While personal branding as a concept isn’t new, it’s only beginning to approach a point of mass adoption. As a viable business model, it’s proving both profitable and lucrative as entrepreneurs wake up to the power of leveraging a personality. Chris K. Hogan is the Founder of ILIXIR, a company that helps businesses and entrepreneurs find their voice and audience by developing their personal brands. Here, he shares his top six tips for reinventing your brand in the year ahead.
- Connection Is an Influencer’s Currency
The currency of brands is connection. Previously, influencers shared their perfectly curated feeds to build a larger-than-life persona. That left followers impressed, but distant. Instead of flashy cars, perfect beach vacations, and other expressions of overt materialism, audiences are now looking for humanity, vulnerability, intimacy, and connection. To build long-term equity with an audience, Hogan guides his clients into sharing more of the personal stories that make them unique. What’s working today, he explains, is a blend of both approaches.
- Embrace Value Driven Storytelling
From Homer’s Odyssey to Walt Disney’s movies, great storytellers have enthralled audiences throughout the ages. Generally speaking, people are on social media to be entertained. Each offering their own ambiance, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok are exceptional places to begin sharing stories. Empty entertainment, however, is no longer enough to build a loyal following. “Instead, educate to give value, “advises Hogan, a Dartmouth College alumni. “Use a short punchy story to entertain, but combine it with a new way to frame something or ask a thought provoking question.” Going forward, adding core concepts, life lessons, and an informational component are what’s driving heightened engagement.
- Leverage Your Network
The hardest way to go at anything is to do it alone. Instead of envisioning a content strategy as a solo endeavor, Hogan suggests looking for ways to collaborate with other people in your space who are simultaneously engaged with building a personal brand. “Co-hosted podcasts, group interviews, and collaborative live stream Q & A’s are just a few ways to leverage your network,” he adds. New content creation can be challenging, yet co-authored content is, by comparison, effortless.
- Focus Is Essential
Confucius observed, “A man who chases two rabbits, captures neither.” If you’re new to personal branding and don’t have an inhouse team or agency, it’s difficult to scale native content across multiple major platforms. Chris K. Hogan points out that it’s far better to heed Confucius’ advice and focus on a single platform. “Once you’ve established your audience there, transferring them to other platforms is straightforward.” Even so, he cautions brands that are splintering their energy across different platforms might be better off following the Pareto principle, putting 80% of their energy into one platform and the remaining 20% into maintaining a presence on others.
- Make it a Business Model
The best personal brands monetize their audience directly or indirectly through opportunities that arise from having a powerful presence. Hogan recommends building a social media content strategy with the intention to employ it as a monetization platform, so you can continue to invest in your brand and grow. “By totally integrating organic content into a business model, we’re able to drive top line revenue and bottom line profits.”
Chris K. Hogan predicts a tsunami of personal branding in the next five years as it becomes a universal requisite by anyone doing business on the internet. The remainder of 2021 presents an enormous opportunity for any entrepreneur to shift their business model to brand-driven engagement ahead of the wave.