Personal Branding Market Research


Waller & Company Sponsors Personal Branding Research from the London School of Economics MSc Marketing Programme

Personal branding has come a long way since Tom Peters helped the idea catch on with his 1997 Fast Company magazine article, "The brand called you." Today, the tenets of self-marketing are ubiquitous across various digital media. 

Industry experts have been working hard to prove how rewarding personal branding can be. There is plenty of data out there that proves the value of personal branding to the consumer. Despite that steady growth in awareness, there are precious few knowledge bases for those within the industry that provide insight into market trends in personal brand management.

Hoping to gain more clarity into what makes this field tick, personal branding consultancy Waller & Company, sponsored students from the London School of Economics to conduct market research. Four students from their MSc Marketing programme went to task on conducting an in-depth study of the demographics and attributes of potential and existing personal branding customers. Using a survey with a sample size consisting of 142 respondents, they gathered valuable information from career professionals and entrepreneurs.

The study sheds light on two essential consumer segments: potential customers and existing customers. From there it breaks these two groups down into their individual preferences, attitudes towards personal branding, and buying behavior factors.

What is worth noting is that the findings provide considerable insight into how people perceive personal branding and whether they see it as a worthwhile pursuit. This knowledge could prove invaluable to individuals and organizations that provide personal branding education and services. The results of this study can help them create a deeper understanding of their market and expand their reach.

Here are some key insights and takeaways from the data presented in the study. We categorized the data into three areas for easy reading.

People Who Have Used Personal Branding

Of those that answered the survey, only 42% have heard about personal branding. This result came as a surprise, considering how commonplace personal branding (creating an image, marketing an identity, and protecting your reputation) has become. Most participants knew they have an external image that can be influenced by others' perceptions. However, they may not be familiar with the term 'personal branding' nor that there are experts with the skills to help them manage it effectively. 

Why People Choose to Use Personal Branding

Within the group of respondents who are familiar with personal branding, 41% of them have used personal branding services before. The respondents were split between companies and individuals. 17% of companies preferred using personal branding services for consulting sessions, social media plans, and 360 brand assessments. 24% of individuals are most likely to attend personal branding workshops and consult experts on social media plans, website design, and SEO optimization.

Generally speaking, the two types of personal branding services that were requested the most by the survey respondents were social media plans and consulting sessions. Participants regard digital media as extremely important to their personal brand growth and expressed the need for a strategy to manage their personal brand.

According to the study, the top seven reasons why people want to use personal branding are:

- To generate profit (95%)

- To improve their clout on social media (88%)

- To stand out (85%)

- To boost their careers (81%)

- To develop a corporate identity (78%)

- To increase their public presence (48%)

- To overcome a scandal (39%)

On the other hand, those who answered the survey, who have not used personal branding services before, identified three reasons why they would not use a personal branding service. They collectively agreed that they do not know enough about the topic and thus are not concerned about it. Although some equally agreed that they do not need help in that area and that personal branding services are too expensive.

Reflecting on the Respondents in the Survey

Between the 142 respondents, 101 were individual people, and 31 were businesses. The industries they work in include, management & business, technology, art & science, and pharmaceuticals, among others. Most respondents' income levels fall between $20,000 and $49,999, and the majority of them had either a bachelor's degree or higher.

When it comes to the companies who answered the survey, the most significant revenue size falls between $1 million and $9.9 million, and the most prominent industries are technology and management & business.

The things that matter most when people are looking for a personal branding service are their online presence, relationships, price, and reputation. They respond well to specific types of content, such as videos and images, company testimonials, and company updates.

Overall, the demographics and psychographics of this study gave us more insight into individuals that are interested in personal branding services. They are well educated, care what others think of them, and are looking for ways to improve themselves. They are unsure of whether they stand out from the crowd even though they have a clear identity and are very active on social media. 

Getting insight into how the market responds to personal branding services, as well as the concept of personal branding in general, is fundamental for anyone working in the field. If consultants and agencies want to stay relevant in the minds of their potential customers, they have to connect with their needs on a deeper level.