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Should Marketers Have a Personal Brand?

Marketing
Marketing

Marketers work with brands. A marketer can work either for one or for more brands at the same time. If a marketer is an employee in a company that has a marketing department, he might be working for only one brand. If he’s working in an agency, or he’s a freelancer/consultant, he most probably has more than one client.

The marketer’s job is building and promoting a brand. He is in many cases the person behind the brand, that answers your messages and gives more personality to one brand.

But what about themselves?

Is it important for marketers to have a personal brand?

I got stuck with this question a while ago and I’m still wondering if I’m the only one struggling with it or not.

Because there are 2 types of personal brands between marketers:

  1. There is the professional personal brand who is practicing exactly what he is preaching. The one who gets the work done. The one with whom you want to work with. The one who can speak results, strategies, tactics and no bull$hit stuff.
  2. And then there is the scam personal brand who is only acting as a professional. A very good actor. But when you have the chance  (or not) of working with him/her you will see that there are only words, with no action and no results.

And this is why I’m struggling with this question. Is personal branding important for a marketer? What if a marketer doesn’t want to have a personal brand? What if everything around the personal brand idea is just a lie?

I strongly believe that you can build your personal brand by relying on one single important word:

WORK.

In 2017 people are more interested in buying from other people, in trusting another personal recommendation, in talking with a human being.

According to BaseOne, 56% of B2B purchasers look to offline word-of-mouth as a source of information and advice, and this number jumps to 88% when online word-of-mouth sources are included.

This is why social media has gained so much trust and awareness lately.

Because you can (and must) act like a human being when you do a customer service for a brand on Facebook Messenger.

This is why on social media, 58% of consumers share their positive experiences with a company, and ask family, colleagues, and friends for their opinions about brands.

But why should marketers have a personal brand?

There are tremendous reasons why a marketer should have a personal brand.

For example, let’s say that your company is sponsoring a conference and you (as a marketer) have the opportunity to go on the stage and talk to the audience.

Ok, you are talking on behalf of your company, but if you already have a name in your industry and people know who you are they will be even more interested in your ideas.

As Joe Pulizzi (the content marketing evangelist) said into his blog post for CMI:

IBM has been working on an internal influencer program for years, working to build up its employees into promising speakers and dynamic keynotes. Every company of any size should have a plan to find, nurture, and grow speaking talent.

People are interested in people more than they are interested in a company or a brand.

People are more loyal to their needs than to a brand.

That’s why when a person who is already known in his industry goes on a stage and presents his personal idea, will be more interesting than if he went there just as the representative of the company he works for.

How should a marketer build his personal brand, with work ethic and also get the results he wants?

Test and experiment on yourself.

This is why I’m a big believer in the experiment behavior. Because the marketing we see today is related on experiment and resisting. Some may call it A/B testing, some may call it “just give it a shot and you will see what  happens”.

It doesn’t matter how you call it. Just test it and see what works and what does not.

How to test marketing on yourself?

1. Build your [personal] brand

Should marketers have a personal brand?

I’m not saying that you must build a personal brand like a big name, a big website and rent billboards with your face and name on it.

I’m saying that if you want to be recognized in your industry and you want to help your company succeed, you must do your personal work.

For example, let’s say that you are working in a bakery shop as a marketer and you are very passionate about your work. You talk about your work every time and everyone around you knows already know that you are the bakery pro. They are calling you in the weekends asking you several question about ingredients, mix and other stuff.

You can answer all your friends’ question about baking, you can help the company get promoted and you can be the influencer in your industry.

Starting your own blog can get you closer to a community interested in baking. Having your own blog can give you the chance to experiment and test with it. You can try to see what works  on converting readers in leads. You can test several types of content. You can see how much you could sell using your website.

Here are the steps that will teach you how to start your own blog.

And after you test it on yourself you can go and try  the strategy on your company’s website. That will give you the chance and the flexibility to see if it really works.

