The first thing we need to understand is what exactly is a personal brand? Whilst there are many differing definitions, simply put a personal brand is a platform that a person would use to market themselves, their methodologies as well as their career paths - but not as a person- as an actual brand. As with all branding, a great personal brand is not one that instantly happens overnight, it’s about developing, crafting, growing as well as maintaining a good reputation… all the time.
We believe the key to successful personal branding, begins like all good brands… your brand purpose or true north principle. Ask yourself the following questions:
· What do you stand for?
· What truly matters to you?
· What are your core beliefs and values?
· Why are you doing this?
· Who will benefit from this and how so?
So, why should you actively listen to your customers ? Before answering this question, it is important to remember that it is not just about listening to hear their problems, but rather about really connecting with these customers. By paying attention to your customer’s needs, wants and understanding how you can actually help them with what they are looking for, you can keep them as customers even after they have felt something was not what they wanted.
The answers to the above become the cornerstones upon which to begin to develop your personal brand. Once you are able to clearly communicate and articulate these answers, we begin to build and work on your personal brand.
A question we often get, is “who really needs a personal brand?” Truth is, we all have our own personal brands, we just don’t communicate it, or think about it, in the same way as we do traditional brands. If you are a consultant, contractor or freelancer in any capacity, your entire career is built on your relationships with your suppliers, clients and those in your industry, this together with your reputation, and your previous work done all combine and form part of your personal brand.
Solid personal branding is not a simple overnight exercise. It is a constantly evolving, and fluid process. The first step is to align your work and clients to your core values and beliefs (easier said than done, as we all know money is money, and we need to get paid). Once you have done this, you can then begin to communicate these externally. Visual communication is key… we have all heard the expression “a picture is worth a thousand words” - this is especially true with personal branding. It is at this point where you can begin to think about what your brand will look like, your identity. Elements such as colour, fonts, shapes, tone and style of your copy as well as your ways of doing everything. After this, a profile, website, social media channels all built upon the answers to those original questions.
A personal brand can be just as complex as a corporate brand. It takes time to craft and develop, it is vital that it is well thought through (on all aspects), strategic goals and objectives are set, and then that it is expertly executed and implemented. You need to take the time to create, curate and consistently find the best ways of communicating who you are… who your personal brand is.
Crafted by Chris Midgley