Updated: Feb 7, 2022
Have you ever considered your own Personal Brand?
What is it, and what does it say about you?
Would you buy tickets to the latest Reginald Dwight rock concert or Farrokh Bulsara?
If not, you’d miss out on great tickets to Elton John or Queen. What strategies do you implement to develop or grow your own brand?
Until now, the true power of Personal Branding has only been understood by a select few. Think of world leaders, powerful CEOs and celebrities.
Hitler used it. As did Gandhi. Think of either, and the image that pops into most heads relates to raving speeches and armbands or loin clothes and a toothless grin.
William Jefferson Blythe III spent years building a Personal Brand to become Bill Clinton, the US President and Rhodes Scholar.
Judy Garland knew that Frances Ethel GummIt wouldn’t get far in Hollywood, so built her Personal Brand with a new name, cheeky smile and a huge voice.
The problem is, it’s always been expensive and difficult to get the kind of reach these famous faces enjoyed through their agents, managers and mainstream media.
Now, though, thanks to the internet and social media, the mass-market appeal is within everyone’s reach. And everyone has a powerful personal brand as a result. Whether we like it or not.
You may not be planning to take over a large European nation or hit the high notes on stage, but make no mistake, your Personal Brand can make or break your future or fortune.
How important is my Personal Brand really?
A recent study found that 70% of recruiters and HR professionals have rejected candidates based on information they found online and 42% of investors said they researched key staff in a business online before deciding to invest, collaborate or act in a business deal with them.
When we last addressed the power of a Personal Brand in an article in 2019, it was noted that “whether you're working the loading dock, a leading barrister or barber, how you present yourself; your look, smell or sound; is how people see and interpret you. The confidence they have in you and how much time they want to spend with you.” - Revealed: 20 Famous “Fake” Profiles That Changed The World!”
The true power of Personal Branding often exceeds our understanding of its importance. Until it’s too late.
According to research, 77% of medical patients are more likely to visit a practice when they hear about it from someone they trust. Studies also show that 88% of people say they trust online reviews now, as much as a personal recommendation.
The economic impact of your Personal Brand
The importance of a Personal Brand can often be overlooked.
We often hear university students, or shift workers dismiss the concept out of hand, without giving a second thought to what they (or others) post online. Most “normal people” go to work, pay their mortgage and count down the days to their annual break oblivious of the good and bad, their Personal Brand is doing them. They’re either oblivious or dismissive and think that a Personal Brand (if they think of it at all) is for the rich and famous.
Maybe it used to be so, but it’s not anymore.
In an article online titled “Can social media get you fired?”, the BBC recently shared that “One in 10 job seekers between the ages of 16 and 34 have been rejected for a job because of something posted on their profiles”.
The article went on to say “recently, a Taco Bell employee in California was fired after a photo of him licking a stack of taco shells made its way to the company’s official Facebook page. And a government employee in New Zealand has fired a few years ago after a Facebook posting about her role as a “very expensive paperweight” and described the time she wasted and stationery she stole from the office. Even social media editors are not immune — a Bloomberg social media editor lost his job this spring after a Twitter contact shared a private direct message he had sent about frustrations at work.
Now that’s the economic impact.
Your Personal Brand can impact your credit score or promotion.
The Wall Street Journal recently revealed that lenders have admitted to investigating applicants online to judge credit worthiness, while, according to Wharton University in the U.S., the latest credit score algorithms now take into account your social media profile.
Employers are also mindful of the need for “clean public profiles” for employees, with up to 70% of them regularly screening the Personal Brands and Online Reputation of existing and prospective staff, according to CareerBuilder.
Would you hire someone from your ad agency, for example, that had images of themselves online wearing a Nazi uniform at a college party? Would you at least think twice? How about a doctor for your cosmetic practice with numerous one-star reviews and comments like “Dr XX ruined my face”?
The fact is, how you present online is now even more important than how you present in person. At an interview, client lunch, loan meeting or school open day. In each case, the people you are meeting have almost certainly “Googled you” first.
There’s nothing bad about me online - so who cares?
Let’s assume there’s nothing online that someone can dig up to embarrass you when you get that frontline role you’ve always wanted. Or go for that mortgage. What then? Well, nothing. You’re at least neutral, but wouldn’t it be great to take a leaf out of Billy Clinton’s book and make sure that when they do look you up, what they see is wall to wall glowing recommendations, positive imagery, charity work and testimonials?
Would you rather hire the guy who’s a ghost online, or rather “bland”.. Or the applicant that has 2-3 pages of Google filled with great content highlighting his many skills and interests? Testimonials from former clients and colleagues, along with social media profiles that are well maintained and which leave you amazed at how he finds the time to be so damn good at life?