A [personal] brand can be a website, a personal product, a blog, a YouTube show, an Instagram Page or whatever you think it suits your style and needs.

2. Get involved in the community

It doesn’t matter if you are working in a big town or a small town. It really doesn’t matter if you are working in a big company or a small company.

If you want to build your personal brand and also help your company get more awareness your should be involved in the community.

From a marketers perspective, there can be 3 types of communities:

 

a. The industry: 

Here are your partners, your clients, your providers and your competition. Everything related to your industry. In this case you can get closer to your industry, understand its needs and see what your company does.

For example, I have a friend who is strongly active in the social media community. He is also a blogger and has a very strong community on social media. He then build a company that is organizing conferences in the social media area too. His voice is strong in the industry.

He helps other companies understand what social media is and how to manage it. But he was first a journalist, then he launched his personal blog and worked a lot on it. Now he is one of the most popular people in my country when we talk about social media. Why? Because he built a personal brand for himself, he’s helping his company do great stuff for the industry.

You can build a personal brand to help your industry, to make a step forward and point out some interesting ideas.

 

b. The marketers community 

Here are the ones from whom you can learn. I found out that the marketers meetups, conferences and events are a great way to connect with new professionals and learn from them. This is why you as a marketer must get  involved in this type of community.

I had a lot to learn from other marketers who have a blog or which I met at  marketing conferences. There are marketers who are going the extra mile, because they want to build a better community. There are marketers who think about the future and are helping interns and students indirectly, by responding emails, talking with students at their conferences or writing marketing blogs.

 

c. The city/neighbor community

Here are your clients and prospects. You as a marketer can understand their needs and what you can do as a marketer for the company you are working for. When a brand evolves into a community, people start to get closer and more comfortable with the brand.

People trust people.

People buy from people.

This is why every company needs a face that is more personal, more natural and emphasizes more with the community.

Think about the face of Apple. It was Steve Jobs, right? But what about today? Think about persons like Richard Brand or Elon Musk. They are using social media to talk with their customers, to empower communities and to help the industry.

I believe that marketers can build a great bridge between the community and the brand.

They only have to put themselves in front of it and make sure that they are transparent.

3. Don’t build a personal brand just because it’s cool

I already told you about the scam marketers who  build personal brands only because it’s cool.

Let me tell you something: you don’t build a personal brand just because the sake of having one.

Today it’s very easy to build a personal brand, but how strong is it? What does it stand for? Why do you build that personal brand? These are only some questions you need to ask yourself before going head-on into building a personal brand.

There are lots of entrepreneurs, marketers, social media specialists and authors who built their personal brand long before they knew about personal branding. And now they are talking about building a personal brand.

You read their articles, you watch their videos and listen their podcast and think about “well, it’s sounds easy” and it is. But when the storm will come and you have to face the real problems of your company, no personal brand can help you.

I strongly believe that building a personal brand shouldn’t be the biggest purpose of a marketer if he wants to help his company.

For example, if you want to help your company get featured on different top websites, you could start writing on your company’s blog, launch your personal blog and then pitch other websites.

Then be consistent with your work and the big ones will follow too.

A personal brand is not the main purpose of your job.

Conclusion

It was very hard for me to write this article because it’s kind of a misconception.

I don’t believe in building a personal brand only for the sake of having a personal brand.

I also don’t believe that a personal brand can help your company get more revenue (only if that company wants to invest hundred and thousand of $ in yourself, so you can be the face of the company).

But I believe that a marketer should do whatever it takes to help his company achieve their purposes and help the community.

Now back to you. Let me know in the comment section below what you think about personal branding for a marketer; is this something a marketer should consider working on or they must focus more on the company and less on themselves?

I’m very curious on your opinion about this.

Your turn to comment:

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Robert Katai

Visual Marketer and Content Strategist

"Content isn’t king. Usefulness is. Robert does this in the online marketing and social media space with ease."

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