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I was recently interviewed by Shirley Dalton for her Voice America interview series called Reclaim Your Freedom and one of the main topics we talked about was personal branding.
Below is a link to the interview, so you can listen yourself, but if you would like a bit of an overview of the content covered in the interview I have provided some notes.
Consider what the touchpoints are that make up your personal brand, whether that is in person or online.
You need to be memorable – in a positive way.
If you have a quirky name, that helps. If you have a quirky look, that can do it. But maybe it needs to be your elevator pitch or the design or shape of your business card. Perhaps it is that you send a follow up email to anyone new you meet in the line of business.
You should also be a good corporate colleague and refer people. If you refer, without expecting anything in return, it can go a long way to building the right type of personal brand.
Whatever it is, make sure it aligns with your personal brand and fits the brand of your business.
To develop your personal brand you must network!
Often people say they’re scared or nervous or don’t have time. If you want to be a small business owner you have to learn to make the time and find a way to become more comfortable.
Part of networking is also to cultivate a tribe of likeminded people that you catch up with on a regular basis.
The Tall Poppy concept for Australians makes this hard sometimes but it is important to toot your own horn.
You can send press releases about your achievements, either personal or organisational, and be the spokesperson.
You can write expert articles on other blogs – and your own.
You can put your name forward for awards – if you wait for someone else to do it, it will never happen!
So in all the things I have talked about you need to respect your audience, but be authentic.
For example, I do videos for my blog and my workshops and when I watch them back I always cringe about how I pronounce words, or my laugh. But at the end of the day if I spoke each word perfectly I wouldn’t sound like me, I’d be uncomfortable and I wouldn’t be living my own personal brand.
Where I find the line is to avoid swearing or cursing on the videos. I don’t swear like a sailor, but I do tend to let a few words slip sometimes, but out of courtesy to my audience I don’t do it on my videos.
People like to do business with people who are authentic and true to their word.
So if you cultivate an effective personal branding strategy – which ties in with your corporate marketing strategy and underlining brand strategy – you’ll be attracting the right clients.
It’s something I’ve learnt the hard way – not all clients are your ideal client! Particularly in the professional services and service-based industries, you need to ensure that your clients appreciate your approach, your values, your beliefs. All of which should be communicated in your branding.
If they don’t, it’s always going to be an uphill battle for them to appreciate the service you are delivering.
If you have the wrong clients you have to work twice as hard for probably half the appreciation – not a recipe for success!
Time – Many small business owners and staff struggle to find time to undertake strategic personal branding. It feels easy to just address things as they come up, but the fact of the matter is you’re never going to leverage your marketing efforts if you do that.
SOLUTION – Set aside time each day or week or month. Whatever suits you and your business, however make sure you stick to it.
Ignorance – not realising the benefits of a strategic marketing approach, not understanding the benefits of personal branding. You don’t know what you don’t know, so you should find a way to educate yourself about marketing.
SOLUTION – Look for continuous education opportunities. You need to ensure you understand marketing and how you can be strategic about your activities.
Fear– particularly in the personal branding space. You tend to be putting yourself out there a bit more if you engage in a concerted personal branding approach.
SOLUTION – Find a mentor who has a strong personal brand. Then you can speak with someone who has already undertaken the journey you are starting out on.
Take the time to step back and look at your marketing, and as part of that consider your corporate and personal branding.
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