Developing Your Personal Brand – by Liz Watt

When you think of a brand you will probably automatically think of the big corporate brands out there – Apple, Amazon, Uber, Netflix …. Companies and products that are part of the fabric of our lives, who each have a strong and clear image and identity, and who invoke an instant recognition and response in us (good or bad). The images these companies project do not happen by accident – there will be an army of specialists behind the scenes carefully constructing their corporate brand.

However, it is probably less likely that you will think of yourself in the same way – as a product that projects an image at every touchpoint in your life. And yet you are in effect your own personal brand and the way you communicate, project yourself both in person, in your social media presence and ‘In Real Life’ will say something about you, will contribute to the personal brand you project to the world.

I’m sure most people will be aware of the statistic that says you only have 30 seconds or less to impress someone when you first meet them. And it is even less on line. So spending some time thinking about the image you project – your brand – will be time well spent.

Understand your personal values 

To come across as authentic and for others to believe in you, it’s important that you understand your values, what makes you tick, and what is important to you. It is worth taking some time to understand these values, as this will then inform the work you take on, the businesses and individuals you want to work with and help you define the goals and ambitions that resonate with you.

Visual impact.

Ok so it might seem superficial, but how you look and the image you present will influence how people view you. Consider the world you inhabit or that you aspire to work within and take your cues as to the dress, behaviour and image that will fit in. I would stress though that this doesn’t mean becoming a clone, or making yourself uncomfortable. It is equally important to develop your own style, one that reflects your personality. Some people find this hard and there are many people out there who can help without intimidating you. One of my favourites is Sally Smy – Queen Bee Styling

Communication skills

Like it or not, every single way in which you communicate with the world will have an impact on your brand. Your social media footprint is as important as the impression you make in a meeting. Tone of voice, verbal and written, the visual images you use, the way you hold yourself in a meeting, the language you use – all of these elements are parts of the jigsaw that make up your brand. Again, there is help out there if you want to hone your communication skills and I would highly recommend Jayne Constantinis who is an expert at helping individuals finesse their communication skills.

Your social media profile has a massive impact on your personal brand. So if, for example, you are in the habit of getting into spats with others on Twitter, but you wouldn’t dream of being confrontational in a face to face meeting, you might want to think about the potentially confusing message you are projecting and how you might align the two. There are individuals out there whose on line comments continually court controversy (Donald Trump, Piers Morgan, Lily Allen spring to mind) – would you want to be identified in this way? Similarly, pictures of you partying in Ibiza, or sunning yourself on holiday may not align with your professional image, so audit your photos! The content you put out on all social media – Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter – will inform your brand so make sure it is consistent and says what you want it to say.

Outward facing not naval gazing

Sharing your skills and experience is a great way to let the world know what you are all about, it showcases your expertise and marks you out as a ‘go to’ person in your sector.

Thought leadership, mentoring , developing a social media presence, writing articles for industry related publications, speaking at events – will all raise awareness of you and your expertise. And in all of these endeavours, make sure it’s your voice that rings out, that you come across as knowledgeable, authentic, and with something new and interesting to say. Try not to be generic or regurgitate others opinions.

Why does your personal brand matter? In an increasingly competitive business environment, it really helps to distinguish you and what you stand for, personally and professionally, if your brand is strong and consistent. Proactively managing your personal brand gives you control of how you are perceived, and informs the communities in which you operate what you stand for and what to expect from you. If this opens doors for you and raises your profile then surely personal branding is worth some serious consideration.

If you would like help in determining or refining your personal brand, please contact me for a confidential discussion :

Personal Brand

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