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  • Jeanel Carlson

5 Ways Startup Founders Can Improve Their Personal Brand

Updated: Jul 11

Man and woman sitting chair speaking to each other
Speaking at industry events can build your network and showcase your thought leadership to build your brand.

As a startup founder, you wear many hats—visionary, leader, strategist, and spokesperson. But have you considered that your personal branding strategy is just as crucial to your startup's success as its product or service? Your personal brand can significantly impact your startup's reputation, credibility, and growth potential.

Here are five personal branding tips to improve it:

1. Define Your Authentic Voice

Your personal brand reflects who you are, what you stand for, and what makes you unique. Take the time to define your values, passions, and unique strengths. What makes you tick? What drives your entrepreneurial journey? Authenticity is key—people become drawn to genuine, relatable leaders. Share your story, insights, and expertise in a way that resonates with your target audience. Here's a helpful blog on cultivating your brand voice

2. Audit Your External Presence

Look at where you show up in a Google search and what your personal image projects. From headshots to headlines, you have a few seconds to make a first impression on a potential customer or investor. It's important to evaluate the qualities of your target audience and if your image reflects and relates to your audience. For example, your startup may target financial services leaders who often relate in a more formal tone and conservative style. However, during your audit, you noticed that your LinkedIn profile is a home-done headshot with you in a hoodie and a random arm on your shoulder. It may be time to invest in professional photos! At a minimum, your headshot, background banner, and headlines must reflect you at a level that relates to your audience.

3. Cultivate Thought Leadership

Establish yourself as an industry thought leader by sharing valuable content, insights, and expertise. Whether blogging, speaking engagements, or social media, position yourself as an authority in your niche. Share your experiences, lessons learned, and innovative ideas that benefit others. It’s crucial to establish credibility, which is about being believable. For large companies, that means trust in the general business as it stands today. For startups, credibility translates to removing the doubts customers have about your existing value and future potential. In the early stages, customers invest in you! You’re small; they need to believe you can become big (and not go out of business). By consistently providing value and thought-provoking content, you'll build trust and credibility with your audience. Here’s a helpful piece on establishing credibility and avoiding pitfalls.

4. Engage on Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool for building and amplifying your personal brand examples. Choose the platforms that align with your target audience and industry, such as LinkedIn or Instagram. Be strategic in your content sharing—share updates about your startup, industry trends, and thought leadership content. Engage with your audience by responding to comments, participating in discussions, and showcasing your personality. Authenticity and consistency are key to building a strong personal brand on social media.

5. Invest in Personal Development

Continuous learning and personal growth are essential for startup founders. Invest in your development through books, coaching, courses, and workshops. Develop skills relevant to your role as a founder, whether it's leadership, communication, or strategic thinking. Determine your zone of genius and invest in who can get you and your business to the next level by hiring fractional leadership or fractional agencies. Surround yourself with mentors and advisors who can provide guidance, feedback, and support. For San Francisco Bay Area startups, you can find tons of resources, events, and people in your area. By investing in yourself, you'll not only enhance your personal brand but also become a more effective leader and entrepreneur.

Your personal brand is a powerful asset that can significantly impact your startup's success. By defining your authentic voice, refining your external presence, cultivating thought leadership, leveraging social media, and investing in personal development, you can strengthen your personal brand and position yourself as a trusted leader in your industry. 

👉Get our free marketing ebook to learn 10 branding strategies that help early-stage startups double marketing’s impact on profits, or read the blog

Remember, your brand is not just about promoting yourself—it's about building relationships, providing value, and making a positive impact. So embrace your unique identity, share your story with the world, and watch your startup thrive.

Download the free ebook to better navigate your startup marketing today.

Ready to build a brand story that lands with your customers? OakBloom Marketing specializes in crafting magnetic brands and stories that influence. Contact us here. San Francisco Bay Area-based, OakBloom Marketing services startups in the Bay Area and throughout the U.S. learn more.


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