How to use events to build your personal brand

The FLEX Personal-Branding Week


Felix Haas top personal branding tips

1 - Find your message

This narrative should be simple and consciously and actively controlled by you again and again.

2 - Post content that corresponds to this narrative.

3 - Always be and remain authentic.

4 - Pitch unique speaker content

Event organizers are flooded with speaker requests. To stand out, you need to offer concrete value to the event. This can be done through unique topics.

5 Learn from the greatest personal brands

The self-awareness with which, for example, Richard Branson or Elon Musk position themselves for their topics, as well as the care with which they build their brand, is something we should take as inspiration.

Felix Haas

About

Felix Haas is a serial entrepreneur and founding partner of FLEX Capital and the 10x Group. His foundations include amiando and IDnow. Felix Haas is also co-host and chairman of Bits & Pretzels, Germany's largest networking event for founders and entrepreneurs.

Facts

Interview

Personal branding: "Ideally, you will find an authentic narrative that can be directed and controlled."

The topic of personal branding is currently occupying many entrepreneurs as it is increasingly viewed as a strategic tool. In an interview with FLEX managing partner Peter Waleczek, entrepreneur Felix Haas, a partner at 10x Group and FLEX Capital and chairman and host of Bits & Pretzels, reveals what personal branding means to him and how he built his brand.

Peter Waleczek: Thank you, Felix, for taking the time to talk to me about personal branding. I only know a few people like you who have successfully built multiple companies and brands in a row. You have also firmly established yourself in the entrepreneurial world. Please introduce yourself.

Felix Haas: With pleasure, Peter. I want to start with a note on personal branding. I have never actively pursued this topic. At some point in my entrepreneurial journey, I realised that personal branding can be a helpful tool to achieve business goals.

This process started with my first company, amiando GmbH. Our presence at events as founders of amiando increased our prominence. We were often mentioned in angel investments, which is when the compound effect set in. Personal visibility can increase on its own, but you must steer the direction in which it moves. Through our last successful venture, Bits & Pretzels, this personal visibility has naturally grown a lot.

At some point in my entrepreneurial journey, I realised that personal branding can be a helpful tool to achieve business goals.

Felix Haas

Do you separate your private and business branding? Have you consciously cultivated your personal image after realising that this has added value for the company?

Felix Haas: You should separate them very consciously because there is a danger of falling for the personal brand as an end in itself. When a personal brand develops positively, this is emotionally good for you. But it can also develop in a negative direction. For this reason, a conscious separation is important.

As soon as the topic of personal branding comes up, it is important to ask what you want to achieve with it. These can be personal goals, but business goals are the most effective. It brings up a question that does more visibility in marketing or sales mean more success?

The perfect answer is Elon Musk with Tesla; one of the most successful personal brands ever. But the entrepreneur Richard Branson, who supported us with Bits & Pretzels, should also be mentioned because he is in no way inferior to Elon Musk. It was interesting for me to observe how the Virgin Group deals with personal branding. In 2016, Branson was a keynote speaker at Bits & Pretzels. It was impressive to see his management related to ​​branding. Truly unbelievable. As organisers, we even had to get custom-made leather pants stitched with the colours of the Virgin Group so that they fit their image. I think in Germany one could learn something from such detailed branding. 

In 2016, Branson was a keynote speaker at Bits & Pretzels. It was impressive to see his management related to ​​branding. Truly unbelievable. As organisers, we even had to get custom-made leather pants stitched with the colours of the Virgin Group so that they fit their image. I think in Germany one could learn something from such detailed branding.

Felix Haas

How did you set up this brand positioning?

Felix Haas: As I mentioned, I honestly never sat down to define my brand positioning. I made a lot of decisions, consciously and unconsciously. After we sold our company amiando, I positioned myself as a business angel at events and analysed the message successful labels wanted to convey.

Ideally, you will find an authentic narrative that can be directed and controlled. For example: Felix Haas, CEO of Bits & Pretzels or Peter Waleczek, managing partner at FLEX Capital. This narrative can be controlled and promoted at the same time on social media channels such as LinkedIn. 

What's important to remember in all of this is the fun factor. For example, I run my Instagram account @pilothaas. The account has nothing to do with business issues and is irrelevant to the business. But it brings me joy when I share pictures of flying.

What you should not underestimate is your gut feeling when it comes to social media.

Ideally, you will find an authentic narrative that can be directed and controlled. For example: Felix Haas, CEO of Bits & Pretzels (...). This narrative can be controlled and promoted at the same time on social media channels such as LinkedIn.

Felix Haas

Would you like to share more tips and learnings?

Felix Haas: I think sometimes you should follow the principle of "just do it". It is also important to always be authentic and remain so. Striving for a certain ideal positioning doesn't get you any further. However, at some point you lose your personal authenticity. Another aspect to consider is adapting to the target group on various business related social media channels.

Do you also see negative aspects of personal branding?

Felix Haas: Certainly. A good example of this is a statement that, after publication, unexpectedly encounters criticism from many people. You must be able to deal with this criticism. It is important to always keep an eye on the reach you have built on social media and to remain authentic. My advice and my personal rule: just be yourself.

Assuming I want to participate as a speaker at events, what do I need to do?

Felix Haas: Here I can recall my experience at Bits & Pretzels. My recommendation is to approach the organisers with a concrete, unique proposition. Conference organisers are always looking for interesting personalities and stories with which they can enrich the event. The applicant should add value to the conference and the corporate world with unique content.

My recommendation is to approach the organisers with a concrete, unique proposition. Conference organisers are always looking for interesting personalities and stories with which they can enrich the event.

Felix Haas

Do you have entrepreneurial role models in personal branding?

Felix Haas: A big role model for me is Satya Nadella, the current CEO of Microsoft. Nadella communicates authentically and inspiringly. I think his personal brand was crucial for Microsoft.

Who takes care of your social media channels?

Felix Haas:  I do that myself. For a certain company size, however, it is important to have a team. Because once you've identified this work as a lever for business goals, it makes perfect sense to organise a professional team.

Peter Waleczek: Felix, thank you very much for these exciting insights into your personal background as well as the insights into Bits & Pretzels.

Felix Haas: Thank you for the interview.

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