You are doing so well in your career and business life that surely it makes sense to go that extra mile and consider using your profile to move you to the next level of success. “Personal profile” or “personal branding” is a persuasive tool to maximise your impact in business.
Many people overlook the power of their personal profile seeing it as a bit too ‘sales and marketing’ or something famous people do. Others worry it could be shallow and not portray their real skills and qualities. Yet we know that those initial impressions count, that personal recommendations from others are very powerful and being remembered for the right reasons is key to being considered for projects, promotion or providing a service. Forward thinking professionals have already grasped the power of raising their profile.
Creating a positive impact which is memorable to others can be the key to being:
- considered for new projects
- offered promotion
- given opportunities to present ideas, sales pitches or speak at events
- asked to contribute in media coverage
- used as a key part of the business team
- offered new opportunities.
Developing your personal profile
We all have a personal profile; many of us would call it our CV or our experiences or maybe the “what makes us” information. But to use your personal profile in order to gain more exposure, promotion or recognition, you need to be clear about what it is and how you can ensure other people know it as well.
If you find yourself at a network meeting or party unsure how to answer the question “What do you do?” then you need to start thinking about clarifying to yourself who you are and what your personal profile is. Then have a try at the following exercise.
What about a personal brand?
More and more people are developing a personal brand. They use it to market themselves as the ‘go to person’. Their personal brand is often used to quickly and clearly explain what they do and who for. Some examples are:
Sarah Pennells of Savywoman.com she is the ‘go to expert’ on all things money orientated. She is particularly interested in money issues that affect women.
Roger Harrop is best known as The CEO Expert. Known as a speaker and coach who works with Chief Executive Officers he has vast amounts of experience himself and is a well know and liked author.
Of course, you can build your brand so well you don’t need to actually have a tag line, for example, Jamie Oliver is known as a chef, but one who has championed school food and healthy food for kids. Until recently did you know who Mary Portas was? You probably do now with that trademark haircut and colour and her no nonsense approach to the fashion industry and retail.
The clear thing with a personal brand is about keeping to a main area of focus or a particular way of doing things, that way people know what they are going to get when they ask you to do something. For example, I know Mindy as The Book Midwife, she’s great, but I wouldn’t speak to her about money or cooking but if you wanted to write a book I’d tell you about her work.
Not just for the famous
Having a personal brand isn’t about being famous; it’s about making you the business brand rather than the business itself. Many consultants and coaches are now doing this, so instead of hiding behind a company name they use their name as the brand and marketing option.
However you choose to raise your profile and present yourself to others, consistency is key. Similar to corporate or product branding, a consistent message backed up with consistent images and experiences will cement the product or company into the buyer’s mind. Similarly, when we discuss personal profiles, a lack of consistency in messages would confuse others and could turn them off you even more.
Take, for example, my personal brand “The Red Shoe Biz Woman” this came about as I genuinely wore red shoes to work. For me my red shoes are about confidence plus I liked them, personally I felt they added a bit of colour to boring business suits and showed others I had a personality, a character, and that I wasn’t willing to fully comply with corporate life. Over the years I became known as the lady with red shoes and then the red shoe woman. All I had to do was refine it and that was it. But if I turned up to a meeting in yellow shoes then I would confuse the brand image. If I said ‘I don’t even like shoes’ then you would feel my brand was out of sync with me and my beliefs. If you decide to use a brand then you must consider if you will be able to keep to this brand in a consistent manner. For example, if you call yourself “Lucy the go to Lawyer for women in business” if you started writing articles about how you have helped men in business or how you work for big corporates it can send out confusing and contradicting messages.
For me, my personal brand helps to make me instantly recognisable, be it in print, on social media or when we meet face to face. It’s more memorable than my name which isn’t exactly unusual. If I say ‘Hi, my name is Rebecca Jones, I’m a business mentor’ which bit would you remember tomorrow? If you saw an article about me next week would you remember me? Maybe, but maybe not. Now would you remember the red shoes? Probably, as it conjures up an instant image and for many of us a mental image is easier to remember than names and job titles.
What can you do today to help develop your personal brand?