At the mention of the word brand, most people think of big corporations such as Nike and Coca Cola that have successfully managed to create and sustain a clear, strong brand identity. Everyone knows what these companies do and what their values are.
But what about your own, individual brand? Would anybody know what you professionally stand for, without the backing of your employer’s brand?
When looking to progress or change your career, having a strong personal brand is incredibly useful to set yourself apart. In amongst receiving countless applications and CV’s, Recruitment Managers will use the internet to research candidates online. And the more relevant information they find about you via search engines, and the clearer a picture they have of you, the easier it is for them to assess your suitability for a role.
A personal brand is not just about your online presence, though. It’s about how you appear and interact with other people in real life, how you make them feel and what you stand for.
So how do you go about developing a personal brand?
Think about what you want to be known for
Do some self-analysis and find out what your unique set of strengths and skills are that are worth shouting about and that are relevant to your industry. If you don’t know, ask colleagues and friends. Factors from a combination of your expertise and personality will give you some pointers to base your personal brand around. You could be a diligent introvert with keen attention to detail and a particular interest in employment law. Or you could be a business development specialist with an outgoing personality and an interest in a particular charity – you are in control of defining your personal brand at this stage.
Get involved in conversations
Social networks offer great platforms to join conversations, research trends and make new connections. Offering your expert advice or a new angle on discussions taking place in your industry will make people take notice and remember your name. Make sure your input reflects the characteristics of your personal brand.
As great as getting involved in the online business community is, don’t underestimate personal interactions. Joining networking groups, offering your expertise at speaking engagements and continuously looking for ways to expand your professional network will add klout and authority. With a strong personal brand your contacts will know exactly how to describe you, what you do and what you stand for, to others.
Ensure your online presence consistently reflects your personal brand. Consider whether you could have your own website or write regular guest blog posts for an industry publication. How proactive you are with shouting about your brand depends on your personality and what you feel comfortable with.
You may have seen that some LinkedIn users have started using personal brand statements, instead of the more traditional job title. Whether you feel comfortable using these, it is a good idea to write your personal brand statement down in 1-2 sentences which cut out the fluff and get straight to the point. An example would be:
I am passionate about providing tailored legal advice for charities.
Taking inspiration from company branding and depending on how confident you are you could even have a trademark ‘look’ such as always wearing a particular colour, a quirky accessory or a particular style of clothes.
A word of caution: Both your personal as well as your professional presence can be found online, when you may not necessarily want it to be. Keep your private life exactly that and use available privacy settings to manage who can see what information online.
Building a successful personal brand takes time and effort but is a useful tool for career progression and to set yourself apart from the competition.
Why not book in for a 1-2-1 chat with our Director Lara Squires who has built a successful personal brand and is happy to share her experience? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01903 530787.
You may also be interested to read our blog post on Personal Brand – Brand You.