Building a Personal Brand

When we think of building a brand, we immediately think of a corporate brand. But today, branding is becoming just as important on a personal level.  In fact, it’s now common to see key thought leaders with more brand equity than their organizations.

A strong personal brand is dependent on a strong narrative. In other words, what’s your story? What do you want people to associate with you when they see your name? Once you understand how you wish your brand to be perceived, you can start to be much more strategic about building your personal brand. Because whether you have intentionally created your brand or not, the proliferation of social media means that every tweet you send, every comment you make, and every picture you share are all contributing to the development of your brand.

Building an executive speaking program presents the perfect opportunity to begin to develop a personal brand.  Start by identifying the topic areas you are most interested in. Think not only about the hot trends in the market but the insight you can bring on where the industry might be headed next. Make some bold predictions and foster your own unique points of view that might even contradict popular opinion.

Be heard and be seen

After setting the groundwork and identifying key topic areas and unique messaging points, there are a few easy and impactful ways to begin truly building a personal brand:

  1. Instead of just listing previous job experiences, re-work your executive bio to clearly articulate a specific area of expertise. It is key to include links to pertinent articles you may have authored or been quoted in as well as links to videos of previous speaking engagements.
  2. Update your LinkedIn profile to mirror your bio and highlight the key areas you want to be associated with. Post any articles you have written to your LinkedIn account.
  3. Leverage social media and start engaging more regularly via your Twitter account. Start following some key thought leaders and engage in some Twitter dialogue. Be purposeful in what you share and communicate to ensure it supports your personal brand message.
  4. Seek out speaking opportunities at conferences focused on your topic areas. Speaking enables you to demonstrate your expertise and strengthen your personal brand before a targeted audience.
  5. Follow key journalists that cover the subject matter you want to be known for. Strive to be quoted in articles to bolster your reputation as an expert in these key areas.
  6. Join industry associations related to your areas of focus. These associations provide opportunities to network with other thought leaders and keep up to speed with the latest industry trends.

Your personal brand is not something you just set and forget.  By re-assessing it on a regular basis you can ensure your brand stays relevant and on the cutting edge of the industry conversation. With a deliberate approach of consistent messages, you will be able to set yourself apart as an industry thought leader.