By Claire Hodgson, a Women’s Marketing & Authenticity Coach at Claire Michelle Hodgson, Be Your Brilliant Self, In Life & Business

Are you putting yourself and your team into your brand? It could be the key to greater success. We have been observing the slow death of the stuffy, impersonal corporate brand for a while. The mantra “people buy from people” has never been truer as customers, both B2B and B2C, now expect a bit of personality behind the brands they are buying from.

The most obvious examples of big businesses who were ahead of the curve in putting personality at the centre of their brands are Richard Branson with Virgin, and Apple with Steve Jobs. Both big personalities, both ‘became the brand’. In fact Steve Jobs, who sadly lost his battle with cancer in 2011, still lives on through the Apple brand.

So why should you put yourself into your brand and how do you do it?

Let’s start with the why. The main benefit of personalising your brand and stepping out from behind the logo is that it differentiates you from your competitors. There’s nobody like you, or your team members, and showing a bit of personality is a great way to ensure that your ideal customers identify with you and want to buy from you.

We are operating in increasingly noisy and competitive environments so you should always be looking for ways to stay at the front of the pack.

The other key benefit is that people start to get to know the people at your company and this starts building the know, like, and trust factors that are so important. You have started building a relationship with your customers before they’ve even purchased from you, you are also nurturing and maintaining relationships with your existing customers.

So how can you put yourself into your brand and step out from behind the logo?

1. Show your face and be seen

Firstly, you have to overcome your fears around being seen and judged. We are all human and we all suffer from feelings of inadequacy sometimes, but there’s no room for that when marketing your business today.

You may have a fantastic logo but people want to see the faces behind the brand. Whether you are a solopreneur, small business, or a global corporation, people want to see people. You could;

• Add a meet the team page to your website with photos and profiles of yourself and your staff
• Post photos on social media that show behind the scenes at your business
• If you are a solopreneur why not have professional photographs taken for your website and marketing materials and start making you more of a focus?

2. Find your voice and be authentic

We are all unique, nobody will do things in exactly the same way that you do. Find your unique voice and message and then use it when marketing your business. Be yourself when you communicate about your business, whether it’s via your blog, videos, emails, speaking engagements, even in meetings.

If you are straight talking in day to day life why wouldn’t you be the same in your business? The corporate voice that used to be so popular is being used less and less because customers can’t relate to it. Your voice, your style, and your way of doing things will appeal to the customers that you are looking to attract.

3. Only market yourself and your brand in a way that feels good to you

Something that many businesses, and in particular small businesses and solopreneurs, struggle with is the increasing list of ‘shoulds’ when it comes to marketing their business. There are so many options for getting in front of your customers today, it’s no wonder that people get overwhelmed.

The answer to this is to only market yourself and your brand in a way that feels good to you. What are your strengths, what do you enjoy doing? Love speaking but don’t enjoy writing emails, then don’t do it, ditch or reduce the email marketing and focus on getting more speaking opportunities.

The bottom line - you are more likely to build a successful business and brand if you focus on having fun with marketing your business. It’s time to step out from behind your logo and put yourself into your brand.