Personal branding is a popular topic, yet few seem to understand what it is or the benefits it offers. At the recent TSNN Awards in Louisville, Kentucky, personal and business branding expert Carrie Lannon shared her insights to help individuals and businesses determine their optimal brand identity to attract the opportunities that they desire.
“I find that clients are often so close to their own work that they need an outside perspective to determine if their branding, which includes messaging and image, are working to their best advantage,” says Carrie. “This is especially true of any person or business that wants to change. A transformation in branding can be the fastest way to convey that something exciting is underway.”
Below is the outline of her presentation at the event that Carrie has generously shared with us. A downloadable pdf is available here and you can catch our podcast interview with Carrie here. If you are interested in talking to Carrie, you can reach her at www.carrielannon.com.
PERSONAL BRANDING FOR TRANSFORMATION
Presented by Carrie Lannon
Personal branding is the process of creating a unique name and image for an individual in the public domain. It includes Authenticity, Activation and Alignment.
The internet and the digital world have made personal branding important because our lives are now searchable and transparent.
How you think about yourself impacts how others think about you.
The goal is to communicate your best qualities for a specific role so that you:
· Represent who you are and authentically and easily
· Grow your network and opportunities
· Advance your reputation
· Attract people you are interested in and who are like-minded
CREATING YOUR PERSONAL BRAND STATEMENT
Step 1: Determine your motivation in creating a personal brand – what is your why? Why would you take the time to create and adhere to a personal brand? What are the benefits, the payoff that you are seeking?
Step 2: Determine the role that you want to create a personal brand for, such as team leader, sales manager, CEO, etc.
Step 3: Choose 4 attributes (adjectives that describe you) that represent who you are and what you offer. It may be easier to select eight attributes to start and narrow down from there. You might benefit from including an attribute that you are aiming for but have not yet achieved – one that you believe would support your “why.”
Step 4: Your four attributes + your role = your personal brand statement
Personal Brand Statement Example
Why: I want to gain the level of respect and credibility that will lead to increased sales.
Role: sales director
Attributes: determined, bold, confident and creative
Personal Brand Statement: I am a determined, bold, confident and creative sales director.
ACTIVATING YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
You activate your personal brand by aligning 1) your communications 2) marketing materials 3) digital presence and 4) personal presence.
You communicate your brand through your communication style.
Verbal communications include your choice of 1) language 2) tone of voice, which includes pace and pausing.
Remember that written communications can be permanent and circulated to a wide audience. Take care to align with your personal brand when you write to anyone.
Meaningful socializing (also called networking!)
View social situations as opportunities to express your personal brand. Make connecting your goal, not just finding people who can help you. Connect with everyone – you never know who knows who.
Have an elevator speech ready for social situations. Do NOT just say I am so-and-so and I work at so-and-so. Be original! One formula that you can use is: I (what you do) so that (benefit). I am (what + where).
Elevator Speech Example
I create environments so that people feel comfortable as they transition to a new lifestyle. I am an interior designer at Smith Interior Designs.
Marketing materials include your business cards and other promotional materials that represent you. It can include a mark/symbol/logo that represents you or your business. These materials are your visual identity. ALWAYS have a business card, even if you are between jobs.
90% of first impressions now happen online. Be VERY AWARE of how you are represented digitally, by yourself and others. Your digital presence should do at least one or more of these: 1) inform 2) entertain 3) educate or 4) engage.
Part of digital presence is your head shot. Be sure it represents you as a professional authority. Consider if someone saw a photo of you or met you, would you match your Personal Brand Statement?
Some people may benefit from a simple website. You can create one inexpensively with templated websites such as Squarespace or Weebly.
Social media is part of digital presence. The primary social media channels are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
Learn how each social media platform functions and keep your brand in mind in all posts, tweets, etc. Understand the best practices for each. For example, Twitter requires many more posts per day than Facebook. Instagram requires strong visual content, etc.
Don’t engage in a social media platform if you cannot maintain it with great content and the frequency expected. Consider any post or tweet as PERMANENT. They don’t go away; they can be shared and/or searched.
Personal presence includes 1) what you wear and how it fits 2) your grooming, such as hair, nails, spotlessly clean clothes and 3) body language.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR PERSONAL BRAND IS WORKING FOR YOU?
- You attract people that you are interested in, admire or respect
- You attract new opportunities
- You stand out in a crowd as uniquely YOU
- People understand who you are quickly and easily, and your reputation grows