Personal Branding – The Business Buzzword
Personal Branding is no longer exclusively synonymous with influencers and digital marketers; now, instead, it has become almost mandatory for candidates to stand out during the application process.
For new graduates and industry professionals alike, personal branding can provide candidates with an imprint that outlasts their CV within any organisation. An own brand is similar in many ways to a corporate brand; its successes and failures are reliant on how well your brand illuminates your skill set. Rather than presumptuous self-promotion, a successful personal brand allows colleagues and employers to understand who you are, what you can provide and most importantly, it facilitates the conversations that take place once you have left the room.
Good Personal Branding is a 360 personable version of your CV. Your email signature, LinkedIn and online presence should continuously reiterate the various skill-sets you have mastered; allowing for your name and success within your industry to become a symbiotic association.
Cultivating a personal brand can be both painless and beneficial.
So how can you begin to build yours?
1. Start by identifying the primary "product" (service, resource, skills) you have to offer.
2. Identify your core values and passions. What matters to you: what ideas do you love?
3. Identify your talents. What have you always been recognised for throughout your career and even before that industry? What skills do employers and colleagues associate with you?
4. From this list of talents and qualities, choose the top five; use them as the basis of a statement of your speciality?
5. Write a paragraph emphasising your specialisation and your five key talents, highlighting your most important values, passions and skills.
With this initial foundation, you will be able to grow and adapt to your brand.
Personal Branding is a vital investment for all levels and all career backgrounds; however, for freelances in particular successful personal branding is imperative. Networking is essential for building strong interpersonal relationships that enrich both your business and your own life and allow you to grow your network and opportunities.
Building a network of people can enable you to explore new opportunities while progressing within your field. A clear personal brand diversifies your voice allowing it to stand out amongst the CVs, amidst the career fairs and conferences. When your branding speaks for itself, it can also allow you to create authentic relationships with no transaction in mind, crucially allowing for the business discussion to occur naturally.
Being present online is also essential for building a successful personal brand; Ryan Erskine at Brand Strategist for Brand Yourself states that:
Sales reps who use social media as part of their sales techniques outsell
of their peers and that
of recruiters said they conducted online research on potential candidates.
Erskine’s article also highlights another key element of personal branding for today’s worker – personal branding within your company. He states that:
‘Companies that invested in own branding initiatives of their employees found that employees were 27% more hopeful about their company, 20% more likely to stay, and 40% more likely to believe in the competitiveness of their employer.
Unsurprisingly, professional service firms like McKinsey’s utilise branding at both a corporate and personal level.
Most professional services firm succeeds by using the same business model. They generate their substantial income by limiting their hard assets in favour of soft assets — more colloquially known as smart, motivated and talented people. This model is reliant on successful and comprehensive branding (personal and corporate) to provide bespoke services on a large scale.
Being able to precede an interview or client meeting with your brand is invaluable for today’s worker. It provides a precedent for credit, specifically for women in workplaces attempting to amplify their voice. Post sabbatical or a maternity break, addressing your brand allows for career reinvention. For freelance workers, their branding enables employers to have confidence when hiring them to complete project work. The process of developing your portfolio will allow you to build on your expertise, develop new capabilities, grow your network, and continuously reinvent you as a brand.
It takes five to seven impressions for someone to remember any brand – make sure yours is unforgettable.