I like to keep the company of positive, inspiring people. I’m sure you do too as interacting with people we like is uplifting. However as a small business owner, my working day is pretty much head down, tail up all day long to get the various tasks done. I do recognise however that I need to get out and about and mingle with like-minded people. I learn so much when I attend conferences and networking events and of course establish strong personal and professional relationships which is critical to succeeding in a business or career.
I’ve discovered one way of building effective relationships is through developing your professional presence and personal brand. If your personal brand is already familiar to people it opens the door to conversation and opportunity.
But what is personal branding? I believe it covers three areas…
- Essence and personality – communicating the inner core of you – your uniqueness, qualities, strengths, skills and passions
- Elan – that vivacity and special something that makes up your personal presence. Plus your visual communication – how you appear through image and style
- Exposure – the personal promotion of you and your brand to build recognition and reputation
Before you set off on the path of growing your personal brand, it’s a good idea to really think about who you are; work out what your stand for. Whether you are an employee or a service provider you need to consider that you are still an integral part of the team. Wouldn’t it be a good idea if you really matched the clients you work with to your own personal style. How can you do this?
Do a personal audit to determine your values and vision, your strengths, look at your goals. Does your vision align with that of the client’s company? Do you need to acquire new skills or develop your strengths further to gain their trust and confidence to be a true member of the team? By understanding your values, life and work skills and how to apply them to your role, you will have a strong foundation for uplifting work.
If you are a service provider YOU represent your business brand image. And as an executive you also represent your company’s brand image. What does your personal brand look like? How is your design, colour and look? What message does your personal image send? Your clothes, appearance and the way you interact with other people are the external image of your brand.
Some clients you work for may have a uniform that reflects the company brand and image. You wouldn’t be required to wear that uniform but it’s usually a hint as to the dress standard of the organisation you are contributing to. In a business environment there is definitely an underlying code of dress which is smart, polished and professional. By understanding the brand qualities you want to project with the work you do,in alignment with the clients your work for, you can create a look that is suitable, creative and stylish to help make your mark.
Write down some adjectives of the type of person or brand you would like to be or project. Think of yourself as the product you are designing a package for. Collate some words, images and colours from magazines. Look at the clothes and shapes that appeal to you and reflect the words you have chosen for yourself. Create a brand portfolio of ideas and visual examples. As you do this exercise you will begin to discover your style and what appeals to you. This is your logo – your own personal brand.
Time now to think about how to promote yourself – get noticed. First and foremost, we need to be good at what we do. Performance is a given. But what else can give us that extra edge? Communication through brochures, direct mail, postcards and other collateral. Also digital media management of website content, content marketing,eNews, eBooks, blogs, social media network updates and search engine optimization.We need to communicate consistently with our clients and network to keep us “front of mind”. Be seen and interact at events such as trade shows, open days, networking events, seminars, speaking opportunities, client office drinks or a business lunch. Media strategy includes sending out media releases, publicity editorial, interviews and photo opportunities, submitting articles to trade or consumer magazines and building media relationships. Actively engaging with your clients both internal and external will help you make an impression and build those all important relationships to ensure your business success.