It is often said that people buy from people, and it’s true. Of course, whilst working for a well-known firm may open those initial doors it will be the way in which you have built a rapport with your client that determines if you win their business or not. Today’s marketers call this your ‘personal brand’.
So how do you cultivate brand You and make it work for you in your career?
Think of yourself as a brand
How do you want people, clients and colleagues to view you? Do you wish to be perceived as a leading authority in your field or someone who with a reputation for getting things done and generating results, or both? Once you have an understanding of the way in which you want to be regarded you can then begin to work at promoting your brand to the right people, in the right way and at the right time.
Audit your online presence
Are you easy to find on search engines or do you have a fairly common name, which means your details are lost several pages back? If so, consider using a middle name or initial – something that our Stateside colleagues do all the time. Your name is your intellectual property, so make sure that you are ‘discoverable’ online and that you keep track of what is being said about you by setting up Google alerts.
Get yourself ‘out there’
Without doubt online is the most effective way by which you can publicise your personal brand. If you’re looking to raise your profile as a thought leader in your industry set up a simple blog or website, where you can upload a variety of articles or whitepapers that can be linked to your social media profiles.
Add value to the conversation
Thought leadership content is most effective when it address the needs of the audience you are engaging with and adds value – what do you have to say that can provide a solution to a common problem or do you have a unique perspective on a topical news story affecting your sector, for example?
Be purposeful in your messaging
With professional social networking sites such as LinkedIn offering effective ways of communicating with colleagues in your field, all you need to do is set up a profile with a well-written resume and an adequate profile picture and you are under way. But be mindful of the information you share – do the Tweets you are sending and every status update you make reflect the values of the personal brand you are creating?
Network, network, network
In order to publicise your brand, you will need to attend events, add people on social media sites and develop dialogue with key individuals – influencers such as colleagues (past and present), key groups, strong brands within your sector and media contacts who work on publications that write about your sector. At the end of the day, if you have setup a profile that accurately illustrates your skills and experience, then you are in a good position. But just as much effort needs to be put into networking afterwards in order to really make an impression.
Building up your personal brand is not easy – but once you have done it and connected to people in the same field, you should reap the rewards. Nevertheless, like in any area of life, success never comes overnight – it takes hard work, effort and fine-tuning.