Why I’m building a personal brand in 2024 and you should too….
The significance of personal branding has become apparent to me, especially as someone who has been immersed in the marketing world for the past decade.
January 15, 2024
The significance of personal branding has become apparent to me, especially as someone who has been immersed in the marketing world for the past decade.
The transition is evident - from a time when company brands dominated the online sphere, to the present where individual personal brands are increasingly capturing the public’s attention.
This isn’t a new phenomenon per se; take Richard Branson, for instance, whose personal brand has always outshone and positively impacted the Virgin brand, propelling it to greater heights than it might have achieved on its own.
However, the advent of social media and digital marketing has democratized this process, enabling individuals without extensive resources or budgets to craft and elevate their personal brands.
The rise of personal branding isn’t confined to traditional influencers.
Rather, it encompasses a broader range of individuals who emerge as media personalities and successful brands in their own right.
These are people who have rapidly transitioned from obscurity to the public eye, a feat that a decade ago was largely achievable only through television or radio exposure.
Today, the digital transformation offers alternative avenues.
Platforms like podcasts, YouTube, and social media, as well as leveraging other people's audiences, provide opportunities to reach millions, even tens of millions, in an incredibly short span of time.
This evolution underscores a crucial insight: in 2024, building a personal brand isn’t just an option, it’s a necessity.
It’s no longer just about having a business or a product; it's about being a brand in oneself.
The individuals who understand and harness this power are the ones who will stand out, make an impact, and potentially reshape their industries.
It’s not just about being known; it’s about being known for something specific, something unique that you bring to the table.
That’s why I’m committed to building my personal brand this year, and why I believe you should consider doing the same.
And the marketing game has always been about garnering attention and forging connections with people.
It’s unsurprising, then, that people are constantly devising new and innovative methods to achieve this.
The trend that notably stood out last year, and seems set to continue for the foreseeable future, is the emphasis on building a personal brand over a company brand.
I am fortunate to have a well-established agency brand, which is unique in its own right.
However, as a personal creative venture, I felt compelled to delve into building my own personal brand.
This initiative serves both as a challenge and an experiment for me. It's an exploration into how individual branding can complement or even enhance the standing of my agency brand.
This journey is not just about self-promotion, but about discovering new avenues of creativity and connection in the digital age, and understanding first-hand the power and impact of personal branding in today's market.
The Evolution of Personal Branding
Personal branding, in its earlier form, was a privilege mainly reserved for celebrity speakers, authors, and other public-facing professionals, often those who had visibility on platforms like TV or radio.
However, the advent of the internet and social media has completely revolutionised this concept.
Fast forward to today, and we see students, employees, and even youngsters establishing themselves as personal brands online, visible to millions.
This transformation has made it increasingly important to safeguard one's online reputation.
Imagine being able to control what appears when someone types your name into Google.
This level of control and influence is precisely why personal branding has become a more deliberate and conscious effort for so many people.
It's not just about crafting an online persona; it's about shaping how you are perceived and interacted with in the digital world.
Given this shift, I believe that now is an opportune time to experiment with personal branding.
This isn't just about following a trend; it's about understanding and utilising a powerful tool that has become essential in our digitally-driven society.
The Importance of Personal Branding in 2024
The individual's name and face have always held immense significance in the realm of marketing.
This is why we often see an abundance of models in lifestyle photography for businesses – because people tend to remember faces and names far more vividly than company names or logos.
In today's world, where overuse of social media has led to a sense of disconnection and a craving for more personal interactions, people are increasingly turning towards personal brands online for guidance and connection.
This shift is further underscored by current reports and industry statistics, which reveal a growing mistrust among the public towards politicians and companies.
This erosion of trust in traditional institutions is a key factor driving the importance and relevance of personal branding in marketing and business in 2024.
Personal branding now serves not just as a method of self-promotion, but as a means to establish a genuine, trust-based relationship with audiences.
