Building Your Personal Brand
A Personal Brand means so much more than how you’re seen. It’s who you are. When you’re aligned with your message, your brand is felt. So, we (and you) need to know why you’re doing what you do. It’s not enough for you to don your designer suit or the right heels and simply polish your language. What we need to know is what’s in your heart and your head. Your unique quirks and style can be adapted to maintain the essence of who you as build your Personal Brand. What’s more important is who you are. We need to know what’s at your core before we can put any polish on it. Otherwise, it’s not authentic and we – as your audience – will sense that. When it comes to Personal Branding, superficial success is not the goal. Expanding your message – the reason you get out of bed – is.
Creating a Personal Brand: Optimising The Brand Spiral
Your team, product, service or organisation are a reflection of you. If there are glitches in the system, something’s usually gone amiss at the top. The Brand Spiral is evident wherever you look. Your strong Personal Brand builds the brand of your business. Your accelerated business brand boosts your Personal Brand. The Brand Spiral is a win-win loop that amplifies the signal on both sides. Boards of Directors and recruiters fully understand the impact of The Brand Spiral dynamic. It drives them to pursue those with strong Personal Brands. They understand the ‘pull’ power of a charismatic reputation and dynamic, positive brand growth. This is what makes Personal Branding so potent. And so valuable. Your customers and clients feel it. Employee engagement relies on it. The success of your business will fail if the pinnacle of the pyramid is wobbly or cracked i.e. if you’re unsteady or unclear on why you operate the way you do.
Building yourself as a brand is something of a dichotomy. Before you create something new you need to break down the elements of ‘who you are’ by asking the following questions:
- What’s important to you?
- How do you operate when you’re in flow?
- What lights your fire – and what puts it out?
- What are the inner fears that are preventing you from moving forward?
- How do you react when things don’t go your way?
Identifying your blind spots – especially the blind spot of what’s truly great about you – enables us to bring them to the surface and create clarity in areas that have been hidden or lost to you.
As your self-awareness expands, so will any business or personal transactions you engage in. One is naturally affected by the other. That’s The Brand Spiral at play.
Personal Branding Builds Your Career Success
Your Personal Brand: The Path to the Top
What is a Personal Brand?
A Personal Brand is your profile, reputation and image. It’s the way your audience knows of you, what they think you stand for and what they think you do before they meet you. Personal Branding anchors your leadership reputation in the media and social media. When you have a strong Personal Brand, you are the authority and thought leader in your field. When your reputation precedes you because you have a compelling Personal Brand, you’re able to develop networks that create your success pathway.
Branding Yourself for Authentic Leadership
With a strong Personal Brand you become an authority in the minds of your audience. You’re a subject matter expert. You’re fearlessly opinionated. You share your expertise. You respond to what’s contextually relevant and what’s happening in your field. You comment on what’s new and trending in your area. This makes you a leader in the eyes of your customers and peers. Your Personal Brand articulates your values. It is authentic and genuine.
Good Personal Branding is Not Trumped-Up Fakery
You build trust and influence in your audience when you are authentic and genuine. Establishing trust is the fundamental building block to grow a strong Personal Brand. This is the opposite to superficial ‘vanity metrics’ and a made-up, manufactured image.
“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” – Seth Godin
Personal and Product Branding are Audience-Centred.
Branding will either appeal or repel. It’s the foundation of all your communications, PR, marketing and social media. The purpose of branding is build the crucial relationship with the core values of your audience. And to form the foundations of marketing and communications to achieve a business return on investment (ROI). Whether it’s with product or Personal Branding, the desired outcome is to make the person on the receiving end – your colleagues, clients or employees – feel safe, happy and inspired. And sometimes, challenged.
“The Foundation Of Product And Personal Branding Come Down To The Same Thing: Establishing and Maintaining Trust With Audiences. Building Relationships.”
Trust Is The Brand Building Block
Establishing interpersonal and social trust are vital to long-term success. A 2017 report by the Center For Creative Leadership says that strong Personal Brand is built on a foundation of trust. The pillars of trust are capability, character and communication. Within this trifecta lies a framework for building your brand.
