What actually is a personal brand? Let’s have a quick look…
According to Wikipedia “Personal branding is the practice of marketing people and their careers as brands. It is an ongoing process of developing and maintaining a reputation and impression of an individual and defines success as a form of self-packaging. The term is thought to have originated from an article written by Tom Peters in 1997. In Be Your Own Brand, first published in 1999, marketers David McNally and Karl Speak wrote: “Your brand is a perception or emotion, maintained by somebody other than you, that describes the total experience of having a relationship with you.”
It may seem overwhelming when you are looking for examples of this and at people like Richard Branson, he works very hard on his personal brand and is most definitely an ambassador for his businesses however the good news is that when it comes to small business you are already, for the most part, doing this day to day.
It is you who meets with potential clients and tells then why they should come and work with you, what you can offer them and how you can work together to meet the goals they have in mind – this is personal branding at its heart!
It’s easy though to think at this point “well that’s it then, job done” but sadly it’s not quite as easy as that.
It’s a brilliant and very natural starting point and never lose sight of that but there are a few more things you can do to ensure your message stays strong and consistent and we’ve put some tips together here for you to help you achieve this.
- Start by identifying what your USP (unique selling point) is. Think about the characteristics and strengths you’ve built in your career. If you are stuck, think about that one area where everyone says you excel. If you’re still stuck, ask others to give you an honest assessment of what they think of when they think of you.
- Become a credible resource and get your voice out there – start a blog or offer to publish guest blogs with other organisations who share your company values. Pursue speaking opportunities if you’re comfortable doing so and target these in places where you would find your ideal clientele.
- Share your knowledge. Whilst your own website is your space and your home to really show who you are and what you stand for, use social media to share this with others. Remember that different methods suit different people and this is also true of different industries. Short posts on twitter can be great but what about video? Do you have a practical part to your work that you can share, instructional videos can be very compelling. Research different social media platforms for your best fit and make sure that you share your content regularly.
- Walk your talk and be consistent. Your clients chose you for a reason, ensure that the messages you send out to them whether its face to face or via social media all align with the values you have chosen to uphold.
The most important piece of advice we could give you is be true to yourself. A personal brand that is built on fiction is harder to maintain and when push comes to shove won’t be credible to your clients.