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Who’s buying your personal brand?


Ahead of her workshop at TrainingZone Live this year, Spark's Jennifer Holloway explains how to make the most of your!
When it comes to doing business in the current climate, the adage that 'people buy people before they buy what they're selling' has never been truer. With so much choice when it comes to products, services and providers, making a buying decision based solely on logic has gone out of the window; the ability to look at the tangible differences between two things and choose the one that best fits our needs isn't possible when they all do.
Instead decisions are made on a more emotional level, taking into account how we feel about the options on offer, how they fit with our personal values and beliefs, whether we buy into the person behind the offering and not just the deliverables. For business leaders today, that means becoming 'a face' in their organisation, rather than just a job title – engaging with people on a personal level as well as a business one.
For people to buy people they need to understand what they get when they buy into you, which is where your personal brand comes to the fore. Just as a company's brand with its mission statement, logo and strapline will give clues as to what its product or service can deliver, your personal brand does the same thing – regardless of who you are and whether you're sat in the boardroom or the postroom.
"In today's world of business, it's the people who are promoting a clear USP who are standing out from the crowd and getting ahead."
By communicating the mix of your values, beliefs, reputation, behaviour, skills and image that come together to make you you, your audiences know what you bring to the table that no-one else does. And in today's world of business, it's the people who are promoting a clear USP who are standing out from the crowd and getting ahead.
So if people buy people, have you taken the time to define what your personal brand has to offer? (Although it's seldom admitted, it's not unusual for people to be unsure about who they really are and to end up being who they think others want them to be; considering what it is that makes you tick and how you stand out from the crowd can be a great tool for boosting confidence.)
For those who have defined their personal brand, the next question is, "Are you communicating that to your audiences in everything you say and do?"
Congratulations if you are, but there's one thing you mustn't forget...When it comes to the question of who is buying your personal brand, the answer is, "Not everyone" - and that's exactly as it should be. Because a key part of understanding that people buy people is to be confident enough with who you are to accept that not everyone is going to buy you. Believing otherwise is a surefire way to lose your marbles.
I once received anonymous feedback from someone who said: "Jennifer has a strong brand, like double espresso, but sometimes I want tea."
My first reaction was horror. "Oh my goodness, I've annoyed someone by being too OTT. I should tone it down in future and keep my mouth shut and my opinions to myself."
And then I remembered the 3 Golden Rules of Personal Branding – something to consider when you're working on your brand:
  1. Be Authentic. If I tried to sell tea just because I knew someone was a tea drinker somewhere down the road I'd slip back into my authentic role: a coffee seller. As soon as that was revealed, they wouldn't trust my brand and the buy-in would stop
  2. Be Clear. My personal brand is double espresso – I have a strong style that lets you know I love and believe passionately in what I do. Adding tea to the mix would add confusion, and confused people don't buy
  3. Be Consistent. If I gave people double espresso one day and tea the next, people would start to question what I was selling. If they can't trust what they're getting, they're not going to buy.
So the result is the same: lose sight of the rules and you lose the buy-in of your audience. The great thing is though, there'll be someone out there whose personal brand is all about tea and if they're promoting that clearly, consistently and authentically, the tea drinkers will soon find them.
So if you could be more successful in your role by getting people to buy into you (and who wouldn't?) take time to evaluate your personal brand – either on your own or with professional help – and you could just find your perfect USP.
Book tickets for TrainingZone Live here
Jennifer Holloway is the founder of Spark and a personal brand coach working with business leaders in the north of England and London. Further information about personal branding can be found on her website and in her blogs at

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