As a marketing concept, personal branding has been a concept that was slow to gain traction in many corporate fields. Amongst our entrepreneurial clients and those who manage micro-companies, personal branding is a vitally important way for them to differentiate themselves from other entrepreneurs and business owners. Businesses that potentially do, or offer a similar product or service.

Advances in technology – particularly in communication and the shift away from individuals working ‘one job’ for long periods of their life has created a working atmosphere where many are now seeking to redefine their working lives and build a business around themselves and their interests. This, combined with at least two serious global economic downturns, has meant that career-minded professionals, not just entrepreneurs have started taking notice of the potential for personal branding to serve as a career management and improvement strategy.

Seek to add value to those around you and those consuming your content.

There continues to be a great deal of confusion about what effective personal branding actually is, and the first pitfall that many fall into is the interpretation of personal branding as social media ‘noise’. The concept of being visible, known and followed for the sake of it is not personal branding. Personal branding is based on being authentic – telling your story in the best possible light, but being real at the same time. In the case of an employee or team player, it’s about clarifying and expressing the value the employee can deliver to their team and employer. In terms of entrepreneurs and business owners, it’s about extolling the virtues of the business, team or offering in such a way as to differentiate it from the competition.

Do you need a personal brand?

Understanding that no matter what field you work in, coworkers, employees, and customers are going to check you out online. Having an excellent personal brand means that people can find you easily and get the information about you (that you can manage) before they meet you or do business with you. Ask yourself if you have your own personal website, with a blog where you voice your thoughts and tell your story. Have you joined the relevant social networks where your clients hang out? Are you publishing content and your own take on relevant industry news? If not then how can you hope to elevate yourself into a position of thought leader within your industry?

Have authenticity at the core of everything you publish

Let’s face it, people don’t connect with companies; they connect with the people behind the companies. Your potential customers want to know your values before they commit to becoming actual customers or partners. Being human, being authentic and having a personal brand that portrays your core values for the world to see will help you make lasting connections with customers and clients and keep them coming back again and again. Earning you more revenue in the process.

Being engaged

At all times, when considering personal branding, avoid working on autopilot and make sure you’re not just broadcasting. Taking part in a two-way conversation with your clients or customers gives them the feeling that you actually care about them. By looking for opportunities to be helpful and engage you will elevate yourself from a faceless company to trusted ‘thought leader’. Always remember that people want to buy from people, they want that connection. Give them that connection and you will reap the benefits.