5 tips for personal branding success

In today’s competitive world, a strong personal brand can be the difference between success and failure. So where do you start? What exactly goes into establishing a personal brand? For […]

June 6, 2015 // Bonnie // No Comments //

In today’s competitive world, a strong personal brand can be the difference between success and failure. So where do you start? What exactly goes into establishing a personal brand? For the answers to these questions and to get started on building your brand, follow these five tips:

Define your brand

This is not a quick process. Take some real time to think about who you are and what makes you different from others offering services similar to yours. Set goals for yourself and write out a mission or vision statement to guide you – I’ll be offering you some tips for doing this next week.

Choose five words that you think describe who you are and run with them. If you find this difficult, ask your friends, colleagues or supervisors to describe you – you’ll probably be surprised at the common words they come up with. Let these words define how you will interact with people and stick with them.

Throughout my career I have differentiated myself from other consultants by creating open and trusting relationships with my clients, based on a warm and friendly communication style. When I was looking to define my brand, I read through client testimonials and LinkedIn recommendations to see how I was being described: the words “out of the box”, “creative”, “warm” and “open” were used repeatedly. These are a perfect representation of not only my personal brand, but also of who I am.

Know your audience

Whether you’re an independent consultant, a small business owner or on the hunt for a job, it’s important to know exactly whom you’re marketing to. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is your target audience looking for?
  • How can you fill this need, or provide this service, in a way that’s better than anyone else?
  • Is there a niche market you can target or that your unique skills are best suited for?

Having clear answers to these questions will help you further differentiate your brand from your competitors’. Being able to promise a unique experience to potential clients or employers will make you memorable and could be the reason they choose to work with or hire you.

Be authentic

This point naturally follows the first two: with your brand defined, and your target audience selected, it’s important to keep things authentic. You’ve narrowed in on how you want to present yourself publicly, so the key now is to make sure that you do so every time you meet someone. A key part of personal branding is networking with people in your industry, as well as potential clients and employers – you must behave consistently every time you meet them. Be credible – everything you say about yourself you should be able to back up. And above all, be honest – people are naturally attracted to and want to work with people who seem genuine.

In my consultancy, I place a high importance on building trust and long-term relationships. This is something I value personally and I extend to those I work with. Another way I keep my personal brand authentic is by being honest about the craziness that comes from a working mom with two high-energy kids. This also acts as another avenue for connecting with people.

Take it online

No matter what your personal brand is, in today’s world putting it on the web is unavoidable. Start by picking a domain name for your website that suits your brand – give thought to how it represents you to other people. Do the same with your email address.

Next, give thought to how your personal brand “looks”. This means considering things like font types, colours and messaging. Everything that represents you publicly, including your Facebook and Twitter pages, LinkedIn profile, website and business cards, should have consistent messaging and the same look and feel.

When it came to building and designing my website, I turned to talented people whom I’ve worked with for a long time. I trusted they would be able capture the essence of my personal brand visually. And they did: my website, logo and business cards are a true representation of me.

Dress the part

You are your personal brand and no one else can represent you. Once you’ve gone through the above points, you should feel confident that you’ve established a personal brand that’s true to you. Always remember that you’re a visual representation of your brand, just as much as your logo, website and business card are. Make sure your personal style fits with and reflects this brand. Appearances matter in the competitive world we live in and first impressions count. Again, it’s best to be natural. Dress so that you feel comfortable and confident.

I personally choose to dress a bit more informally and fun because it’s how I’m comfortable and I think it gives people an idea of my personality and what I’ll be like to work with.