Guest Post by Erica Davis
One sunny morning in London a few years ago, a colleague and I found ourselves discussing the common traits of people that had managed to rise to the top in the companies we had worked for in industries like banking, finance, media and copywriting.
What was the common thread that seemed to link them all? Was it hard work? Incredible intelligence? In some cases, yes. But beyond that, it was those people that had consciously built amazing personal brands. They had created value in themselves above and beyond their roles in the company to become sought-after, reliable and interesting people.
So what is all this brand business anyway? What do we mean by it?
It’s your reputation. It’s about bringing who you are to what you do and how you do it. It’s about making your mark by being yourself – your best self.
Think of your personal brand as your calling card – your unique promise of value that no one else can offer. It’s what you’re known for and how people experience you.
Here are our top five tips on creating an awesome brand that’s authentically you.
1. Define who you are and accept who you are not
Start by defining your ‘why’ – what is your unique message that you cannot resist telling everyone? Once you know your values, your message and why they are so important to you, you can pursue this with passion.
You won’t please everyone – in fact it’s good to polarise people to some degree and have an opinion. It’s interesting to be someone that creates debate, discussion and controversial views.
2. Get perfect in public
The number one mistake we see people making when it comes to personal branding is waiting for their timing, circumstances, content or ideas to be ‘right’ before they can start that project they’ve been wanting to tackle at work, get that profile set up online, or write that article.
In the words of Tim Ferris, ‘The stars will never align and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it doesn’t go out of its way to line up the pins either.’
Start from an authentic place, and you can correct your course along the way. You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to start.
3. Choose your communication channels and commit to them
There are so many ways to get your message out there these days, with more popping up every day. Whether it’s a weekly blog, using LinkedIn, or creating a speaker series for a group of colleagues, building your brand does take commitment.
Choose one or two ways you’re going to commit to get your message out to the world and make sure you inject energy into them regularly. There’s nothing worse than a Twitter profile that hasn’t been updated in months or a ‘monthly’ article that doesn’t get delivered.
4. Make it a priority to build your tribe
One certainly is the loneliest number. You can have all the social media profiles you want but if no one is listening to or following what you have to say, it’s really all for nothing.
Actively seek out like-minded people, groups and publications that can help you spread your message. The more you seek this out, the more energised you will become with your passion! Opportunities, teams and people you want to be involved with will start to emerge. Your brand will evolve over time but only if you grow your tribe both online and in person.
5. Collaborate, don’t compete
You need help to grow your tribe and your personal brand. It’s important you don’t see people or groups that are doing something similar as competition. They may be doing similar things, but no one will be able to do it in exactly the same way as you. See these value-aligned people as a resource for new ideas, introductions and inspiration. Be generous with them and expect they will be the same with you.
Want to build your own personal brand but don’t know where to start? Join AIM’s Personal Branding Masterclass in Melbourne on Friday 30 May, presented by Erica Davis and Fiona Triaca from Naked Ambition.
Fiona Triaca and Erica Davis have almost 20 years of corporate experience between them, in industries including finance, stockbroking, sales, media and copywriting. Their company, Naked Ambition, is dedicated to accelerating the career development of young professional women, setting them up for long-term success.