I recently had the pleasure of working with the sales and marketing teams from a well-known spice brand. As they have to present their product regularly to buyers from the top 5 supermarkets my fellow trainer and I were helping them make more impactful presentations. A section of the workshop (and I think an integral part of the day) was to discuss the importance of them each having a personal brand.

But why when they are employees? Part of a large world-renowned brand, a cog in the machine. Surely, a personal brand is for business owners, individuals?

Not at all. A personal brand is how you show up with clients, colleagues, in fact in any and all relationships. How do you want to be seen? How do your you want to make others feel? What’s the impression you leave on those you are dealing with?

Career expert and international speaker, Rachel Montanez, explains in her Harvard Business Review article,

“While actively building your personal brand may seem like a selfish endeavour, it’s far from it. It’s an empowering choice. Doing so can give you control over your professional development, network, career, and overall well-being. It can even make you more visible — and therefore, more satisfied — in your current job.”

 Founder of Marketing Monks and the Collab Project, Mario Trotta goes even further suggesting quite forcibly,

“Never, never, never use the free generic content that your company gives you [. . .] You need to create your own identity and build such a powerful brand that it doesn’t matter what company you work for because people are choosing YOU!”

The crux of personal branding for me is showing up wherever you show up, however you show up, as consistently and authentically as you can, no matter what your business, employment, or personal status.

As long as you show up as the same person whether online or in real life, you’ll create a personal brand that’s aligned with your values and is congruent with your personality.

Don’t try to be somebody you think you should be or use language that isn’t yours. You’ll be certain to get caught out. Plus, you’ll feel awkward and icky. Your inner imposter will go into overdrive, and it’ll show all over your face and in your voice.

You have to be self-aware and honest with yourself.

You have to be open and transparent in your dealings with your audience. They need to know who you are whether you’re on video or in the room.

I have a client who considers Joe Wicks exemplary of this. After seeing him on stage at a live event she noted how he was just the same as he was on TV and YouTube.

No matter where he shows up, Joe’s being Joe.

However much of your personal story you choose to share make sure it’s you.

When you are being your authentic self, you’re comfortable in your skin. If you’re comfortable in your skin people will feel comfortable with you and you begin to build trust.

Employment Solicitor, Amy Cousineau Massey says it’s up to you to decide how much of your personal stuff you want to share. You draw the line.

For a member of the legal profession, Amy can be incredibly candid in her posts, but she’s comfortable enough to know that those who don’t like her openness won’t engage and she’s ok with that. She is secure in her personal brand.

If you want to share your story warts and all that’s up to you.

Decide how you will show up for your audience and be consistent. Once you are seen consistently, in the same place and in the same way, your audience will expect you, get to know you and connect with your message. After all, you are doing what you do (posting and showing up) for them – not you.

Take a risk and put yourself out there.

But how and where do you start?

By starting!

That sounds flippant, I know but whatever the definition of a personal brand is unless you show up somewhere doing something you’ll never have one. Start small, take baby steps.

Choose an approach and platform that you enjoy and are comfortable with. Know your first attempts will be cringe worthy.

We’ve all been there. My early posts were awful, and I have 100’s of videos on my camera roll that will never see the light of day, but I’ve kept going. I still have cringe worthy moments, but I give myself a break and let my perfectionism go. I’ve learnt that done is better than perfect and the more I do the better I get.

Self-awareness and self-confidence are at the core of what makes a great speaker.

They are also at the core of what makes a great personal brand.

As if to illustrate my point Content Strategist and Personal Branding Coach, Christine Gritmon when part of a panel discussion used the quote by Maya Angelou I often use when working with clients,

“[ …] people will forget what you said, people will forget that you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

I use it in the context of sharing stories as a way to connect and engage with an audience and it’s the same for your personal brand.

You want your audience to connect with you on an emotional level. You want them to feel something towards you, and what you offer. This is why it helps to share your story. It develops your brand and increases your visibility. Don’t be self-indulgent with it though. Make sure your story impacts your audience in the right way otherwise the feeling they feel towards you may be pity – or worse!

 “You don’t have to do and be everything. Be true to you. That’s the highest form of self-care and the most sustainable way to build your personal brand.”  Rachel Montanez…


Category: Blog