You have a personal brand whether you’ve given any thought to it or not.
In simple terms, a brand is the benefits delivered to your customers. This expands to individuals, as well. Personal branding is about the talents and abilities you have and the way you act, and interact, with others. It’s how you approach the work you do and the people you encounter.A strong personal brand will help you sell yourself and your ideas. Your online presence is an important part of your overall brand. Be sure to use it to highlight how you want to be perceived.
Define Your Brand
Give some thought to how you want to be viewed by others. The two main areas you should consider are your skills and your personality. By understanding how you want to be perceived, you will be able to act, communicate and share in a way that creates and reinforces that perception.
When it comes to skills, figure out what your superpower is. Your superpower is the one thing you do so well you can probably do it in your sleep. It could be a technical skill like business valuation or the fact that you can analyze data with the best of them. It could also be a characteristic. Maybe you bend over backwards to serve your clients. Or you have a creative nature. Or you are funny and always cracking jokes. You could be adventurous, insightful or helpful. There are many ways you can describe yourself, and you need to narrow it down to a few things that make you uniquely you. And then share relevant content (in-person and online) in a way that holds true to your brand and personality.
Building Your Brand
As you are looking to build and maintain your brand, consider the role of thought leadership. Can you speak at an industry event or to a local group of business owners? Can you write for your firm’s newsletter or blog, in the local business journal or in an industry publication? Writing and speaking about things that tie to your personal brand is the single best thing you can do to build the brand you want.
Don’t dismiss the power of social media. You should use it to share what you are writing about, but also use it to share things that you’ve read. The fact that you’re sharing and talking about a specific area, like doing business globally, will help position you as an expert in that field – enhancing your brand.
Let Yourself Shine
There are some things you can do to really stand out as an authority on your chosen superpower. Most importantly is to show people what you know, don’t tell them. Claiming “I help companies save on taxes” doesn’t convince anyone that you know what you’re talking about. An article you wrote about five little known tax saving opportunities tells people that you know tax savings.
Always keep learning and share what you learn. People want to work with people who are on the top of their game. This includes more than mandatory CPE. What else can you read, watch and listen to as a way to build more well-rounded knowledge to help clients. Let others know that you have this knowledge and experience.
Protect Your Brand
As you are building your brand, be sure to protect it. Be yourself, it’s easier. Authenticity goes a long way, and people can tell when you’re trying to be someone you’re not. And be cautious about what you share, especially online since it never truly goes away. The best rule of thumb is to conduct yourself in a manner that your mom or someone you respect would approve of.
You can lose your reputation in a heartbeat. Just ask Tiger Woods, Bill Cosby or Paula Deen. If it can happen to them, it can happen to you.
Start with who you are, what you do and how you do it, and let yourself shine. Put some thought behind your brand – own it – and the profits will follow.