Regardless of whether your business provides a service or sells widgets, people buy people. We can’t name many world renowned businesses that don’t have recognised and respected leaders. In today’s world having a great business isn’t enough, it needs a great profile, and part of that is about having well profiled leaders.
Ultimately, if you and your business have a strong and positive personality, it and you will be far more likely to succeed.
It is now expected for CEOs and business owners to take the reins of their company’s communications and the days of the faceless business are long gone. We are in an age where business is about personality and networking, its imperative business leader’s step into the spotlight and define their own brand. Take Trump’s recent ascent to power. Love him or loathe him – he has effectively achieved remarkable success through building and maintaining a frankly incredible personal brand.
A strong personal brand can really give you the edge in a competitive pitch, and enhance your company’s reputation in the market. For those leaders or entrepreneurs that are looking for a new challenge, it can open many doors and help find your next business venture. No matter where you are in your career journey, having a good personal brand can only have a positive impact. Just think where Richard Branson or Richard Reed would be without their personal profiles. Telling their business stories and sharing their wisdom has enriched their lives professionally and personally and those of many others as a result of their personal brand.
A challenge many face when developing their personal brand is creating a balance between showcasing their talent and being overtly self-promotional. This is the single biggest concern business leaders voice when embarking on a personal branding strategy. They know it is essential but worry about coming across as ego centric or boastful by talking about their achievements; this is a uniquely British concern. Quite simply, they need to let this go and realise that it is ok to be proud of what they have achieved and focus on being authentic. Talk only about topics where you have experience to back up your proposition. You’ve got to have the credentials to prove your knowledge, and that’s something worth investing in.
There are a number of stages in the journey for you to consider in order to gain momentum. Once you’ve got this part sorted, the opportunities will come to you, whether that’s through the form of new business enquiries, or taking the next stage of your entrepreneurial journey and finding a new challenge.
Here are the key considerations and actions you need to address in order to successfully build your personal brand:
- Set your objectives
Preparation is essential, so the first thing you need to consider are your objectives for developing a personal profile. Is it to be more credible in business, is it to enhance sales, is it to find new opportunities and connections, or perhaps to become a recognised expert in a particular field? Whatever the objective, keep it front of mind and ensure any efforts you make have this end goal in sight.
- Preparation is everything
You need to ensure that you sound the part. Establish what your expert topics are going to be, rehearse and prepare a clear point of view and set of expertise based credentials that make you a valid commentator on these key areas. It is well worth investing in media training so you can rehearse being interviewed on these topics by a real journalist. You can also work in what your key messages are and how to embed these into your interviews.
- Look the part
A picture speaks a thousand words. So invest in professional and up to date photography that stands out and even showcases your products.
- Be Searchable
Today’s first impression is a google search, the most critical test. Type your name and company into google and take a look at what you find, or more often, don’t find. You need to ensure you have a personal website that portrays you the way you need to, or at the very least a highly up to date and all-star populated LinkedIn page which scores very highly on Google search so cannot be overlooked.
- Secure media endorsements
You need to not only be looking credible yourself through your website and LinkedIn but you also need to ensure others are saying good things about you. The most valuable recognition here is media articles and profiles about you. Google loves these and so do people. These are articles that can’t be bought and create the ultimate third party endorsement of you. Think national newspaper interviews, business profiles, trade press comments and beyond.
- Be a thought leader through traditional and social media
People with great personal brands are always experts. Utilise opinion columns in magazines and websites as well as your own blog and social media to get your expertise out there. Raise issues, share knowledge and write articles and blogs that talk about it and provide solutions that people can be inspired into action by or learn from.
- Maintain momentum
Points 5 and 6 will lose all their value if you just do them for a couple of months and stop. We’d recommend an intense flurry of activity to really improve your recognition in the first three months of your personal brand building strategy but then you must maintain your activity, albeit at a lower level. Try to ensure that you participate in social media at least weekly, create new thought leadership articles and media coverage at least monthly.
Personal branding is about making you the best you can be. It’s about cultivating your skills as an ambitious individual so you can go above and beyond what you’re already doing personally and professionally. Not only will this enhance your personal career journey, it will also feed into your wider business strategy and open up new doors. Now which business leader wouldn’t want to do that?
Limelight provides a highly valued service called The Brand You which is designed to give CEOs and entrepreneurs the recognition they deserve through a tailored personal branding strategy. To find out more, contact us on email@example.com and quote reference SPOTLIGHTDEC16