18.12.2014

“People do business with people.”

It may sound obvious, but personal branding expert Jennifer Holloway says all too often companies are overlooking the human side of business.

Jennifer Holloway“A lot of people who run their own business think a lot about branding and what their company stands for,” says Jennifer.

“They look at what their logo or website is saying, and put a lot of effort into getting it right.

“But people don’t care about things like a company logo when selecting a business to use. People buy people. So a lot can be said for spending the same amount of time on the who, rather than the what.”

She added: “Like it or not, we all have a personal brand. As Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, said: ‘Your brand is what people say about you when you leave the room’.

“People are picking up clues about who you are all the time, and if they are going to say things about you whatever, you may as well get out there, say something yourself, and use it to your advantage.”

Jennifer’s services include one-to-ones, workshops, or offering her services as a speaker. “When I work with people, I like to understand what makes them tick, find out what they’re made of and who they are.

“Then it’s almost like helping them create a signature dish – you get them to think about all the things they can do and what they do best.

“Sometimes people can’t see the wood for the trees but once they get it, it can really help them with their business.
“I describe it as a what you bring to the table and who you are when you bring it.”

Jennifer says even small steps can make a difference to your personal brand. “Don’t shy away from putting yourself out there. Some people are nervous about little things like recording a voice message. But if we’re going to do business, I’m going to hear your voice anyway. I’m going to meet you and see what you look like, so why not put a picture on your website?

“Not everyone is going to get on with everyone, but the personal touch can persuade a client.” She added: “Put the hard work in up front – get the really good LinkedIn profile, make a really good “About Us” section on your website, set up your blog, your voice mail.

“You should have the same approach as you do with a professional brand. It can be hard, but once it’s done, it’s done.”

Jennifer has three main tips:

1/ Understand you have a brand, and being of aware of it will help you use it to your advantage.

2/ Use your personal brand alongside your marketing brand. You are doubling your appeal.

3/ Sell the who, alongside the what.

Jennifer herself benefitted from having a SREG mentor. Her business has grown and she now works with a range of clients including large corporations such as RBS, Microsoft and Premier Inn.

She said: “At the time I first approached SREG I was about maybe a year and a half into my business. The problem was, I had 101 different ideas for what I could be doing to market my business, how I should be pricing it and selling it.

“I needed someone to help me focus, and my SREG mentor helped me look at the top five things I had been doing.

“All the ideas I had were good ideas, but the mentor just gave me a real focus in the early days.

“He was also my cheerleader – I would sometimes go in to his office and say ‘It’s not going too well’, or ‘I don’t know where the money is coming from’, and he’d really help.”

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