We recognise trust as being when someone is consistent, admits their mistakes, gives and receives constructive feedback and is open to sharing information. In order for us to trust, a person must have the capacity to hold space for all that – and more. They must be entirely congruent. Creating trust and building a strong Personal Brand increases your authority, maximises your impact and increases your chance of leaving a potent legacy.
In his book The Trust Factor, Paul Zac, PhD, explains how neuroeconomics is the measure of brain activity that’s happening when people are making decisions. It tells us why people do what they do. When it comes to trust, oxytocin – a hormone that makes you feel good – is at the heart. Making people feel good means they’re more likely to trust you. Trust is also born when we show up authentically. And that’s the key to building your Personal Brand.
Leveraging The Brand Spiral
Building Your Personal Brand to Optimise The Brand Spiral
Sir Richard Branson and the Virgin Group exemplify how effective The Brand Spiral can be. Branson and the Virgin group imbue a reputation for being smart, bold, entrepreneurial and fun. People trust Virgin because they like Branson. They’re one and the same.
In his book Start With Why, Simon Sinek applies the same approach to Steve Jobs and Apple. He says, “The personalities of Jobs and Apple are exactly the same. In fact, the personalities of all those who are viscerally drawn to Apple are similar. There is no difference between an Apple customer and an Apple employee.”
Whatever you do, say or sell is a representation of your brand. But the Brand Spiral can work in an upward or downward coil. Ex-Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and Disney’s former Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter are examples of how not to do it. You don’t want to be remembered for your ‘missteps’.
Authenticity is the only way.
Connecting with Audiences
Connecting With Audiences By Strong Personal Branding
Your WHY Is Key To Successful Personal Branding
As Sinek has proven, your ‘Why’ directly articulates your value set. And your values are the building blocks of trust. So we need to discover, or re-discover your Why. Your Why is the emotion-laden framework and basis of your Personal Brand and it’s our job to know it inside and out. It’s like the stem of a giant daisy. It holds the seeds of all its future offspring yet remains beautiful and perfect in and of itself. The stem of the daisy is your Why; the centre is your Values; the petals your Content and Delivery. With a strong stem and a ripe centre, the petals will naturally bloom, in and of themselves.
Authenticity: The Most Critical Attribute In Self-Branding
If you want to attract a loyal audience and sustain their interest, you need to show integrity and be consistently authentic. That will sometimes mean dealing with confrontation. It’s not enough to be calm, cheerful and well-groomed. This can be considered one-dimensional. What people really crave is your honest actions and your insightful reaction. Sometimes this involves raw vulnerability. Your team mates, employees and clients will follow someone they believe will take them to a new and brighter future. Even if they don’t necessarily know what that looks like.
According to the Harvard Business Review, “In order to keep your trust relations on an even keel, and the playing field level, you have to be willing not only to take chances by initially trusting a bit (signalling a willingness to cooperate) but also to retaliate strongly, quickly, and proportionately.” Trust is created when you authentically express your values. Your audience is looking to match their value set with yours.
What Self-Branding Is Not
Good personal branding is an authentic extension of who you really are. Not a superficial slice of clever self-promotion. We’ve seen the inevitable cracks that appear in a manufactured persona and how this results in trust being lost. Audiences are digitally and socially literate, and highly discerning. They are bombarded and overwhelmed with messages from the media and social every day. When someone speaks to their values, they don’t just ‘click’, ‘like’ and ‘follow’, they light up inside.
How To Build A Personal Brand: Define Your Why, And All Else Follows
Personal Branding Statement: Start With ‘Why’
Simon Sinek is a global bestselling author and TED talk sensation. He’s an expert on ‘Why’. He’s experienced first-hand what happens when you lose sight of the reason you’re doing what you do. He says, “Those who forget why [their organisations] were founded show up to the race every day to outdo someone else instead of outdo themselves.”
