It is a well-known marketing adage, applicable whether you are a small company of one or a multibillion-dollar corporation: people do business with people they know, like and trust. Branding, both personal and corporate, is all about how your audience (fans, readers, and consumers) perceives you. Your story is your personal brand. Here are four reasons why your personal story and brand can make an impact on how others view you and your products:
- People do business with people. People want to do business with people more than they want to do business with companies or corporations.2 In her article "How to Create the Story of Your Own Personal Brand," Heather Huhman states, "Above all else, newest generation consumers value authenticity." When you craft and share your personal brand, online and offline, people identify with you as a person. You become human and authentic to them.
- People do business with people they know. How do we come to know one another? By sharing our stories. For instance, our stories of where we have been and where we are going, our day-in-the-life details, our behind the scenes images.3 Your audience is no different. Telling your story helps them to know you, the things you care about, the stories that move and motivate you, what current issues are important to you. You show that selling to them is not the only motive that drives you.
- People do business with people they like. Transparency creates likeability. When your audience perceives you as transparent, it is easier for them to like you. You are no longer some distant figure locked away in a tower of invulnerability created by layers of corporate sales mechanization. Sharing your story strips away those layers and your audience now sees you, and can relate to you, as one of them–someone who has needs and desires similar to their own. In their minds, you become like them. As humans, we find it difficult not to like someone who is like us.
- People do business with people they trust. In this age where your audience is inundated with advertising at every turn, they value real stories far more than promise and speculation, because real stories prove what you have done.4 Newest generation consumers also value "brands of substance that exude a meaningful story."5 To build trust and connection between your audience and yourself, you have to tell a real, substantive and meaningful story. What story is more real, substantive and meaningful than your own told with consistency, courage and boundaries?6
Stories are how consumers connect brands to their lives.7 Consistently telling your story in a real way to your audience relates them to your personal brand. When they trust you enough to purchase your products, your personal brand then becomes connected to them as part their story. Telling your story becomes critical, then, because it gives your audience a sense of doing business with you, not a sales-driven company. Offering that essential point of personal connection impacts your customers' views and allows you to become a trusted source.8