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What is a brand influencer?

September 9, 2018

It’s confusing to a lot of people, because the word ‘influencer’ is being bantered around a lot as a catchphrase these days!

It is important to understand the distinction between the types of influencers so that you can best harness your power and influence, and stay on top of what’s going on in the world of marketing and branding so you can decide what kind of brand influencer you want to be, and which brands and brand influencers you might want to follow or align yourself with.

Every influencer has a responsibility to be authentic, be in integrity, and lead with relevancy. But what kind of influencer are you?

While there are a lot of different types of brand influencers, I want to share three I find most interesting:

Three Types of Brand Influencers

1. Sponsored influencers

These influencers are paid to promote and discuss a product, service, or organization, and these opportunities can take a variety of formats.

Most people are familiar with the traditional sponsorship arrangement—Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James, and Serena Williams are all paid sponsors of Nike. On Instagram, FitTea™ pays celebrities and well-known bloggers to post pictures and to make a statement about their dietary supplement.

Companies and brands can also pay experts for reviews. Paid spokespeople work for companies and brands and are paid to promote and share stories from different outlets.

The best brand influencers only work with products and brands that align with their values. I was a spokesperson on television for several brands and I was paid to go to 10 chosen cities to share the brand on live TV. I loved every brand I worked with.

Shortly, we’ll discuss what to look for in a brand that is offering you a sponsorship opportunity.

2. Activist influencers

For these influencers, they and their cause are the brand. Their message is their brand, and their brand is their message. As much as we don’t want to believe it, each of us is a brand, and an activist influencer’s brand is their cause. They pack a powerful punch by putting a human face to a bigger issue, and bring together people from all walks of life who believe in the importance of that issue.

When we think of brand, we often just think of a business – but that’s not how I see the world! The reason my clients see the success that they do is because I help them identify their personal brand in addition to their business brand.

When the personal brand and business brand are in alignment, the sky is the limit, and nobody knows this better than activist influencers.

3. Leader influencers

These influencers are CEOs, speakers, coaches—anyone in a leadership position who is looked to for their expertise and guidance. It’s critical that they recognize and appreciate the power and responsibility of their position as a direct influencer on a group of people.

What Are the Differences Between Your Personal Brand
and Your Business Brand?

Now, let’s review the differences between your personal brand and your business brand.

Personal

A personal brand is who you are. It’s everything about you: your academics, your experiences (the good, the bad, and the ugly), your “perceptual” paradigm. How do you see the world? Who and what do you enjoy associating with? What have you overcome? Where have you grown and changed? What have you read, what have you seen?

This is all of who you are. It’s time to own who you are and embrace who you are, and when you do, you have the courage to share your message. We ALL have a message to share, and that message is your Personal Brand Purpose! How cool is that?

For example, my brand message distilled down to its core essence, is that I don’t want anyone to leave this world with their song still in them. I want to help those that are ready to sing their song, find their message and to give voice to their song.

Whether that’s through writing books, giving speeches, bringing their business from “best-kept secret” to visibility and “worldwide life-changer,” or help someone who wants to learn more and grow to be the best they can be.

Business

Our business brand is the external part of our internal, or personal, brand. This is what your clients and potential clients see. However, when it comes to doing business, people also see who we are. So when our personal brand is not in alignment with our business brand, conflict abounds!

If there is a disconnect between the internal and the external (the personal and the business), they may like you, but will end up buying services or products from a competitor.

Have you ever found yourself coming out of a great conversation with a potential client or customer, where there was good energy and you really connected with them one on one, only to be surprised to learn they decided to go with a different coach, speaker, consultant, financial planner, or lawyer?

But if your business model is not based on price, is it possible there’s a disconnect between who you are and the message that you’re putting out there? Is your messaging inconsistent somewhere?

Now, sometimes people make choices based on price. If price is a factor in losing a client, you have to decide whether or not that’s your client.

But ask yourself something first: how many times have you gone over your planned budget on something – a new purse, a cell phone, a nice meal – because you decided it was worthwhile and valuable because of the longevity, or the guarantee, or the quality, or just because it was a great brand that you trusted?

The way I see the world, price is not the issue you think it is – maybe I’ll do a separate blog post on it! – but any time you think that price is the issue, think back to your most recent splurge and ask yourself one more time…is it?

What Does Your Business Brand Include?

A business brand includes many elements, but first thing to keep in mind: a logo and a font do not a brand make!

Logos, font, and the look of your website are all part of your visual brand, which you can’t start until you know your brand essence. One of the reasons entrepreneurs find it so difficult to create their business websites is because they’re focusing on the visuals, which are the natural byproduct of understanding what your brand essence is.

Your business brand includes:

  • Your brand essence: the externalization or other’s perception of your internal, or personal, brand
  • Your business model
  • Your customer service; onboarding and off-boarding for customers and clients
  • Visual branding; colors, font style, font size, banners

You’ll notice that the visuals came last—they’re the fun, easy part after all the heavy lifting is done!

5 Key Qualities of A Successful & Sustainable Brand Influencer

Finally, I want to cover the 5 key qualities of a successful and sustainable brand influencer. Why do I say “sustainable?” Because you want to be a Brand Influencer with integrity and for the long-term…not just a flash in the pan!!

1. Integrity – Are you really the face of what you do? What you say? Are you walking your walk? Are you talking your talk? I want honesty, do you? I want to know…and feel…that what the Brand Influencer is saying and doing is real for them!!

2. Authenticity – One of the most endearing, engaging and successful quality a successful and sustainable Brand Influencer shares…is their heart…they’re real…they’re discerningly vulnerable. People want to know people…other “real” people, not just the glory part of someone, but their deeper thoughts? What moves them…how do they get tripped up themselves? How do they get up, brush off the dust and then keep going…now that, is authentic….as well as transparent!

3. Consistency – One of the most important and yet, sometimes difficult thing to do in marketing is to be consistent! Consistent with your integrity; consistent with your marketing posting; consistency between your personal brand and your external brand. People want to be able to rely on you…consistency helps foster this dependability for your customers.

4. Transparency – Are you honest in letting people know that you are getting products? Getting paid? Receiving “in kind” services? Your followers, viewers, readers and clients have a right to know and you have the privilege to be the best Brand Influencer you can be. What a gift to be who you are and own it! That level of transparency in a Brand Influencer sparkles through! At least, it does for me.

5. Customer experience – Think about the last time you bought something, whether it was a product or a service and ask yourself, “Why did I buy this with the company/business? Did the customer service or customer guarantee have any influence on your decision to purchase? I tried to purchase a dishwasher twice from Home Depot…I don’t step foot in the door any longer because of the customer service I experienced. So, Costco is delivering my dishwasher in two weeks. Why? Because I know about their wonderful customer service and guarantee!

As you can see, once you identify your personal brand, you can identify the areas where there is a disconnect between you and your business. By bringing the connection back to you, your message, and your mission, you will bring your business brand into alignment with who you are, and what you have to offer the world.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article – please leave a comment. Share it on your Social Media too, using the buttons below.

Sing your song: the world wants to hear it!

Here’s to You & Your Brand!

Ruth

P.S. Join me at Expert Celebrity Brand Influencer & Red Carpet LIVE!
I would love to help you identify your Personal and Business Brand as well as craft a marketing message consistent with the essence of who you are so that others really GET IT!

–> Here’s the scoop!