I’ve never liked the idea of personal branding – it feels too arrogant and over the top! But I’m if honest I think this is just a gut reaction against sales one liners and pop up banners emblazoned with someone’s smiling head. To some degree or another we all have a personal brand and as soon as any of us are in a position of influence surely it’s wise to control the message?
A few weeks ago I read an article from an American lawyer who developed her personal brand – she worked out her niche, her main area of expertise and made herself invaluable to her firm. The people around her knew what what she stood for, and in turn her colleagues and clients started coming to her with more specific requests. By the time the firm was being restructured while some of her colleagues were being laid off, she was able to demand more money and flexibility.
Whilst I don’t think personal branding is this straight forward or successful for everyone I do agree with taking time to work out where exactly your expertise lie. Which topics within your speciality are the most interesting to you? Which sectors are likely to grow? Intentionally shaping your career feels like a positive thing!
So, how does this work in practice?
You don’t need a logo!
Branding is all about shaping how others view you – carefully ensuring everything you put out into the world is ‘on message’ – adding a logo into the mix has an amateur feel about it!
‘Strong and stable’ is now synonymous with Theresa May. Whilst I don’t advise promoting your personal tagline, the sheer act of producing one will ensure you have a clear filter for you say yes and no to.
Once you have crystallised your message – spread it. Use blogging, social media and office conversations to ensure those around you are aware of your passion, or at least know to come to you for particular advice.
Being aware of your personal brand so that you don’t veer off in a direction that doesn’t suit you is the important bit. Shouting about it is far less so – make sure this process feels authentic and useful!