For accountants & lawyers, building your personal brand has never been more important than it is right now. Regardless of whether you work for yourself, or are employed, deciding to invest in building your personal brand might just be the best business decision you ever make.
For many advisers, the thought of building a brand around you might be a foreign concept, perhaps even uncomfortable. Beyond that however is a tremendous opportunity to build a strategic asset which will serve both you and the businesses you work in for years to come.
What is a Personal Brand?
The concept of personal branding is not new. It?s been used with great effect throughout history, sometimes for good, sometimes not.
But what is a personal brand?
A personal brand is the ongoing process of developing an image or impression in the mind of others about an individual, about you. When someone mentions your name what immediately comes to mind for them?
If I said Martin Luther King, what immediately comes to mind? The civil rights cause & his ?all men are created equal? speech.
If I said Simon Sinek you?d think ?Start With Why?, where his brand is built around this one idea of purpose.
Both of these men built an enormous following around a relatively narrow concept by answering the one question uppermost in the minds of their audience: Do I trust you?
The equation is the same for you. In building your personal brand the one question you need to answer for your audience is: Do I trust you?
Not sure how this applies to you?
Well, here?s the kicker. Your prospective clients are already asking themselves that question & you already have a personal brand, whether you realise it or not, whether you intentionally built it or not. It might be an asset. It might be a liability.
The good news is you can make it better. So you have a choice. You can either influence it or you can let others define it.
In developing a meaningful personal brand there are three foundational elements, each of which need the other two to be optimised to maximise your brands effectiveness:
- Authenticity ? you must be yourself, not someone else. You can?t fake you. And you can?t build trust without being authentic. If you try your audience will smell it a mile away and that will be a body blow to your integrity and your brand.
- Audience ?You must be clear on who your audience is. In developing your personal brand you are trying to create a powerful association between your name and the image others associate with your name. When individuals attempt to be all things to all people the image becomes diluted to the point of becoming completely ineffectual.
- Authority ? This is about your messaging. You need to establish your expertise in solving the problems your service or offering solves. Provide thought leadership to your audience by providing real insights, tips & guidance to help them move closer to solving their problem.
Why Is Personal Branding A Now Thing?
In two words ? digital disruption.
Once upon a time the ability to reach a global audience was the sole domain of the large corporates. To effectively reach a global audience you needed access to big marketing budgets and deep pockets.
But with the rise and rise of social media, access to a global audience is now a click (or a swipe) away. Any individual on the planet with access to the internet can potentially craft a message which could be seen by any other individual on the planet.
At the same time we are witnessing this phenomenon where everyone is looking for an expert. The days of the generalist adviser are fast slipping away. Location is now rarely a factor and an expert is only a Google search away.
So we have this intersection where anyone can potentially share a message with anyone, and everyone is looking for an expert whose message resonates with them.
It?s unprecedented in all of history.
Why Invest in Your Own Personal Brand?
Simply put, when it comes to professional advice, people buy from people. More specifically, people buy from people they know, like & trust. This has always been the case, will always be the case.
But as an adviser, what?s in it for you? Here are five compelling reasons for you to invest in building your personal brand.
- More Trust & Authority
Your prospective clients are looking for experts. By building authority & thought leadership in your space, you position yourself as an expert, and build trust faster with your audience.
- More Control
Your income, lifestyle & success is not dependent on, or even impacted by the actions of others. That gives you more control over your direction.
- More Opportunity
With an attractive personal brand opportunity will find you. You?ll be sought out not just by prospective clients, but by suppliers, the media, event sponsors, & other thought leaders in your space.
- Your Value Increases
In demand advisers command a premium. Without a strong personal brand you are a commodity, where the absence of value means you will compete on price.
- More Independence & Freedom
Your brand goes where you go. It?s completely transferable. It?s an asset which gives you more security, more independence & ultimately more freedom.
The Final Word
Now is the age of the personal brand. Over the next 10 -15 years I expect to see an explosion in the number of advisers building and leveraging their personal brands to attract more prospects, win more clients & build their practice.
Not only that, I expect corporates will increasingly dedicate more of their resources to nurturing the personal brands of their best & brightest because of the obvious benefits they will accrue as a result.
Build it right, and they will come.