In January most people seem to have an optimistic outlook for the year ahead. Positive intentions are set particularly about making some sort of change or reinvention.
Well it is not too late to start thinking about how you want to grow and communicate your personal and professional brand. And yes, they are intertwined whether you are an entrepreneur or an employee, you as an individual are representing an overall company brand. It could be XYZ corporate brand or Ms CEO of You.
To help you stand out, try incorporating these ideas into your brand communication plan for this year.
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 the 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? Discover what sets you apart.
Perceptions. Listen to feedback or do a survey to understand your internal or external client’s perceptions. What do people say about 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?
What messages do you deliver consistently? Do those messages and descriptions align with your values and what you stand for and how you want to be perceived?
Promote. Gain clarity around your core brand and develop a personal brand statement or short ad, or commercial about you. Summarise who you are and what you do in a few short sentences.
Then when you talk to influencers such as media or your networks, you are comfortable and well versed to say clearly what you do, how you do it differently, and the benefit it provides.
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?
Is there a unique concept or idea you can hang your hat on? Where’s the creative element? Stand out by being first with a new idea or by recognising a major trend in your field and moving to the head of it.
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 everything presenting the company image in a professional way?
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.
Strong social media strategies will support your message and help you become known in your niche.
People. You can’t do it alone. Build your network. Make new business contacts through networking 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.
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.
Perfection. Well there’s no such thing. However, if you become the expert by gaining credentials and qualifications in your field, it will help reinforce your personal brand. We all make mistakes. If something is not working try something else.
Profit. We all want to be profitable but remember to give something back. Giving your time, talent, or money to charitable causes or industry associations can help build your brand. And it will be more enjoyable if you find something you are passionate about or complements what you like to do.
Partners. Work with the best whether employees, contractors, consultants or partners. They will help build your brand reputation. Leverage your time and find someone else to help with work for you so you can concentrate on what you do best.
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.
Above all take a professional approach to building your personal brand.
Need further tips on how to grow your brand? Sign up for my free video training series, NOOK, LOOK, HOOK, 3 Steps to Build A Stand Out Personal Brand.
Sue Currie is a speaker and the author of IMPRESSario, Present and Promote the Star Within You. She is recognised as a leading authority on personal branding to boost image, profile, brand and business. Through her image management and profile building programs, workshops, consulting and keynote presentations, Sue helps businesses and entrepreneurs position and present an influential professional brand.
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