Personal Brand Management
In our increasingly competitive and image conscious world, it is now more important than ever to recognise the potential and proactively build your own PERSONAL BRAND.
We all know the importance of Brands and how our perception of them (good or bad) impacts on our decision to engage / purchase. Coke, Nike and Apple etc spend many millions consciously building their brand, and communicating their brand values, so you will ultimately trust their reputation and buy from them. In many ways, your own personal brand is no different, and if you are in business you need to be aware of your own brand, define it, own it and then manage and project it to who you want to influence.
Firstly you must decide what is your own 'Personal Brand"?
Define it and OWN it
What is your story, your own brand values and where do you position yourself in the market?
Remember, for your personal brand to grow and be long term successful, it must be real. It is easy to create an online persona, but translating this into the real world, so that you are the same on and off line, so that your are "authentic", is your key to success.
Tips on building your Personal Brand
Once a upon a time . . . your 'personal brand' would have been your business card with your name, contact details and maybe a logo.
Today you have many accessible and affordable platforms to build your brand.
The platforms you can control with your own content include:-
* Your own website - using your own name
* Social Media - again using your own name
* Business Card!
Other platforms to build your personal brand include (but over which you have less control)
* Establishing yourself as an Expert Voice / Thought Leader by writing articles on your area of expertise,
* Becoming a trusted media source to comment on issues inside your industry
* Networking and speaking at conferences / industry events.
For credibility you must be Consistent
Distill your personal brand values and keep it simple and consistent
Manage your Personal Brand Persona
Always look the part - 'Dress for Success',
consider the following:
Personal Style versus Industry Code
Different professions have different dress codes. However, unless you wear a uniform, whether you are a solicitor, accountant, office manager or hotel receptionist, there are certain basic rules that can powerfully visually communicate to your colleagues, clients, competitors and the community, that you take both yourself and your job seriously.
I hope this is obvious
Invest in your look
Be willing to invest in your workwear wardrobe. Too often I see people spends hundreds of Euro on occasion wear (which may be worn only once) and buy poorly made separates for the office. So regardless of trends, a well tailored dark coloured suit, selection of shirts, tops and knitwear and quality classically styled footwear are all essentials for both genders.
Then depending on your profession and your own personal style - you can shake it up a little with accessories (think colourful scarves, velvet or tweed waistcoats, patterned ties, cravats or bow-ties, cuff links, jewellery, funky socks etc). As many jobs also require a day to night element, for women it is also worth investing in a well made black dress which can be worn with a jacket during the day and ‘dressed up’ with jewellery and heels for after work events / dinners. For men, if wearing a formal suit, ditch the tie and change into a crisp white shirt.
As challenging as it can be to dress up for work, it can be equally challenging to hit the right note for ‘Casual Fridays’. Again think tailoring and where possible opt for natural fabrics, neutrals and block colours that enhance your complexion.
Manage your public image
TOP TIP : Commission a professional photograph
You know what they say - a photograph is worth a thousand words. So manage your image - and commission a professional photograph of yourself, and then use this photograph as your Social Media profile image, on your website and supply (if required) to media etc. This image will then be picked up by search engines when people google you.
Don't use a photograph taken on your phone or 'cut-out' of another shot. Depending on your profession, this photograph doesn't have to be a formal H&S shot. For example - if you are in the food industry - photograph yourself in a kitchen or garden; or if in fashion - with mannequins or clothes. For this article, I choose an image of me and my dog Jessica - professionally photographed, styled, lit and re-touched, it says I am a professional - but as I work in PR & events - its intention is to engage.
Of course, in many ways, the easy part is managing your own image, social media and website - you control the content and the imagery. However, when you appear at a public event - the image you have so carefully curated online must translate into the real world.
So be your personal brand,
dress for the part and then follow some of the simple tips below to ensure you photograph well at public events as you won't get to edit, retouch and decide which images appear online or in print.
Also, remember, that photographs / videos from events are now shared online both on social media and news sites and have a long life span. To ensure they communicate the message you want about your brand, it is worth planning in advance.
So, when representing yourself, your brand and business at an event (such as a launch, conference etc) where you will be photographed / filmed - consider the following:
Do you want to stand out in the photographs? If so, wear a strong block colour (women can wear red, purple or green - not yellow) and men look great in a strong sapphire or navy blue. Avoid stripes, loose draping and complicated patterns. Also avoid too much fake tan as your face will photograph a different colour to your body.
Do you want to ‘blend in’ and be part of the team ? Then opt for neutral colours such as blacks, dark blues and greys.
Everyone can look good in photographs - it just takes practice.
In summary - whoever you are - and whatever you do . . . Personal Brand Management is important for everyone, at every level in business and particularly relevant for entrepreneurs, business leaders, politicians, artists and performers. Neglect it at your cost !