Alexej Pikovsky & Aman Ghataura @NUOPTIMA & @Alphawell Brands
Alexej Pikovsky & Aman Ghataura @NUOPTIMA & @Alphawell Brands
Alexej Pikovsky & Aman Ghataura @NUOPTIMA & @Alphawell Brands
Ecom AMA session
May 30, 2023
The individual branding for your Founder & CEO matters.
Enough to shoot their reputation up 46% just by being active on social media.
But creating a personal brand involves a lot more than selfies on Instagram and some trending dances on TikTok (although those help 😅), so we’ve brought in two experts to answer all your questions through an AMA on the topic.
First, there’s the Founder and CEO of NUOPTIMA & Alphawell Brands,Alexej Pikovsky, who hasn’t just advised others on the best tactics, but used them personally to leverage his brand authority. This includes: 💰Raising $4M Pre-Seed without any venture funding 🏗️Pivoting 3 times in 3 years to reach $4M in sales 👥Operating a team of 50+ across a B2C and a B2B business
And then there’s the Head of Growth for NUOPTIMA & Alphawell Brands, Aman Ghataura, that has been the accelerator for hundreds of brands by adding the glam to Founders profiles. That means he’s 💸Directly generated $300k+ in revenue from Founder's brand 📈Secured high-profile speaking slots through LinkedIn thought leadership 🏗️Built high brand equity which resulted in significant funding opportunities
If you’re ready to gain a competitive edge with your brand, spend a couple of minutes to read and come prepared to discover something new.
🗣️: The reason I started building a personal brand is because I realized how closely it is related to my commercial brand. Because of this, I have many questions.What is the difference between personal branding and branding a company or product?
💬 Alexej: Great question! Personal branding is build around your own authority and credibility in a certain domain. If you look at my LinkedIn for example, most of the content is value driven without the need to sell immediately. Over time people start associating myself with the founder who raised, scaled and has expertise in growth marketing/ personal brand/ SEO. When you are building the personal brand, its great to draw on your successes and your journey/ career from the past and start creating logical links. Lots of the examples I use are from my private equity and venture capital days.
💬 Aman: In some senses, not much. In both, you want to own a certain positioning and be consistent to own a share of mind. In other senses, a lot. A personal brand can be more vulnerable & authentic without feeling 'fake'. It's much easier to grow a personal brand vs a company brand. This is because it's easier to gain trust through a personal brand as there is simply more to risk if you do it wrong, and so naturally as humans we place more emphasis and value on a human saying something, versus a company.If you want to kickstart sales, it's much easier to do it through a personal brand vs a company brand for that very reason. But on the other hand, you want your company to grow without you and not be forever shackled to your personality.
🗣️: In order to build a strong personal brand, what are the key elements?
💬 Alexej: Personal brand and Linkedin in the past has been much stronger for B2B businesses, however we do see more and more content also from B2C business owners now. This content can be around how you perceive quality as a really important criteria when buying a product. You can start talking about quality in products, sustainability, supply chains/ sourcing to be perceived as an expert in these areas and that will reflect positively on your product brand too.
💬 Aman: Vulnerability, authenticity and competency.
Vulnerability: we like those who we relate to, and sharing your flaws/challenges is one of the easiest ways to achieve that. It's generally why vulnerability LinkedIn posts tend to go consistently viral or eCom founders have an emotional story in their 'why'.
Authenticity: similar to the above.
Competency: it's important to 'humble brag' - show off your achievements, results & successes. Show that your exceptional, don't tell them.
🗣️: Building a personal brand can be challenging because of a number of mistakes founders make. What are some of these mistakes?
💬 Alexej: Re mistakes, I would not worry about it. The main thing is to have consistency when posting and creating content. If posts are not great, people will not like them and you get data that people dont like them, but if 2-3 posts across 100 posts are not great and others are great, nobody cares about the 2-3 which might have been a mistake. Saying something very controversial can be seen by some as a mistake, but even that I would say can have its benefits sometimes and I would therefore try to not be afraid of anything and just start posting content and videos and build your brand.
💬 Aman: The biggest hurdle to overcome is yourself. Once you detach yourself from the outcome of how posts perform or how people perceive you - building your personal brand will flow a lot easier.
🗣️: I'm a junior marketing executive in a software company. We rely heavily on referrals. I handle my founder's LinkedIn profile, and we have 1 post each day ( managed by our content creator) Here is what I do: 1) Grow the network: sending connection requests to about 20 target audiences, and 10 requests to people from the same LinkedIn groups; 2) Share the content posted on our personal account and company account to different LinkedIn groups; 3) I have a Sales Navigator, which I use for Outreach purposes & vendor partnerships; 4) We are currently attending many events in the US, such as VIVE, HIMSS, etc. So I try to reach out to potential people to set up some calls with my Sales guy ( Who lives in the US). Challenges: 1) My founders account has fewer connections ie 600 approx; 2) Fewer views, comments, engagements. I was hoping you could help me tackle these challenges and point me in the right direction.