It taps into the human desire for authenticity and relatability, which seem to be in short supply in the face of corporate and political entities.
As such, the art of personal branding has become a crucial component in the strategy of those wishing to make a meaningful impact in their respective fields.
I remember listening to a podcast featuring Daniel Priestley, where he discussed the U.S. Presidential elections as a leading indicator of marketing trends.
Reflecting on the previous elections, particularly noting Donald Trump's campaign, it was evident how critical personal branding online had become, and its significant influence on those presidential campaigns.
This observation strongly suggests that personal branding will continue to be incredibly influential in future campaigns and in the broader marketing landscape.
Benefits of Building a Personal Brand
When considering the tangible and intangible benefits of having a strong personal brand in today's professional and personal landscapes, several key advantages emerge.
In my own personal branding experiment, I identified several potential benefits that I believed would make this endeavour worthwhile. These include:
Improving Visibility: Enhancing the visibility of my name and profile.
Controlling My Narrative: Having the ability to control and tell my own personal story.
Gaining Clarity: Helping me to think through and gain clarity around my values and interests.
Building Trust and Credibility: Establishing trust and credibility within the industry.
Developing Skills: Practicing and improving skills like writing, speaking on camera, and podcasting.
Networking and Community Building: Networking with like-minded individuals and building a community of people with shared interests.
Marketing My Business: Marketing my own business in a new and exciting way.
These benefits highlight the multifaceted value of personal branding, encompassing not just professional growth but also personal development and community engagement.
If you’re pondering whether to delve into personal branding this year, consider these benefits.
Do any of these resonate with your goals or aspirations for this year?
Dan Koe’s Approach to Personal Branding
In my quest to understand how to effectively build a personal brand with minimal effort integrated into a busy workweek, I came across Dan Koe.
A prominent figure with millions of followers, all tied to his personal brand. Dan Koe’s philosophy on personal branding is rooted in the principles of authenticity and storytelling.
He underscores the importance of individuals presenting themselves in a genuine, honest manner, which involves sharing personal stories and experiences that resonate with the audience, thereby forging a connection based on trust and relatability.
Koe’s strategy revolves around personal branding as a way to highlight one’s unique value proposition, setting them apart in their field.
He believes that personal branding should mirror one's true self rather than a fabricated persona. This authentic approach aids in creating a strong, memorable brand that endures over time.
Additionally, Koe emphasises the significance of consistency in personal branding, suggesting that consistent messaging and visual elements across various platforms reinforce the brand, making it more recognizable to the audience.
However, this consistency should align with the individual’s authentic identity.
One aspect of Dan Koe's personal branding philosophy that particularly resonates with me, and is echoed by other creators online, is the emphasis on authenticity.
He encourages individuals to embrace their uniqueness, adopting the philosophy of being a ‘niche of one.’
This concept suggests that when you delve deeply into your personal interests and perspectives, you essentially eliminate competition, as your niche becomes uniquely your own.
Typically, marketing focuses on a niche like a location, product, service, or a solution.
While these are effective for businesses, they often lead to competition in the same niches.
In contrast, Koe advises personal brands to focus on storytelling and vulnerability, expressing personal opinions and experiences.
Strategic content creation remains crucial, but when building a personal brand, it becomes easier to concentrate on personal interests, challenges, and frustrations.
This approach ensures that all content created is aligned with core pillars, rather than being scattered across disparate topics.
Social media plays a pivotal role in building a personal brand.
Dan Koe suggests that authenticity and originality on social media platforms are more effective than trying to ‘beat the algorithms.’
He also believes personal development and growth are inseparable from your brand.
As your brand evolves and grows over time, it should reflect your personal development.
This consistency and continuity across all touchpoints with your audience are crucial, but there's also room for improvement and evolution over time.
This philosophy underlines the dynamic and evolving nature of personal branding, as seen in Koe's branding and, as I hope, in my own branding journey as well.