Personal Logo and Brand Photography
A strong and unique signature for your Personal Brand is essential. The creation of a personal logo and styling, with brand photography makes you memorable.
Advertisers have known for years that buyers’ motivations are emotion-driven first, rationalised soon after. Whether that purchase is a service, your latest sales report or a LinkedIn profile, it needs to illustrate who you are.
Once you’re standing firm in your metaphorical and literal new shoes – having mastering your Personal Brand styling – building something solid and meaningful will happen more organically.
“The image you want to project has many facets – visual, text, audio – with search metrics attributed to each.” Trudy Johnston.
Foundations of Style and Recognition
The foundation of Personal Branding includes your website, logo, email signature, business cards and physical appearance. It also extends to content strategy, Personal Branding photography and what your audience is searching for on Google (through keyword trends), commenting and sharing on social. Together, these elements define a unifying style that makes your brand instantly recognisable, and most importantly, memorable. When building your Personal Brand carefully consider each aspect of your Personal Branding Foundation:
- Your Unique Selling Point
- Target Market and Audience Metrics
- Digital and Media Presence
- Relevant Channels
- High Quality Content with Well Researched Keywords
- Personal Styling
“You need to consider how you visually portray yourself including your style and tone of voice. Then implement that consistently throughout all your communication channels.” Trudy Johnston.
Making the most of your channels and Personal Brand website
A Personal Brand with an attractive and consistent visual style builds recognition and presence. It proves authority and establishes your leadership credentials.
After defining and creating your Personal Brand, you need to:
- Grow your audience
- Build awareness of your Personal Brand
- Implement outreach campaigns
- Create a steady stream of content
- Post regularly on your Personal Brand website
- Actively promote your content through social media
- Arrange article placement on sites and conventional media outlets
- Seek opportunities for speaking engagements
Measuring Performance with KPIs for Web and Social
As you build your Personal Brand, data is the key. It not provides performance measurements that facilitate your ongoing success, it gives you the insights that contextual analysis reveal as opportunities. Building your Personal Brand requires Key Performance Indicators: the metrics that relate to your goals. Be conversant enough with the data to set relevant KPIs. Strong, accurate data shows you how to activate and accelerate your business and ensure your strategy is working. Use your KPIs to measure your successes, amplify them and refine your approach.
Examples of useful KPIs to use for your Personal Brand’s performance:
- Website traffic (use Google Analytics)
- Engagement and performance on social channels (use the inbuilt analytics to ascertain metrics for: LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram)
Personal Branding for Fast-Track Growth
You don’t need us to tell you how to do your job. You’re a high achiever. You know your strengths and are ready to transform your weaknesses into new messages that creates authentic, lasting change. You hold yourself to the highest standards. You’re ready to raise your public presence and extend your reputation. You want your peers to know you before they meet you. Creating a Personal Branding strategy for yourself is one of the best possible ways to fast-track your career and your entrepreneurial journey. Obviously you can never guarantee what people think or say about you, but taking the time to devise your Personal Brand strategy will go a long way to become the insurance you need against misrepresentation.
When you’ve taken control of your profile and image and decided how you want to be perceived in the world, you’ve set the stage. And when you establish those foundations with trust and authenticity and understand the power of seeing yourself in context to your market and what’s trending in your arena, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a confident leader. In anybody’s language, that’s what Personal Branding is designed to do: build your leadership excellence.
This world needs leaders who are fearless enough to not only live their passion, but to communicate, share why they do what they do and make a difference. When this happens others are impacted and encouraged to fulfil their potential as well. It’s the job of a leader to build leadership in others. If you’d like some assistance to build your leadership through outstanding communications, as well as overcome hesitation and take control of your message, talk to us. We’ll make sure you solidify your public presence and shine with confidence. Boards of Directors and Executive Recruiters understand the value of leaders with strong Personal Brands, and the important synergy that The Brand Spiral creates.
Talk to Vim + Zest about taking the next step. We’ll be right by your side all the way.