Creating an identity for yourself
You might think that a personal brand is, by definition, unique and interesting. There’s only one you, right? So, your branding should automatically qualify as being different and original.
Wrong. Just because your branding is yours and yours alone, that doesn’t automatically make it a winner (sorry). Think of it in the context of art. A lot of people can paint, but not everyone is Picasso or Dali. You want to be a Picasso, not just another person trying to create an online identity for themselves.
Here are a few tips that will push your branding identity in the right direction — a unique one.
- Focus on your pre-existing credentials.
Let’s start with something basic – how you have built up your career. Before we work on how to amp up your branding, we’ll focus on authenticity and what you already have to work with. Think about your qualifications, skills, experiences, the matters you have worked on. Think about the clients you have supported and the industry insight you have built up. You are a unique individual…but what makes you unique? Even if you don’t have a one-in-a-million special skill, what would obviously set you apart from other advisers in your firm, your peers, or those that you compete with?
- Understand your brand will be refined and changed
Even if you don’t know it, you will already have a pre-existing brand – your reputation, how your colleagues perceive you, how your clients would describe you. All of these ‘perceptions’ make up your brand.
You want an amazing brand at the outset of your career, but realistically, your brand will become more unique and personal with experience. Write down the values and expertise that you’d like to be known for and keep these as your guide in professional and personally development.
A good brand is like a good wine — it becomes more refined with age.
- Your brand should sound like you (because it is you)
Always think of your brand as an extension of yourself. If your brand is truly authentic, it should sound exactly like you do. If you don’t talk like a legalese-spouting, serious person in real life, your content and online personality shouldn’t reflect that either! In all of your branding, make sure it carries your real voice, thus making it more unique and a direct reflection of you.
- Don’t forget authenticity
Piggybacking off your brand’s voice, make sure that you are not creating a facade. Many professionals believe their brand must look, sound and be presented in a certain way that isn’t true to who they are and what they consult in. They get distracted by the façade. There are tons of brands out there that have a bland voice and safe visual graphics. There are an equal number, if not more, that have photoshopped images and present a hyper, enthusiastic version of themselves. That’s not authentic. Inject yourself into your branding as much as possible.
- Believe in your brand
Let’s hammer that point about authenticity home one more time. Your professional vision can’t truly succeed if it’s not one you believe in wholeheartedly. If you create your brand around something you aren’t passionate about, trust me; it will show through to your clients. Your passion helps to make you an individual. Your passion drives your career and success. Let it shine through and believe in yourself.
- Use simple, but strong, visuals and taglines
Every successful brand has a logo, consistent messaging, consistent colours, consistent imagery and even a tagline. Use this approach for your personal brand too. Don’t overcomplicate things with vivid, multi-coloured branding unless it speaks directly to your professional purpose. The most important thing to consider is how strong an impact both your visuals and tagline will have on others, and then repeat, repeat, repeat. (Repetition is a key marketing tool).
- Make your brand engaging
Finally, your branding can do a lot of leg work for you. It re-enforces a sense of knowing in the marketplace – knowing who you are, what you do and what you stand for.
Having an engaging and consistent brand, over time, it will support you to draw in potential clients and opportunities. This also helps to make your brand more personal and unique. It can be sued to start a conversions and, equally, to close one.
Remember; when you create your personal branding vision, make sure you see yourself in it.