I wanted to share some of my insights into what makes a really powerful personal brand and why having a firm grip on your personal brand is so important for your career and progression. It’s not just entrepreneurs and business owners who can benefit from a strong personal brand, but anyone and everyone who is serious about making an impact with their career and becoming known for their individual talents and values.
The reason personal branding is so effective is because it works as a shorthand to your strengths, values and approach – which can translate to being considered for new opportunities and promotions as well as opening doors to business opportunities and new clients. When you’ve nailed your personal brand it should encapsulate your values and personality – showing your skills, experience and talents and your unique approach that makes you, you. When you have this part down it enables you to communicate more effectively and quickly and leave the right kind of impact in your wake.
In the workplace this means you can be known within your company or industry for being exceptional at something, whether that’s being the person who’s good with strategy, the most diplomatic manager or incredibly creative. The same is true for business owners – with a personal brand in place you can carve out your niche, increase your visibility and widen your possibilities.
When it comes to developing your personal brand though I’ve found that for some of my clients, owning who they are can be a bit of a stumbling block in itself. Often there’s imposter syndrome around leadership and this can hold people back. The foundation work of creating a personal brand really starts with self-acceptance, self-love and self-belief, understanding that you can’t be all things to all people and accepting that your unique combination of strengths and experiences has value.
When done well, your personal brand is an extremely powerful tool – in fact it’s one of the most powerful tools you can have for advancing your career and developing your influence. You don’t have to bear your soul and overshare to have an effective personal brand – it’s much more about values, messaging, positioning and story so today I’m going to talk you through some of the key considerations for creating a personal brand that resonates with you and the people you want to impress and attract.
Personal branding can help give you a competitive edge, distinguish you from everyone else and give you the visibility and cut through to bring people effortlessly onboard with your vision and ideas. At work this can massively contribute to your success as your colleagues and associates can easily understand what you’re about. In an increasingly competitive market, it helps to have a personal brand as it makes people engage with you and helps your name to become more memorable. It simplifies things and clarifies what people can expect.
In the entrepreneurial space the right personal branding can even attract investors and accelerate your growth. We’ve all seen those Dragon’s Den episodes where Peter Jones invests in the person rather than the business – that’s one example of someone’s personal brand working extremely hard for them. The same is true for internal promotions and external headhunting. Having the right reputation comes down to people portraying a consistent and powerful personal brand.
There are a few different elements that have to come together in order to nail your personal branding. First you need to know your values. You need to understand your personality type and you need to have a firm handle on your narrative. You need to feel comfortable about how you’re presenting yourself to others and how your professional story reads. You should be able to tell your story that not only presents your strengths but also shows your values and gives an indication of your personality too.
All brands are based on values and beliefs and the same is true of personal branding. So think about what values really matter to you and incorporate them into your branding – that means using these values to inform both HOW you communicate and WHAT you communicate to others.
To put it another way, what do you want to be known for? What would you be pleased to hear about yourself if someone were to describe you. Typically there are two or three qualities that people associate with others. You need to portray the values and qualities you want to be known for and it has to be real.
You may have been you for all of your life but figuring out how your personality lands with others isn’t as simple as it sounds. Why not ask colleagues and friends or acquaintances to feedback on the main qualities that shine through about your personality. Are you a great listener? A joker? A decisive leader? Are your main qualities warmth and charm or ambition and a way of motivating others?
One great place to look for personality research is to take online personality tests or to look into Carl Jung’s archetypes – which reveal a lot about individual passions and sensitivities. Use what you’ve learnt to inform the structure of your personal brand.
It’s about learning to work with what you’ve got. If you’re not a natural clown, don’t force it. Work to your strengths.
You might have realised by now that I’m big on story and narratives and using them effectively – they have so many applications, from helping to release you from self limiting beliefs to strengthening your brand presence and solidifying your personal brand as well.
You need to understand your communication style because that will help you to craft your own narrative in an authentic and more engaging way. Having a neat impactful narrative about who you are and what you stand for is endlessly useful to have up your sleeve – at meetings, interviews and presentations.
Your personal brand needs to be a reflection of your story and interesting enough to engage people.
Don’t forget that your personal brand exists to support your professional intentions and ambitions so you will need to make sure your story is consistent, authentic and interesting. Authenticity is priceless in business so building your personal brand around your core truths will pay dividends and is much easier to maintain.
Think about having a consistent tone of voice and regular content that demonstrates your personal brand in action. On social media talk about the same topics and keep your content focused – this is how you become known for certain things. In the corporate workplace, put in practice habits and behaviours that demonstrate your values in action. You need to know what you want people’s key take-aways to be whenever they encounter your brand.
That means ensuring clarity and consistency across all online touchpoints, from LinkedIn to Instagram to your website and mailing list. Make sure you’re using relevant platforms and keeping your branding and narrative consistent. Different platforms might encourage you to tell your narrative a different way – enjoy the creativity and don’t be afraid to keep strengthening, refining and developing your personal brand. You’ll soon see which approach garners interest and what kind of content you feel comfortable posting. It has to be harmonious with your professional objectives and it has to feel good, honest and authentic.
Nailing your personal brand can be one of the hardest parts of your professional career to figure out but its also one of the most valuable. That intersection of you, your experience, your goals and your personality all have to fuse together in a cohesive and convincing outward facing personal brand that doesn’t feel like a chore to maintain. That’s when the authenticity comes in – if you get your personal branding right, it’ll feel very much as though you’re in your comfort zone – but thriving instead of in cruise mode, and what’s more the results will be visible in the way opportunities start to come to you and your star starts to rise.
Working with ambitious individuals means I’ve helped to define and refine the personal brands of many people from MDs and Directors to entrepreneurs and founders so don’t hesitate to get a professional coach on board to help you ascertain the focus, values and approach that’s going to work hardest for your professional aims.
If you’d like to discover how I can help you then drop me a line today to find out how I can help you boost your influence and grow your network and conversions, all with the power of a powerful personal brand.
© 2020 Shereen Hoban