As an entrepreneur, you are the face of your company. Your public persona is a key factor when people decide whether or not they want to do business with you. No longer can founders and CEOs hide behind their company logos; they have to step into the spotlight and connect with the public.
I started my PR company not because I wanted to be in the spotlight, but because I wanted to put other people in front of it. I was happy staying behind the scenes and focusing on building personal brands for my clients. But I quickly learned that people wanted to work with me. They weren’t hiring Kaye Publicity, they were hiring Dana Kaye.
Think about the businesses you patronize regularly (other than Amazon and other behemoths). What keeps you coming back? Is it solely about the products? Or is it also the story behind the brand, the brand’s mission, and the team that personifies the brand?
Ultimately, people do business with people, and whether you’re selling services or products, having a personal brand to support your business brand can make a real impact on your sales.
Your public persona conveys more than your company’s brand message. It speaks to your work ethic, style, and point of view. It serves as an indicator of whether you and a potential client or customer would be a good fit.
Your public persona should attract your ideal customers and repel those who wouldn’t be an ideal match.
There are no shortage of publicists and brand coaches out there, but there are plenty of clients for all of us. Because we each work so differently, I won’t be the right fit for everyone.
I’m a combination of optimistic and blunt; I believe everyone has the ability to succeed, but I won’t pretend it’s not going to take work. I’m both encouraging and straightforward, and I don’t do a lot of “head patting.” If a client wants someone who is going to constantly reassure them, give them shortcuts, or sugar coat the truth, I’m not the right person for them. But if a client wants the hard truth and is ready to work to get where they need to go, then we are likely a perfect fit.
Avoid the temptation to please everyone; your public persona should indicate exactly what you’re all about. If you’re a hippie, crunchy, earth mother who sells gluten-free, non-GMO, organic food products, then you shouldn’t play that down. Your target audience will find it comforting to work with someone who understands them. If you sell those same products, but you are a physician and scientist specializing in nutrition, then you will attract a totally different type of customer…and that’s okay, too. If you stay true to your public persona, you will serve the types of people you should be serving. The wrong people will end up elsewhere, but the right people will gravitate towards you—for all the right reasons.
To help craft your public persona, I’ve put together this worksheet. By answering this series of questions, you can identify and own your unique public persona.