By Rachel Brushfield, ‘Talent Liberator’ and founder of Energise – The Talent Liberation Company, who ran a Personal Branding workshop at the CIPR Education and Skills AGM in February 2017.
Personal branding is becoming not just more important, but essential. Increasingly employees and consultants for projects will be resourced online via ‘Trip Advisor style’ sites. Just as videos and infographics have grown in importance to provide communication cut-through online, so defining your personal brand is a modern way to stand out.
Picture a sea of faces on a resourcing or recruitment web site for PR professionals. An avatar (headshot of you), and a couple of sentences maximum to get the message across, plus ratings about you from previous clients, employers and peers.
A busy executive looks at the site to find someone for an exciting career enhancing project or contract. How will you stand out and be chosen from the hundreds of choices? What will make the browser notice you in a good way so you are on their initial resourcing or recruitment list? Or will you be invisible – your online profile showcasing your high-quality experience not even read, because you didn’t get past the first hurdle.
So what is a personal brand and why is it so important for the future of work?
A personal brand is the territory you occupy in the minds and hearts of your target audience. It gets you noticed in a good way and positions you as the ‘go-to person’ for your specialism or niche.
The wording of your personal brand is crucial. The best personal brands are memorable, relevant and emotive. Articulating your personal brand in just three words follows in-depth analysis of yourself and the needs of your target audience, plus emerging trends, takes time and thought.
Articulate your brand in just three words
Many people find it hard to create their own personal brand because they are so close to themselves that they can’t see their own unique talents. Synthesising, distilling and articulating the essence of you and the gift you bring to others in just a few words is a skill in itself.
As CIPR members, you are all communication experts, however, it is common for people skilled at doing this for others to find it hard to do for themselves. Does the saying ‘The cobbler’s children are always the worst shod’ ring true? Perhaps or perhaps not.
Here are some pertinent quotes about personal branding.
“All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.” Tom Peters in Fast Company.
“Building a profitable personal brand online is not a sprint, and something that happens overnight. Don’t aim for perfection early on. Instead allow your brand to evolve naturally over time and focus on providing massive value and over deliver to your target audience. Then you will get more clear over your message and brand as well.“ Navid Moazzez.
“Personal branding is about managing your name — even if you don’t own a business — in a world of misinformation, disinformation, and semi-permanent Google records. Going on a date? Chances are that your ‘blind’ date has Googled your name. Going to a job interview?” Ditto. Tim Ferriss
“If you don’t give the market the story to talk about, they’ll define your brand’s story for you.” David Brier.
“Branding demands commitment; commitment to continual re-invention; striking chords with people to stir their emotions; and commitment to imagination. It is easy to be cynical about such things, much harder to be successful.” Sir Richard Branson.
My personal brand is ‘Talent Liberator’. I do what it says on the tin. Originally at the beginning of my business 20 years ago, my personal brand was ‘Energising Connector’ which was an accurate summary of what I do, but it lacks the emotive quality which makes a better personal brand.
Here are some examples of personal brands:
- Network Navigator – a networking specialist
- The Body Coach – a personal trainer
- The Clean Food Coach – an expert in natural food to stay healthy
- Mr Loophole – a lawyer who specialises in getting celebrities out of driving bans.
- The Book Midwife – a writing coach who helps her clients to self-publish a book
- Insight Integrator – A strategist specialising in insight to inform an integrated strategy
- Career Sherpa – a job search coach for the digital age
- Miss Masala – an Indian cook and food writer
Make time to think about and create your personal brand. It takes time, but is one of the best investments you will ever make to attract the work you really want.
If you would like to receive information about Energise Personal Branding individual mentoring service, please e mail Rachel firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachel Brushfield is the Talent Liberator and is the founder of Energise – The Talent Liberation Company, established in 1997. She is a career strategist, coach, marketing mentor and author. Personal branding, portfolio careers, career fulfillment and marketing yourself are specialisms.