Women In Business

Identifying your personal brand

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Finding success as an individual is a lot like finding success as a business. If nobody understands who you are and what you bring to the table, they won’t show any interest in your offering. An authentic personal brand is most effective when it conveys who you genuinely are, not who you think others want you to be. Identifying your unique personal qualities that are valuable on a professional level is step one.

1. What do you have to offer?

‘Branding’ yourself can feel awkward (as an introvert, I get it) but it doesn’t have to be. To avoid discomfort I like to approach the process analytically. Ask a handful of family, friends, and colleagues to list your personal qualities. It’s ok that they’ll be positive (and let’s hope they are) because your personal brand will feature some of your best qualities. Take each of their lists and circle any qualities that appear on more than one list. Collate these common denominators on a shortlist to give yourself a clear understanding of how you’re perceived both personally and professionally.

The next step is to cross-check this list against the traits that your customer, client, employer values the most (we’ll identify these in step two). Perhaps your client values timeliness and your shortlist highlights organisational skills. Perhaps your customer loves that your products are wildly creative, and your shortlist highlights a quirky personality. These qualities that your family, friends, and colleagues have identified form the basis of your personal brand. Your personal brand is then applied across your business communication. Let’s check back in with our examples: you might market your organisational skills to attract clients who value timeliness, or your quirky personality could grace Facebook Live to attract clients who value a high level of creativity.

2. Aligning your personal brand with your target market

Step two is all about understanding what your target market values about you professionally so that you can select which of your unique qualities to share with them. If you’re not keen on paying for professional market research, here are the steps to doing your own on a smaller scale. First, let’s hop into the shoes of your target market. If your target market were a person, what shoes would they wear? Sensible, plain, economical shoes? Loud, bright, and custom made? Chic, expensive, and imported? You can see that we’re already building a picture of what your target market values. Continue building this picture by adding clothing, hobbies, daily rituals, pain points, and aspirations. Once you’ve completely personified your target market it’s time to revisit step one and align your unique qualities with what your target market values to form a personal brand that speaks to directly to it.

3. Let’s talk ‘authenticity’

Eventually your employer, customer, client will meet you in person, on the phone, or over video call. If you don’t match your personal brand in person, you can bet they’ll be questioning everything else you’ve advised them on. Fortunately, you’ve already protected yourself against appearing deceitful by having your family, friends, and colleagues write independent lists of qualities in the first place.

Embrace what you have to offer professionally and communicate that clearly and confidently. You may be a great listener who makes people feel heard and understood in meetings. You may be a rapid-fire communicator who can sell anyone anything. Whatever you bring to the table, align it with your target market’s needs and tell them about it. Regularly.

By now you’ll have three steps to identifying your personal brand. This personal brand is the lens through which you should view everything you do professionally, from answering the phone to signing off emails, to how you approach your work. Returning to our examples, if your personal brand includes a quirky personality that responds to a target market that values a high level of creativity, answer that phone with enthusiasm, have a fun email sign off, and tackle your day to day tasks with outside the box thinking. And check out my article on speaking to your target audience if you want to make sure your Linkedin profile reflects your brand properly.

About Kylie Williams

Kylie Williams has a marketing agency background and divides her time between being a self-employed international Communications & Marketing Consultant and the entrepreneur behind the gift registry start up GVLOV

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