Top Tips to build your Personal Brand for 2011…
Find out what it is about you that makes you compelling to others – most successful people get it right most of the time, but they are not always sure why. This little nugget will give you the self-knowledge to keep delivering the essence of what makes you successful, which in turn delivers a sense of control over your career. It’s all about understanding cause and effect – you are the cause and you can measure the effects.
Analyse your markets or audience and ask yourself what each person or group is looking for in someone like you. So if you are an entrepreneur, your markets/audience might be your customers, your investors, your employees, your business partners, the media, industry related bodies and your suppliers. Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself if there is anything you could be doing better?
Go to market and find out how you are perceived. The only way to do this is to ask. Pick three or four people from each of your markets/audience and ask them how they perceive you in a business context. What you learn will be invaluable.
Specialise – we can’t be all things to all people so pick an area of expertise that you have, make sure that its desirable to your markets/audience and then make it well-known. You can do this online (write a blog, comment on others articles in online publications), offline (write a letter to the editor, write an article for your trade press), and in person (host a meeting, invite an expert to talk – you will raise your profile by association).
Consistency is key – consistency builds trust so keep delivering what others find compelling about you consistently. Think about your career as you might think about a can of baked beans – no amount of smart labeling or advertising will compensate for the consistency of the product. When you open the can, it needs to deliver what it promises. Every single time.
Potential business partners and employers will google you – ensure what they find online is a true reflection of who you are in a business context. Un-tag yourself from those silly, party pictures on Facebook and ask your friends not to post any photos or videos of you. There are far better, less potentially damaging ways of sharing fun times.
Get smart online. Write a blog, record video (its bigger than blogging or social networking), tweet and get your profile updated on Linkedin. You control the content, you control the message, you control your brand. There is a proviso here – we really don’t want or need to know what you had for lunch unless you are a food critic. It’s all about adding value.
The relentless rise of social and digital media means that we are all found online. Your digital footprint is being created as we speak and its up to you to ensure that it works for you. But remember, personal branding is not only about managing how you are perceived online, it’s very much about what you do and the impact you create in person and offline.
Take the time and put energy into developing your talents and your self-knowledge. Oh, and take regular breaks too. At the risk of sounding clichéd, you need to invest in yourself and that includes having some down time, some ‘me’ time. You will come back refreshed and it will add a fresh perspective to your work.