ramsey, and Tim Ferris are great examples of how entrepreneurs can create a personal brand that people trust. They are known as the best in what they do and don’t change their brand to meet the needs of a changing market or consumer demand. They modify their efforts to fit into how those things become fluid over time. Finding a way to remain consistent and still command respect is the key to success in a personal brand that people will be loyal to.
Personal Branding Mistakes
What are some personal branding mistakes people generally make, and how can such mistakes be avoided?
Being too niche or not being niche enough, changing their brand too often, and trying to reach people that will want to interact with their brand in the wrong places.
The first two are self-explanatory regarding how to avoid mistakes, but the third is really important.
If you are marketing your brand, it’s vital that you know who your market is and where to reach them, whether that’s on places like YouTube, Google search, or Meta, in print advertising, or on the radio, and creating an advertising strategy that is going to help you raise awareness around your brand.
What are three common misconceptions about personal branding, and how can we set the record straight?
1. What Personal Branding Is About
People think personal branding is all about “you,” when it’s about your market and how you create a brand that fits into that market like a missing puzzle piece.
2. Personal Branding Is a “New Thing”
It’s not. It’s been around forever. Just look at Henry Ford, Charlie Chaplin, and even historical figures like Abraham Lincoln. Politics are a great example of the early days of personal branding.
3. The Idea of a Personal Brand Will Disappear, and I Won’t Need It Anymore
Nope, the digital revolution is just in its infancy.
We’ve got a long way to go, baby, and people will be able to find out everything they want to know about you with just a few clicks for-ev-er.
So creating a brand that you're proud of is more important now than ever.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Your personal brand these days lives in digital format.
Be careful with what you post, what you share, and how you allow your name to be used.
It could come back to haunt you one day.
Responses provided by Becky Bugger, Director of Business Development and Sales at StubGroup.