Why you need to build a personal brand & benefit you and your personal brand

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Why you need to build a personal brand & benefit you and your personal brand

  1. 1. Personal Branding Ref: 0051 Why you need to build a Personal Brand to benefit you and your organisationIf you’re reading this, then you’re probably the kind of person who already knows thatprofessional resumes have transcended the boundaries of a sheet of paper. They’vetranscended beyond our LinkedIn profiles and seeped into everything that we do…because much of what we do (and what happens in the world) is online.Information about you is online whether you put it there yourself or not. There are Pipl andSpokeo profiles that can give the heebie-jeebies even to people who are quite certain thatthey do not exist in an online space… and those are just online white pages. Combine thatwith industry news, social media profiles, and public records… and someone can find out agood amount about you and your interests. Think you can benefit by NOT being online? Thatmay indicate that you have not done anything worthy of recognition within your industry- andthat’s not usually a positive perception either. You very likely exist online and thereforealready have an online reputation (a lack of an online presence says something, too).You can let that reputation go unchecked or you can manage it. Many people arguethat you should manage it- and for very good reasons.Because during this particular time of social media evolution and frequent Facebookchange-ups, your organisation needs you to have a personal brand.An online reputation is often called a personal brand. For many people – especiallyprofessionals who do not work in marketing– the idea of having a personal “brand” feelssomehow insincere or contrived. It’s not. In fact, the best personal brands are authentic andtransparent. Personal branding means knowing what people are saying about you, beingdiligent and conscientious, and helping to paint an accurate picture online.And (contrary to a possible knee-jerkmisconception associated with the word“brand”), personal brands aren’t always self-serving. In fact, when it comes toprofessionals, including the non-profitsector, developing and maintaining astrong, personal brand can be anincredible asset for your organisation.Professionals with strong personalbrands carry their social missions intotheir online identities and can beincredible assets for telling the kinds ofstories that spawn change. Page 1 of 3 For further information on this handout and the consulting and coaching programs available please contact: Image Group International Asia Pacific Head Office T: (+61 3) 9824 0420 www.imagegroup.com.au E: info@imagegroup.com.au ©2012
  2. 2. Thanks in large part to the rise of social media, the traditionally-stark line between peoples’“personal” and “professional” lives has become blurry online. An overview of someprofessionals who are successful in not only representing their organisations in an onlinespace, but in moving those organisations forward in online engagement through their ownpersonal brands. Though we always represent the organisations for which we work, someorganisation professionals go beyond merely “spreading the word” about their cause byactively blogging, tweeting, and engaging audiences online to strengthen both their own andtheir organisation’s brand. There are a lot of great resources out there to help you establish apersonal brand. But why do it?Here are four, important ways that personal branding and becoming engaged onlinehelps strengthen your organisation in the long run:1. Personal branding increases your organisation’s reputation, a key discretionarymotivator for visitors. A good way to increase an organisation’s positive reputation is toalign it with someone who already has a positive reputation. The brands strengthen and lendcredibility to one another. If a person working for an organisation is perceived to have talent,then the organisation is perceived to have talent. A goal of personal branding is to manageyour online reputation and paint yourself (ergo, your organization) in the best light possible.Brand management is reputation management and visibly increases the organisation’sfinancial bottom line.2. Personal branding allows the organisation to reach more targeted audiences withincreased credibility. All organisations have these specified audiences and it is up to theorganisation to know who these people are, where to find them, and what these people liketo do so that they can be most effectively engaged. Effective, broader marketing strategiestarget these current and perspective clients. However, maintaining a personal brandalongside the organisation allows you to engage other audiences or more closely target asubset of your high propensity client. This may be an audience of industry professionals (ifyou’re the CEO), an audience of mummy blogging friends (if you’re a mummy-blogging PRrep), or an audience of Gen Y socialites (if you’re the well-connected intern)… You get thepicture. In other words, building a personal brand allows you to connect more personalfriend-circles with the things that excite you about your profession. In this way, professionalsare important evangelists for the causes for which they work. Word of mouth marketing ispowerful, and positive messages to the inner-circles in which professionals are personallyinvolved allows the organisation to reach a targeted group with more built-in credibility.3. Personal branding increases opportunities for transparency and provides analternate avenue for engaging storytelling. Just look at how some top CEOs are usingTwitter; they do it with their own style and authenticity… and that’s why it works. They lend atone and message to their organisation. This can be an especially terrific asset if yourorganisation has a more formal, less-personal informational Twitter account. Tweeting aboutyour day-to-day life shows audiences online that the organisation’s leader is a living,breathing, relatable human being with hopes, dreams, desires, a sense of humour, andsometimes-terrible spelling skills, however remember, avoid anything that will potentiallydamage your personal brand. A professional with an online presence can also be an avenuefor telling engaging, personal stories. Putting a face, or a storyteller, to a story can make abig difference. A quick favour to branded professionals who engage on their organisation’sFacebook wall: disclose your relationship with the organisation in your comment, or it lookslike you are playing us as fools. Love always, the online community who will chalk up“untrustworthy” points for organisations that try to play us (whether they mean to or not). Page 2 of 3 For further information on this handout and the consulting and coaching programs available please contact: Image Group International Asia Pacific Head Office T: (+61 3) 9824 0420 www.imagegroup.com.au E: info@imagegroup.com.au ©2012
  3. 3. 4. Personal branding can inspire earned media. Twitter users are three times more likelythan other social media platform users to be critics (think Yelp reviewers) or creators (thinkmommy bloggers). From that perspective alone, personal branding with relation to yourorganisation has a huge benefit: instead of one, faceless account Tweeting for a cause,online advocates can tweet from their personal accounts, increasing opportunities for earnedmedia. This is strongly connected to reaching new audiences and increasing reputation.Earned media often functions like word of mouth marketing— it is media for which theorganisation did not have a monetary transaction. It is often organic and timely.Having advocates online, whether they work for the organisation, creates opportunities forsecuring earned media. Branded professionals can be seen as go-tos; THE thought leadersfor information on industry information. This happens organically and it can be heaven for theorganisation if online employees are advocates of the mission… but it can backfire real fastwith staff members who may be online and are unaware of the important role that they playin word of mouth marketing for the organisation. (A solution here? a social media policy).In sum, earned media is an important aim for online engagement, and developing a personalbrand can help your organisation increase the likelihood of spreading word of its mission andinspiring this kind of media.What can professionals do to get started on a personal brand? There are a lot of terrificresources out there. This isn’t even the tip of the iceberg, but it sure is a good place to start:  Use social media to build your personal brand  Get to blogging (there’s some tough love, there) You can get started on free platforms like Wordpress, Blogger or Tumblr  Use LinkedIn  Hop on Facebook (just in case you aren’t there already…)  Link all of these accounts together so that you are accessible on all platforms and easy to find  Comment on blogs and forums within your community and answer questions  Build your “community”  Make sure your brand is genuine  Start public speaking; if you are nervous hire a coach to help you through  Work with your personal brand image coach to grow and leverage your personal brand online Page 3 of 3 For further information on this handout and the consulting and coaching programs available please contact: Image Group International Asia Pacific Head Office T: (+61 3) 9824 0420 www.imagegroup.com.au E: info@imagegroup.com.au ©2012

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