How do you improve your personal brand?
That’s a loaded question. Firstly, you need to understand what personal branding is and secondly, you need to know the current status of your personal brand.
In this blog post I’m going to answer the main question, explain the concept in an easy to understand way, and finally provide you with some quick tips to help you discover the status of your personal brand, before sharing some ways to help you drastically improve your personal brand in little to no time at all.
What is a Personal Brand?
Many people make the mistake of thinking that a Personal Brand is about the number of followers you have on your Instagram profile and other social media platforms. While that is a TINY part of it, by no means is that a true reflection of what a well thought out, enduring Personal Brand is.
Your Personal Brand is the essence, the life source and the MEANING behind the business, and this meaning is ultimately your brand’s most precious and irreplaceable asset.
Your products and services can be copied from their features to their benefits, but the uniqueness of the meaning behind them are as individual as your thumbprint.
Your personal brand connects to your audience’s intuition, emotions and values so they feel compelled to explore your products and services rather than having to be sold to. Their connection with YOU builds their loyalty to your brand.
When you consciously develop your Personal Brand you become memorable and unique in the hearts and minds of the people you’re meant to serve.
How to determine the current status of your personal brand?
There are a couple of ways you can determine the current status of your personal brand and both require doing an audit. It’s time to explore your personal brand!
The first type of audit is an internal, the second type is an external audit.
Internal Personal Brand Audit
When you do your internal personal brand audit you’re looking under the hood of your own brand. First you want to pay attention to the elements that are unseen by your clients and your audience.
This is your Internal Brand.
Your internal brand can relate to your personal purpose, vision, mission, values and all the heart and soul stuff behind your business.
If you’ve got these clearly defined and saved somewhere easily accessible, then chances are your personal brand has a strong footing.
If you can’t clearly articulate any of these elements, then chances are your personal brand’s status is not as strong as it could be.
Next you want to look at the more visual aspects of your brand including the themes and categories of topics that you regularly create content around.
Whether it’s your messaging or your media like graphics, photos and videos, consider whether there’s consistency throughout. If your topics are all over the place from cooking to bookkeeping to adventure racing to water-colouring to trading on the stock market and if you’re using different colours, fonts and styles of imagery with every social media or blog post, then your personal brand is probably not doing as well as you’d like. It’s GREAT to inject variety into your brand, but it must be intentional and there must be a golden thread that ties it all together.
Because personal branding is so intricately connected to who you are as a person, building trust through consistency in what you create and share is paramount to building your relationship and your reputation with your audience.
External Personal Brand Audit
The external personal brand audit is the second way for you to uncover the current status of your personal brand and this involves – you guessed it – asking other people!!
The first group of people you want to ask is your current client list. Send them a personalised email or pick up the phone and talk to them, or offer to buy them a coffee.
- Ask them to describe you and the work you do.
- Ask them what made them choose to work with you and what’s been the most unexpected outcome of working with you.
The second group of people you want to ask is your wider network – whether by email, direct messaging or through your social media channels.
- Ask your audience to describe you and your brand in 3 words.
Depending on who answers, you should get a wide range of input that will give you a good idea of your personal brand’s current standing.
If you’d like my 2 cents on the status of your current personal brand, book a free discovery call today…
How to improve your personal brand – the easy way!
So now that you know the current status of your personal brand, you can begin to get on with improving it.
1. Take it one step at a time.
Up front, I want to put your mind at ease that changing, elevating, up-levelling or improving your personal brand is a process that takes time, it doesn’t happen overnight. That all-important consistency we mentioned earlier takes time to execute and build trust. So my first piece of advice to improve your personal brand is to take it one step at a time. If you place too much pressure on yourself to change ALL THE THINGS all at once, your overwhelm will set in and you’ll get next to nothing done.
2. It all starts with you.
Where most people go wrong when growing their personal brand is by starting from the outside in. Meaning that they jump into designing a logo and choosing the brand font and colours. Look, I’m not judging here – I’ve made that same mistake in my entrepreneurial journey! Thinking that getting a fancy new logo is going to catapult your personal brand is a common misconception.
The right place to start when building your personal brand is getting to know yourself more deeply. This might sound a bit over dramatised, but hear me out – I’ve come to accept that one of our sole reasons for existence on this planet is to discover why we were put here in the first place. That means a lifetime of learning and discovery about our own role at this time in humanity’s history. The day we stop learning about ourselves is the day the school bell tolls on our earthly classroom.
Deep, I know.
With that said, traditional school teaches us about functional things like math, geography, biology and accounting. Once we’re free of the institutional form of education, our real education begins as we step out into the big, unknown world as a novice explorer seeking to find our place in it. Some of us find ourselves on the path of entrepreneurship and this is a path that requires the continued study of ourselves in order to affect real impact through the medium of our products and our services.
It’s for this reason that I say your personal brand journey starts with you. Re-discovering and uncovering parts of yourself that you can leverage for the growth and impact of your business.
The most transformational discovery I made about myself in relation to my own personal brand and business was learning my dominate personality archetypes. Since the day I took that first assessment, my entire self-identity shifted and as a result my business and my personal brand have evolved as well.
So this is a REALLY easy way for you to begin elevating your personal brand – discover your personal archetype.
3. Create a Plan
When an explorer heads out to a new, unknown territory, she’s either got a map or GPS or compass with her to give her a means of contextualising her coordinates.
Context is everything when it comes to your personal brand which is why I started this article with the personal brand audit.
You have to know where you are in order to know where you’re going. The ‘where you’re going’ part is where your personal brand plan comes in.
The ‘where you’re going’ part is where your personal brand plan comes in.
Having a map to help you navigate, document and keep track of your personal brand is going to give you the confidence to start and continue the journey and will provide an archive of details to help you course-correct or pivot when necessary.
A plan doesn’t have to be complicated. Like journalling you can simply write down what comes to mind in a place that will be easily accessible for you to refer back to.
If you’d like help mapping out your personal brand plan and taking a more structured approach, then look out for the next Personal Brand Intensive group programme dates, or book a 1:1 PBI journey with me.
4. Keep your face visible, relevant and current
I’ve seen so many women make the mistake of allowing their profile picture to date, using the same photo they used when they were still back in corporate, or worse – putting their business logo as their profile picture.
If you’re seeking to build relationships and do work with actual humans, you HAVE to show them who you are.
This is more important now than ever since 2020 has limited our face to face interaction with our networks. As entrepreneurs we’re reliant on our online profiles to establish those connections and make those first impressions.
You don’t want to shock your prospective client on your first Zoom call video by showing up as the grey-haired, yoga-pants wearing health coach instead of the dark-haired, blazer-wearing executive they saw on your profile picture.
In that moment trust is instantly lost.
2020 wasn’t all that bad – ok, it was REALLY bad! But there have been some positives!
Like how easy (and cheap) it is to get professional headshots done online.
When lockdown first hit, I set about figuring out the tech of how to do online photo shoots, and since then I’ve updated people’s profiles in the US, UK, Spain, New Zealand, Australia and all over South Africa.
The beauty of this approach to professional photo shoots is:
- less time and money investment,
- it’s convenient and comfortable in your own home
- it means you can update your photos every few months or with every new campaign you’re running
Professional photo shoots no longer need to be a “once-off” or a huge investment made every other year forcing you to keep the same hair colour and style until you can update your photos!
Here’s some examples:
improving your personal brand
There you have it!
Now you know:
- What a personal brand is
- How to determine the current status of your personal brand
- 4 easy ways to improve your personal brand
Now I’d love to know!
What’s the first thing you’re going to do to improve your personal brand?
Let me know if you want any help with it!
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