As a founder, you are practically married to your business. It is part of everything you do. So why not become the face of your brand? You may immediately think this means loss of your privacy and that you feel uncomfortable with being in the spotlight. I had the same reservations but over the past years, my attitude has changed. Let me share my approach and why I decided to be present in the branding of my business without sacrificing my privacy.
My first business was a sports app and one of the biggest takeaways from it was that I had to make the branding and marketing more personal. When I started with the branding my plan was to make the product look big, despite the constraints of a typical start-up budget. Our competitors were big brands with millions of dollars for marketing.
Initially, I was reluctant to be the face of the brand. I thought it may be seen as a weakness of the business. Brands like Nike and Adidas did not have only one face of the brand either. They had celebrity ambassadors – because they have the big budgets to afford this kind of endorsements. Furthermore, I thought customers would believe brand ambassadors and influencers rather than the founders. Of course, a business owner would tell us their product is the best ever.
Later on I realized that rather than following the same strategy as the big players, it can be beneficial to show that you are a small business and make your branding more personal. People are interested in the journeys of young and small businesses. They may feel to be able to connect with your brand if they see you as the founder. Many of them would rather support a small and young business than an established player. Furthermore, you may take them on the journey of entrepreneurship which they would not choose for themselves.
When I realised this demand for more personal branding, I started to share more stories about myself: why I started exercising, how sports improved my self-confidence and how it helped me deal with stress. I instantly saw that people connected.
Nowadays there is no escaping – if it is not via billboards or TV, our online feeds and inboxes are flooded with adverts. It has become very challenging to grab the attention of potential customers. A brand without a face may be overlooked, feel too generic or just feel like mere promotion for yet another product. It is not simply the product which we sell, we need to tell a story about that product and why it is special.
Who could tell the story better than yourself?
A Thin Line between Publicity and Privacy
One of my biggest concerns about being the face of my brand was privacy. I did not want to share every single part of my life with the world and sell out my privacy. For some people, especially online influencers, sharing every angle of their lives has become a lucrative business. But I did not want to be the star of my own reality TV show. I am a very private person.
“Private?”, you may ask? I constantly share on social media, write about my life in my Monday Postcards. How is that private?
Being selective is key. There is a gray line between publicity and privacy. Just because I share some aspects of my life does not mean I sell out my privacy. It is about creating a persona. You can manage what you share. It does not mean that you need to share everything. You can manage insights you would like to allow your customers to have into your life.
I personally find it very effective to show the behind the scenes of what I do. On the one hand, my readers and followers find it interesting to see how I work on my projects. On the other, the nature of the products of Pelagona requires this strategy. It would be very difficult to explain and guarantee the sustainability and ethics of the products without showing my involvement in the process.
When Should You Consider Becoming the Face of Your Brand?
First of all, you need to feel comfortable about sharing more about yourself. In addition to this basic requirement, assess if you yourself are the typical customer of your brand. Many products and companies were developed out of a personal need or problem. If you developed the product for yourself, tested it and are happy with it, why not share your experience?
I mentioned the power of stories when it comes to building customer relationships. Another advantage of being the face of your brand is public relations. Attracting the attention of the media is as hard as getting customers to buy your product. However, magazines, newspapers and TV and radio shows always look for interesting stories. Telling your personal story may be more interesting than just the products you sell.
Furthermore, sharing your personal story may open doors to interviews, conferences and events. The latter may not be the obvious marketing vehicles but they create awareness about you and your business and create valuable spillover effects.
If you do not want to be the sole face representing the brand, you may want to think about a group approach. Involve your team and feature them more prominently. Let them share why they like the product, why they chose to work with you and what their day looks like. If you already have a loyal customer base you can ask your top customers to write reviews and share your business online.
What is your branding approach for your business? Did you decide to become the face of your brand? Let me know, I am interested in learning more about you.
More from my Let’s Talk Business Series:
All information as of the date of publishing/updating. We cannot accept responsibility for the correctness or completeness of the data, or for ensuring that it is up to date. All recommendations are based on the personal experience of Elisabeth Steiger, no fees were received by the recommended services above.