💬 Aman: A lot of success hinges on the quality of your content. Everything else you're doing sounds reasonable. So if you're not seeing the results you'd expect, I'd chalk it up to that (this is without me seeing the profile, so that conclusion may change w/ more data).
When you connect with someone new, they are preferentially shown your content
If your content fails to add value or your outreach was too salesy, your new connection will scroll past your content
This would be a negative engagement factor and will cut the impressions of your post
A lot of people tout running outreach campaigns & posting content at the same time. In my opinion those who do best with this tactic are heavily value led.
🗣️: We're amidst starting a new company/brand. Me and my co-founders are what you would call, very "low-key" on social media and so I find this leverage to be very interesting. So I guess, my 1st question would be, where/how do we start?😅(Best/most effective medium)
💬 Aman: Answer depends if you're B2B or B2C & what are your goals - why are you building a personal brand? What do you want to achieve? (feel free to reply and I can tailor a better answer)
Start on LinkedIn
Post 5x about your personal journey, career moves, big learnings. These posts generally perform well so will give you a confidence boost.
B2C / eCom
Start on Twitter (large eCom community there)
Post about your eCom progress & learnings. Comment on other large eCom accounts
🗣️: Is it possible to grow both simultaneously? or should we focus on one thing first? (Personal brand vs Company reputation)
💬 Aman: 100% it's possible to grow both simultaneously. You personal brand will go faster so you can 'send traffic' to the company brand through that conduitIf you have limited resources, I would initially focus on personal brand in B2B land. In B2C land I would focus on the company brand.
🗣️: How can we measure the success of these personal branding efforts?
Views, Followers, Engagement
People mentioning they heard about you from social media channels
Attributed clicks with UTM tagging
Undervalued indicators that matter a lot:
People telling you in person they see you everywhere (this is the gold... for every person that tells you this there is probably 10x more that feel it, but haven't told you).
💬 Alexej: I would also add that if you are just starting the business, keep in mind that having good PR for your business with funding announcements, partnerships, launches, you can leverage all of it for your personal brand too!
🗣️: What role does authenticity play in personal branding?
💬 Aman: Great question. Authenticity is what separates you writing your own content vs an underpaid, generic ghostwriter. Authentic content feels real, 'on brand' and created for the value of the reader or enjoyment of the creator, instead of for the algorithm.
🗣️: How I can as a founder use personal branding to foster customer loyalty, improve customer service and enhance their sales and marketing efforts?
💬 Aman: Practically
Connect with every customer on social profiles
Comment on their posts, show them that you're visible and available
Whenever a lead enters the pipeline automatically have that fire a connection request from your personal account
Send the lead / customer value led information through non email channels (breaks the ice)
Send email marketing from Albert @ Company instead of Notifications @ Company
🗣️: How can a founder maintain a personal brand over time?
There's several ways, here are some:
Keep creating content
Post on your own account
Appear on podcasts
Work with partners (e.g. like we're doing right now with PopUp)
Keep your network warm
Update your network regularly on the last changes
🗣️: Do you have any tips on how a new brand personality resonates with its target audience?
💬 Aman: It's not easy to build a new brand. You're effectively in the cold-start problem. There are a couple ways out of this:
Find a hack that gets you quick initial engagement. An obvious one is leaning on your network and asking for favours + support. Another one is creating a podcast.
Pay for distribution (use podcast setting agencies, pay for PR - > pay for more eyeballs)
Do the hard grind. Keep creating content when the engagement seems tiny. Eventually something will take off in 1-4 months, and then you're off to the races!
🗣️: I would like to go on this route but im having trouble finding my unique value proposition? How did you determine it in your cases?
💬 Alexej: What is the topic you like talking about? What is the topic where you know more than other people? What is the topic you are passionate about and you want to share insights but also happy to get challenged by others reading / watching your content? It is not limited to just one topic. In my case I initially started sharing the achievements of the busines/ team, fundraising, journey, challenges. I then started talking more about growth/ marketing. At some point I talked a lot about fundraising, especially end of last year when the markets turned, I knew I can talk a lot about it and it will be helpful to others. So that was the unique value proposition. In short, just do that what is easiest for you to get stuff out and later start adding more stuff which you need to research more on but want to potentially talk / be positioned in the long term with.
🗣️: What are some common challenges that you've faced when building your personal brand? I want to learn more about your experiences 😁
💬 Alexej: It takes time, so the main challenge is to be super patient and not seeing amazing results initially. The way to overcome is what Aman Ghataura mentioned previously with looking at wins such as followers count, engagement and not overthink it.
There could be some haters also giving you some comments, especially if you talk about controversional stuff and you have a contratrian view on something. My suggestion on that is also to just ignore. Linkedin is not as bad as Twitter and the more people comment the better actually for the algo.
🗣️: What strategies have worked for you in building your personal brand?
Big announcements/ achievements with numbers behind it (fundraising, sales numbers, hiring superstars, being mentioned in well known media, interesting podcasts, winning/ being nominated for awards), dense value add documents (valuation docs, marketing strategies overviews and lists)
Asking people to like/ comment on posts is a great way to create momentum and virality
Consistency in publishing and strong quality of content!
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