How important is presence or personal branding to a small business entrepreneur or corporate executive? I think it is important to communicate the essence of who we are, in alignment with the company brand. Not only to promote the overall reputation of the business but to aid our own career stance. It's not just the company's logo that is representative of the brand; it's the people in an organisation that portray the brand essence and reflect the vision, mission and values that have been so carefully crafted.
Personality. If you're the head of your business or in charge of a team then it's up to you to accurately determine what that brand personality and image is, communicate that to the rest of your team and then portray it in a positive light. What do you want to be remembered for? Choose adjectives to best describe the ethos of you or your business. What does it do well? Listen to feedback or do a survey to understand your customer or internal client’s perceptions. What messages do you deliver consistently? Gain clarity around your core brand and come up with a statement that positions what you stand for.
Perceptions. What do people say about you, how do they perceive you? Pay attention to how others describe you when they introduce you and how they treat you. Are you described as fun loving, compassionate, professional or creative? Do these descriptions align with your values and what you stand for? Do they match the values of the business and how it is wanting to be perceived by the public at large?
Position yourself and what you offer to your target market. Understand exactly who your target market is. What position do you already own with your audience, what do you want to own and what do you have to offer? Do you have a point of difference? Is there a unique concept or idea you can hang your hat on? Where’s the creative element?
Plan what you want to achieve. Develop a personal brand plan for yourself every year, and review it often. Include specific goals, strategies, action steps, and a timetable.
Presentation. Design or reinvigorate the package – put your best face forward. That applies to the way you dress personally and to your business images, including photos, logos, website and communication collateral. Look the part of someone going somewhere.Is everyone and ever thing presenting the company image in a professional way?
Personal manner also plays a part in how others perceive us. Be aware of plus and minus personality traits such as self confidence level, your way of talking, manners and social skills. Is personal presentation or business social skills perceived in a positive way? Be a class act. Learn good business manners and social etiquette. Send hand-written notes, return phone calls, smile, say hello – it’s the ‘little things’ that count.
Publicise. Whether it is for your business or personal brand – you need to be seen. Send out interesting, newsworthy media releases on your topic or point of difference to journalists to help create word of mouth buzz, or write articles for magazines, blogs and online newsletters. Get social and become known in your niche.
Pitch. Learn how to summarise who you are and what you do in a few short sentences so when you talk to influencers such as media or your networks you are comfortable and well versed in being able to answer any questions they may have.
Present. Being a proficient public speaker will help reinforce your personal brand. Get in front of audiences as much as you can. Learn to be a confident communicator. Join Toastmasters or hire a presentation coach to ensure your speaking skills are at their best.
People. You can’t do it alone. Build your network. Make new business contacts and stay in touch with them. Choose those appropriate to you and your personal brand; those you can help and those who can help you. Help others become as successful as you would like to be.
In my free eBook the Power of Personal Public Relations, I write more about how you can plan your own personal public relations campaign. Download your copy and you will also be subscribed to my regular eNews.
Read last week’s blog How to Create Impact Through the Power of Public Relations