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How to Build a Personal Brand According to Marina Byezhanova

authenticity personal brand personal branding Apr 16, 2024

By Alanna Fairey

When it comes to sharing insights into how to build a strong personal brand, Marina Byezhanova has earned her place as an expert in this area. Speaking on the “Becoming PowHERHouse” podcast with Nicholle Overkamp, Marina shared her personal branding tips, and why building a strong personal brand is important not just on an individual scale, but a corporate one as well.

Being authentic as a business

Marina shared that when she embraced authenticity, it not only served her well, it also benefited Brand of a Leader. Sure, we upset some folks along the way, but I realized they probably wouldn't have been good fits for us anyway. It was terrifying at first, but without that authenticity, I don't think we could have built a company with such a strong and genuine brand.

Getting out of your comfort zone

Impostor syndrome is a major hurdle for many, as Marina reminded us. We often doubt ourselves, which is ironic because those who doubt themselves most are often the most qualified to speak out. It's easy to fall into the trap of feeling less capable compared to others. This feeling doesn’t necessarily reflect our actual abilities, but it hits hard when it comes to putting ourselves in the public eye. Another significant barrier is the fear of public opinion. The fear of being “cancelled” is a real concern for many. These worries often hold us back from sharing our expertise and perspectives with the world.

Benefits of personal branding for business owners

Customers expect CEOs and leaders to have a clear stance and to embody inspiring values. Don’t believe this? Research supports this shift in consumer behavior: 50% of Millennials expect their CEOs to speak out on societal issues. 

From a marketing perspective, promoting a business solely through corporate channels like social media or blogs is becoming less effective. 82% of people are more likely to trust a company when its senior executives are on social media (their own, not the corporate channels). People are more likely to connect with real people rather than faceless brands. By positioning themselves as thought leaders (which means the entire leadership team, not just the CEO), a company gains a competitive edge. 

Embracing thought leadership isn’t just about staying relevant; it’s about meeting the evolving expectations of consumers and employees while gaining a competitive advantage in marketing.

How to showcase values and mission

Many people mistakenly believe that building their personal brand ties them too closely to their business, making it less sellable and more dependent on them. They fear becoming the face of the business, which they see as a drawback. However, it's crucial to understand that this only occurs when you solely represent your business, not when you authentically build your personal brand. This means a difference between being a spokesperson for the organization VS having a brand of your own. 

Building your personal brand should reflect who you are, not just what you do. This distinction is vital. When you focus on expressing your core values, beliefs, and aspirations beyond your business endeavors, you create a brand that resonates deeply with your audience. By zooming out from your business role and delving into who you are and what you stand for, you not only add value to your business but also have the potential to inspire and impact others on a larger scale.

Ultimately, building your personal brand in alignment with your authentic self can be incredibly rewarding, both personally and professionally.

Dealing with rapid changes in business

Like so many other businesses, Brand of a Leader came face-to-face with the potential threat posed by technologies like ChatGPT in content creation at the end of 2023. Despite AI’s current limitations in producing authentic content, Marina noted that the widespread adoption and ease of use posed a significant challenge. 

Brand of a Leader’s solution? Expanding services beyond content creation to include booking clients as podcast guests and speakers at events. This diversification not only mitigated the impact of the AI threat but also allowed us to respond swiftly to evolving market demands, a prime example of Brand of a Leader’s ability to adapt and pivot while maintaining resilience throughout this roller coaster journey.

Want to listen to the full conversation? Give it a listen here, you won’t regret it! 


Alanna Fairey is a Client Engagement Specialist at Brand of a Leader. She has a diverse background in fashion communications, branding, and writing. Connect with Alanna here.

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