Today’s most successful companies tend to have distinct personalities, don’t they?
Think about the friendly, fun and quirky persona showcased by Innocent Smoothies, or the cheeky but trustworthy vibes given off by the chaps at Kwik Fit. Businesses like these have worked long and hard to ensure their brand values are reflected in their communications. They’ve shaped a place for themselves in their markets not by trying to out-shout their competitors with marketing stunts and costly advertising campaigns – but simply by focusing on what makes them different.
Branding isn’t just reserved for organisations, though.
In today’s saturated market, developing your own professional identity is equally as important.
Because ultimately, people buy from people.
Think about who you are. Consider what you stand for. Take a minute to reflect on all the knowledge and experience you have accumulated over the years. All of these traits can easily become the unique selling points that make you different from your competitors.
There’s only one of you, and there are plenty of people out there who could benefit from what you can bring to the table.
You are your own brand.
What is personal branding?
The term ‘personal branding’ was first coined by business management guru Tom Peters in the late 1990s. He was the first person to introduce the idea that marketing yourself is a core part of promoting your business, and that doing so effectively ensure you stand out in your marketplace.
The benefits of developing a strong personal brand
Creating a personal brand takes weeks, months and even years of time and effort. But you’ll be rewarded in many ways.
When executed well, a personal branding strategy will give you a competitive edge that will be impossible for your competitors to replicate.
You’ll boost your reputation.
If you look after the way you present yourself to the world, you’ll appear as competent and professional – two traits that potential customers definitely want to see in the people they buy from.
You’ll gain trust.
Ever heard of that old networking mantra: know, like, trust? It’s true! The more people get to know you, and the bigger understanding they have of your skills and experience, the more likely they are to place their faith in you (…and spend their money with you).
You’ll come across as authentic.
Potential clients don’t respond well to fake words and actions. They can only truly connect with someone who’s honest, real – and a strong personal brand will help to establish, then enhance, this connection.
You’ll become an authority on your subject.
If people understand what you stand for, they’ll want to learn more about what you can offer. You’ll quickly become their go-to for advice and assistance – and this is how you become an authority in your field.
You’ll have more confidence in what you can offer.
Because you know exactly who you are, what you’re capable of and what you want to achieve, you’ll be exceptionally confident in your abilities. And customers and business partners will find this kind of confidence very attractive indeed.
You’ll be in control of the way other people perceive you.
Branding is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room. If you don’t work on developing your personal brand, other people will create a persona for you. At best, the character they create for you may not be a true reflection of who you are. And at worst, their ‘version’ of you could damage your prospects. Stay in control of the way you’re perceived by being mindful of the impression you make on others.
Communicating your personal brand
Nowadays, we can connect with others in more ways than ever before.
When Tom Peters first raised the topic of personal branding over 20 years ago, he was pushing the concept of attending trade conferences, running workshops, giving talks and so on – because the internet hadn’t yet opened up the kind of fast, instantaneous communications we take for granted in 2019.
Going to events and making real-life connections is still incredibly important, but there are plenty of online channels that can be used to support your personal branding campaign, including your website and your social media profiles.
Some business owners shy away from the idea of being active on the web, fearing that they’ll come across as vain or egotistical. But setting up a CV-style microsite, or even dedicating some time to improving your LinkedIn profile, will ensure you come across as a competent, dynamic professional who values their identity. As long as the content you’re sharing is well-informed and well-written, of course.
What role will content play in your personal branding strategy?
Whether you are building authority through thought-provoking blogs on your site, sharing your views on the latest industry trends on social media or even providing some inside tips as a keynote speaker at a conference, you’ll need good quality content if you’re going to craft a strong personal brand.
If your content is authoritative and well-presented, it will instil trust and confidence in your abilities. In the long term, it could even work wonders for your bottom line; studies have shown that people who consume educational content from a brand are 131% more likely to become customers of that brand.
We’re not just talking about written content, either. A picture speaks a thousand words, as they say, so we’d always recommend investing in a professional headshot, which can then be used across all your social media profiles and for additional editorial or networking opportunities. Video content – in the form of whiteboard tutorials, informative YouTube uploads and even candid Facebook lives – can also play a key part in establishing you as knowledgeable and approachable.
Need help? All you need to do is ask.
Consistency is key to effective personal branding. It’s no good spending a week or so working on your personal brand, then letting other commitments get in the way of creating useful, insightful content.
If you’re struggling to find the time to create quality content, or you need help putting together a content strategy for your personal marketing campaign, speak to the team here at Indy. We’ve helped countless professionals improve their corporate image and gain a newfound confidence in their professional identity.
Oh, and remember… your identity will change over time.
We change with the seasons. We change as we get older, gain more experience, and as our businesses grow.
In the same way, your personal brand will evolve in the months and years to come. The key is to make sure that your written content and your wider social presence is always reflecting the present you, not the old you. From time to time, revisit what your personal brand means to you. This way, you’ll make sure that what you’re sending out into the world still aligns with your beliefs, your values and your professional and personal goals.