top of page
Get your copy today

A Solopreneurs guide to making f*cking decisions that matter

*And I promise no affiliates were hurt in the making of this link. It's just to make sure Amazon doesn't make more off my book than I do.

Leveraging Heuristic Bias For Personal Branding

What is the snap decision someone makes when they see you? That's all a bias is, a quick decision-maker.

What is the heuristic bias of a black man with a drink peeping out the window

Before I left the restaurant industry I got my certification as a life coach. By the time we closed up shop and moved to Oregon, I was a certified brand and business coach studying brand strategy. It was one of my early strategy clients that introduced me to the word heuristic. She used it to describe what she did at the Hoffman Institute. When she said it I didn’t know what the fuck it meant but I loved how it sounded.

Google defines heuristic as, “enabling someone to discover or learn something for themselves.” That definition only deepened my love for the word. Read it again and tell me it’s not a polite translation of, fuck around and find out? Later when I pivoted from business branding to personal branding that word would add so much value to how I nurture my brandbabies.

Let’s step back for a second. It’s been my experience that businesses start one of two ways; bootstrap with learn-as-you-go encounters or investors who hire for shit you don’t know. Okay, maybe there’s a hybrid third but whatever. Either way, I’ve learned that most founders have little or no knowledge about the psychology of marketing outside of tips and tricks posted everywhere.

Tips and tricks weren’t enough for me. So I took a course and got certified as a marketing psychology specialist. What can I tell you, I’m a glutton for learning. Now that I had a better understanding of marketing psychology, I could find a way to make it fit with personal branding. Like so many others, I got sucked in by the 2023 word of the year, authentic, but that wasn’t enough.

Because authenticity was, and still is, on everyone’s lips, it’s the prevailing advice for how to do personal branding. That bad advice is followed by more bad advice which is to “market yourself.” They can’t justify or prove that it works, only that it’s repeated by folx with big followings. So how can you use marketing psychology instead of marketing yourself? Enter heuristics or more specifically, heuristic biases.

What Are Heuristic Biases?

Heuristic biases are cognitive shortcuts that help folx make quick decisions without losing their shit. Yes, they’re useful psychological shortcuts are useful, which means your personal brand can create biased thinking towards your business offer. Some common heuristic biases include representative heuristic, affect heuristic, availability heuristic, anchoring bias, and framing effect. Each one can play a big ass role in how the audience relates to your personal brand and the message it’s broadcasting.

“Our comforting conviction that the world makes sense rests on a secure foundation: our almost unlimited ability to ignore our ignorance.” - Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow

So how is it leveraged in personal branding?

Consistency and Repetition: It’s not sexy and you’ve heard it before. Broadcast a consistent and repetitive message wherever your personal brand shows up. No, you won’t sound like a broken record. You’re making the business recognizable and familiar to the reachable available market.

Engage Emotionally: Produce content that connects on an emotional level. It’s the best way to break the three-second rule of keeping their attention. Whether through blogs, videos, or social media posts, make sure what you share catches them their feelings and makes your personal brand more relatable.

First Impression Everywhere: Every initial touchpoint you create for brand awareness is a first impression. The right impression of the right person could mean money in your pocket. In that split second, they first become aware of you, an emotional decision is made about whether they’ll ever return. It is that first impression that will leave a forever imprint.

Frame It Right: How you frame the message you broadcast means more to your audience than the actual message. They can feel like you brought it in on a trashcan lid or a silver platter. It’s the tone, the choice of words, and even the image it’s connected to that frames the broadcast message.

Understanding and leveraging heuristic biases is one of the primary ways for building a personal brand instead of being one. It significantly enhances inbound marketing efforts when you align your personal brand with cognitive shortcuts that folx naturally use. You're creating a more interesting, memorable, and impactful personal brand that folx wanna listen to. Implement them one at a time, a mixed bag, or all at once. Use different ones for different platforms, just keep the message on point. How you remix can hit a sweet spot or it can pluck a nerve.


bottom of page