What do you think of when you think of a “brand”? Coca Cola, Nike, Apple?
What do you think a “brand” is? Logo, packaging, a specific colour palette?
Coca Cola, Nike and Apple are indeed brands; and a logo, packaging design and the use of a specific colour palette are all part of what makes up a brand image.
But in today’s world a brand is so much more than a name or logo. A brand is an ethos, an ethical standpoint, a lifestyle.
In a hyper connected world people are buying in to an extension of themselves – brands are a reflection of their personality, who it is they aspire to be, which tribe they see themselves belonging to.
However, increasingly, the idea of a “brand” no longer just applies to corporations and businesses, but to the individual.
Books such as Daniel Priestley’s Key Person of Influence and Known by Mark W. Schaefer lead the idea that professionals can become their own brand and then leverage that brand to advance their careers.
This is, of course, partly a response to the rapidly changing employment landscape – it’s been a couple of decades since anyone’s expected a “job for life” and younger generations are creating their own work rules, with a project to project paradigm replacing the old “employer / employee” model. This shift is becoming known as the “Brand Economy”.
Social media has also fuelled the “personal brand” fire – anyone can build a brand on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, showcase their work on Medium and network on LinkedIn.
You may not even be aware of this phenomenon as such, but the recent US presidential race was won (and lost) on a personal brand.
Donald Trump was running on a Republican ticket, however in reality Trump’s campaign only loosely reflected the GOP. The campaign was selling “Brand Trump” to the electorate. There was a distinct visual image (no amount of criticism – comedic or otherwise – has toned down the orange tan or tamed his hair); strong repetitive messaging (build a wall / make America great again); a unique oratory style (using, of course, all the “best” words); prolific and controversial use of social media.
If you run a business or are an entrepreneur, having a strong personal brand identity is an essential factor for success in 2017, but what does a personal brand look like? Well, pretty much the same as a company’s brand, actually!
Here are our top tips for getting your personal brand off the ground:
Social media is the most powerful weapon in your personal brand arsenal, but with power comes responsibility, so use it wisely!
– Ensure that you use the same profile picture across all of your social media accounts. If you expect business contacts to be following your page / feed then make sure the photo is business-appropriate (unless you run a Prosecco import company keep the glass of fizz out of shot, for example).
– Your bio on each social media account should also be the same, and state very clearly who you are and what you do.
– Stay away from making controversial political / religious / sexual statements unless they are directly linked to your personal brand image.
– Post appropriately, frequently and regularly. One tweet every few days or so is not going to have much impact (especially if it’s not related to the field in which you want to raise your profile)
Get out there and make sure people know who you are!
A personal brand with impact cannot be built purely on a laptop. Organising and getting involved in charity events, putting yourself forward as a speaker at industry events and, our personal favourite, entering awards (see HERE for our thoughts on this) are all fantastic ways to be seen, as well as giving you the opportunity to meet the movers & shakers in your sector.
– A logo highlights to people straight away which company made the product / provided the service that they are buying and this may seem hard to replicate as a human being, but it’s not as difficult as it may seem.
The two most obvious examples of personal image branding are Steve Jobs (black turtle-neck sweaters) and Mark Zuckerberg (grey hoodies).
Now we’re not saying that your wardrobe should be bland (quite the opposite), but if there’s part of your appearance that you can make your very own, that will help people to recognise you when then see you, that’s a strong message to cultivate. (Note: don’t make “your thing” too contrived, a consistently smart and polished appearance is as powerful a message as any).
– Present your best self at networking events: be prepared to have a crystal clear message about what you do (yes, we’re talking “elevator pitch”), have business cards at the ready and make sure that your personal image on the day is exactly how you want people to see you (whether that’s a grey hoodie, leopard print stilettos or just an ironed shirt!)
A compelling personal brand will take some time to establish, however with our above advice as a starting point you’re laying the groundwork for becoming a celebrity in your field!
If you’re interested in positioning yourself as a personal brand, or would like to work on the branding for your business, get in touch with us today: https://www.lexiaagency.co.uk/contact-us/
- Posted by Rachel Forcella
- On 21st February 2017
- 0 Comments