If you’re intrigued, but equally apprehensive about all things personal brand, you’re not alone.
For the vast majority, personal branding is something that both excites and frightens. After all, personal branding involves focusing wholly on ourselves, and for a lot of us, that can often feel hedonistic.
In its purest sense, a personal brand strategy simply means taking control, or being measured about the essence of YOU. Just is the case for branding at large, being strategic about your personal brand takes a consideration of multiple touch points; the perceived, the digital, the physical and verbal.
Why do you need to care?
In today’s digital driven era – one that’s noisier, more cluttered and evolving faster than ever, your personal brand exists whether you like it or not. Whether you’re in control of it, however, is what you need to consider.
A strategic personal brand is one you’re actively controlling, or curating, in accordance with your unique personal and professional goals – be they now or future based.
As a case in point, let’s consider the DIGITAL you. A simple Google test will reveal plenty.
Where do people find you? What visuals do they see? What content do they read relating to you? Were you the content author, or merely quoted in amongst someone else’s material? How much content (volume) are they offered? What kind of experience do they enjoy overall? What mood, tone, look and feel?
For professionals today, digital footprint is pivotal, but noting delivering on promise is always paramount, its alignment with all other ‘proteins’ in the personal brand DNA equation – the perceived, physical and verbal, is truly critical. As always, consistency is king.
Where to start?
In my business Brand Amplified, we take a simple, four step approach to most branding strategies.
We CONSIDER, CREATE, AMPLIFY, ENGAGE.
In a snapshot:
- YOU: who am I, what do I want to be known for, what makes me truly different?
- YOUR AUDIENCE: who do I need to influence, why should they care about me, what value can I offer them?
- EXECUTION: what tools, platforms, channels should I use to reach and engage my audience
Determine the platforms you want to be on, and the role they’re going to play for you (i.e. some platforms might be strictly personal or ‘passion-project’ based, while others remain professional). Tweak privacy settings accordingly.
Noting the semantics of both your industry and personal goals, are existing platforms ok (LinkedIn, your work Intranet / Google+ communities, social media, a profile on a relevant industry body website), or do you need to create an entirely new one – i.e. a personal microsite?
In terms of your content, or assets:
- Will they be visual, verbal, or both?
- Will you simply be sharing, liking and engaging with existing content, or publishing entirely new perspectives of your own?
- Will your strategy be fundamentally online, or in-person too?
Thinking about the platforms you’re on, the groups and events you’re involved with, the audiences you’re targeting, how much time you have, how much time they have …
- How is best to broadcast your messages in a manner that’s likely to cut through?
- When and how often will you share a perspective / piece of content?
- Will you speak, or get involved in special industry events?
- Could you take your expertise to organisations outside of your immediate professional circle?
Finally, never point, shoot and assume it’s going to work. Understand that strategic personal branding always involves a two-way ‘value’ exchange that needs to be watched, tweaked and refined along the way. Like the savviest of brand managers, you must be both your greatest fan, and your harshest critic.
At regular intervals, measure and check the effectiveness of your strategy.
- Are you cutting through / getting noticed?
- Are people valuing your perspective / contribution?
- Was it different?
- Am I doing anything to support others / ‘pay it forward’ along the way?
Belinda and CareerCEO Founding Director Andrea Clarke are running a full-day intensive workshop spanning personal brand, building a powerful network, structuring and delivering a report with impact, managing nerves and more, on the 26th October.