Step-by-Step Guide to Building Your Personal Brand
Here's the step-by-step process I've undertaken in building my own personal brand, which you can use as a guide to develop yours:
Self-Reflection: The journey began with introspection. I contemplated my interests, core values, passions, strengths, skills, and areas I'd like to improve.
These elements became the foundation for the topics I wanted to explore, develop, and eventually teach others about.
For me, these broad topics were marketing, self-improvement, and business, areas I'm deeply passionate about.
Developing Brand Identity: I spent time working on my brand identity.
This encompasses how you dress and appear in video content, the audio quality from your microphone, the visual aesthetics of your videos, and the writing style of your content.
I meticulously planned this out.
Naming and Creating an Avatar: I then moved on to giving this identity a name and an avatar, a common practice in marketing.
This led to the creation of the 'Self-Made Marketer' – a persona representing someone who started with little and developed the skills to excel in marketing.
Exploring the Persona: Diving into this process and exploring the feelings and thoughts about who 'Nick Eagle' is was enlightening.
It’s a valuable process for anyone developing a personal brand to become more introspective and gain insights into their origins and aspirations.
Developing a Compelling Story: With the concept of the Self-Made Marketer in mind, planning the rest became more intuitive.
Developing a compelling story about where I came from, who I am, and my skills and competencies felt natural.
It’s about revealing and narrating your true story, without fabrications.
Strategic Content Planning: I used a framework to outline core topics for content creation, treating them as my guide.
Under each core topic, I brainstormed subtopics and ideas.
For example, under marketing, I might discuss website design, offering reviews or professional feedback.
Incorporating Personal Experiences: Given my background as a personal trainer, I have a keen interest in exercise and health, especially in relation to productivity and business growth.
Therefore, some of my content relates health and wellness to self-improvement and business development.
Choosing the Right Platforms: The final step is selecting the appropriate platforms for content creation.
As my focus this year is to improve my on-camera speaking and podcasting skills, I'm primarily using podcast platforms and YouTube.
Repurposing this content onto popular social media channels like TikTok, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
This structured approach to personal branding combines introspection, strategic planning, and content creation, tailored to leverage my unique experiences and insights.
It’s a dynamic process that blends personal story with professional expertise, resonating with the audience in a meaningful way.
Overcoming Challenges in Personal Branding
One of the most common challenges I’ve observed (and personally experienced) in developing a personal brand is the lack of confidence in one’s ability to produce content or design a brand that will be successful.
This concept resonated with me when exploring Mark Manson’s work.
He discussed the insecurities people often feel in dating, attributing them to the perception of dating as a performative process.
The fear of saying the right or wrong thing and achieving or not achieving a goal based on actions is prevalent. However, Manson argues that this view of dating is flawed; it’s not a performative process but a dialogue, more akin to a dance.
Being honest and true to oneself in communication can lead to meeting someone who respects and enjoys your authenticity, fostering a better long-term relationship than if you were to perform and manipulate someone into a relationship.
Ironically, building a personal brand is quite similar. Insecurities and lack of confidence often stem from not knowing what to produce or create, or how to present the brand – whether it should be confident, charismatic, charming, witty, or funny.
The more you ponder over these aspects, the more you reinforce the idea that building a personal brand is a performative process.
But in reality, it’s not about performance; it’s about revealing and understanding who you are, documenting that, and sharing it with an audience.
Authenticity is key; people can see through pretense.
Many successful personal brands adopt a style of capturing their day on video.
Take Gary Vaynerchuk, for example, who often has someone with a camera and audio equipment follow him around to document his day.
He’s not trying to craft the perfect personal brand; he's providing a window into his life and thoughts, thus revealing a personal brand rather than artificially creating one.
It seems to me that the best approach is to simply start doing it.
I am a firm believer in the JFDI Method, (Just F***ing Do It).
So here I am, embarking on building my personal brand in 2024, embracing the philosophy of action over deliberation and authenticity over performance.
Here I Am! Nick Eagle
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