The fact is, we all have the power to unlock amazing Personal Brand potential.
A better job, higher pay, a better house (or spouse), a nicer car, better holidays or a better life are all within reach for us now. Just like Elton John.
You can do it yourself of course, with careful consideration. It’s not that easy, and it can take a little time, but we have outlined some great starting points to consider below.
1) Clearly define your Personal Brand
Differentiating yourself to stand out from the crowd is the ultimate goal of good Personal Branding, and authenticity is essential.
Without it, your new branding would be little more than acting – a pointless, exhausting struggle to play a role that doesn’t suit or come easily to you.
Being yourself should be simple, but it does require you to know yourself truly, as well as your unique areas of expertise.
Evaluating your brand is a deliberate and time-consuming process that should not be rushed no matter where you sit on life’s journey, or the totem pole at work. Even if you don't yet sit at the top of your career, or perhaps have no interest in it, for a host of reasons, you should consider yourself an embedded entrepreneur.
A successful Personal Brand will put the very best you forward, in the simplest possible way.
2) Branding essentials
Branding begins with who you are, how you present yourself online and off, and how others identify with you. Are you a “power suit” person, “blazer and blouse” or trainers and trackies at 2 pm on the couch? Think about what you are trying to say with your brand. What are you trying to get? Choose the right bait for the fish you want to catch. Most people will form a view about you within seconds of a meeting, and many meetings aren’t always planned.
Even worse is the online lookup (Googling you) long before a meeting is granted or held. What’s the imagery of you online? What will they see? Trainers with a beer in hand in, or passed out in Benidorm last year won't generally get you bumped into management, or your mortgage manager too excited about your ability to pay the increase you’ve asked for to fund your next renovation (holiday).
Working from home with no Zoom meetings scheduled today doesn’t mean you should wear yesterday's stained t-shirt and an old pair of shorts.
Your Personal Brand's success is directly related to the impression you make physically and digitally, along with the strength of your “soft skills”.
Soft skills include being able to:
● Interact effectively with others (be an active listener and hold great conversations)
● Connect well with people from different backgrounds.
● Communicate in a clear and straightforward way (avoid the waffle, be assertive and get to the point).
Consistent behaviour is also crucial to the success of your new Personal Brand. The more consistent you are, the more you build trust and the stronger your brand becomes.
3) How to promote your Personal Brand
Once you decide to own your personal brand, a growth strategy is vital. Decide what you want to achieve with it, and how. What imagery do you want to present, and to whom?
If you want to open a new outdoor store for example, why not start getting shots online of you enjoying nature. Bushwalks and mountain climbs on numerous social media platforms, along with blog posts and articles sharing your knowledge and enthusiasm for the outdoors will do wonders for the bank meeting and your customers.
Speaking to groups is another way to establish yourself as a thought leader. It's even better if the groups post your talk to their social media channels linking you.
Identify and contact the most relevant groups and events that could benefit from your expertise. Whether it’s the local football club, your worker's union meeting, partners in your firm or colleagues at trade events, getting in front of people will boost your brand. You can even practice with family and friends first.
If your primary objective is to progress your career, you can create more genuine ties and organically build your network... Then put it all online, “pressing the flesh” is great, but putting a snapshot of the event online will share the moment with thousands of people for years.
Given you can’t be everywhere, all the time, your online presence is the most powerful way your brand is shared.
By developing and constantly monitoring your Personal Brand online, you will reach the largest possible audience, but be careful and remember, this really does cut both ways.
4) Create Your Community
Focus on creating a community to reach your Personal Brand's full potential.
Once you become easily identifiable (say by your enormous moustache, distinctive eyewear or colourful shirts), and get your brand values out there (such as being the guy that’s mad about fishing trout with a shotgun) you will have developed a community of followers.
No matter what your view today, there’s a bunch of people who will agree and will find you if you stand out.
It may seem far-fetched to claim that Donald Trump is an alien, but believe it or not, there are people who genuinely think he must be, and they find each other. One of my favourites right now is the “baby-eating celebrity” culture thing enjoyed and followed by millions.
By creating content regularly for your new community, you’ll be able to engage with an audience across several channels, increasing reach and “organic follows” just like the pros.
The goals you set for your new Personal Brand will dictate whether you need to build a community or join one, and what content you need to create. Nevertheless, creating great content around you online will create a great impression when people look for you online - so get cracking!
With the starting points above you can get going right away yourself.
Smart money, through the ambitious money that wants a better life, engages professional help. Just like Elton John.
Unlike Elton, however, luckily, you don’t need millions in a PR budget to do it.
A great Personal Brand online is now within everyone’s reach, with tailored packages to suit all walks of life. Why not learn more today and book a free 15-minute confidential chat with us by clicking HERE - Calendar.