It is staggering to think about the fact that we are living in a “What if…?” hypothetical situation that is now a life-threatening reality. Truthfully, the arrogance of the 21st century and its perceived advances, means that no one ever really thought the entire human race could be impacted so cripplingly, by a pandemic.
It has been a humbling lesson for most of us, who have found themselves working from home as the Covid-19 strain of the Corona Virus, has swept across the globe. I have been getting many personal branding-related emails, from people across different backgrounds and industries, who are seeking insights and guidance, on everything from: looking good in virtual calls, to the tonality of what brands should publish online.
It seems that amid this worldwide emergency (and make no mistake, this is an emergency), forward-thinking people are looking for ways to build their personal brand in order to survive past this pandemic and its geoeconomic effects. With my extensive and impactful experience as a Global Branding Specialist, I have decided to be the change I want to see in the world, by helping where I can business-wise.
Here are some things to keep in mind as you re-evaluate your business continuity plan, to factor in the now vital personal branding component:
What is personal branding?
A personal brand, or the concept of personal branding, is the image that other people perceive of you. Although this definition may appear quite basic, understand that it is much deeper, because personal branding brings together all the elements by which people remember or recognize you.
In its simplest form, consider how many things (products or otherwise) use “sky” as a description or evocation of blue and feelings of calm. From paint to pretty eyes, the sky is forever synonymous with the colour, and the cool temperament – branding plays its part in how you know the world around you!
So why is a personal brand so important, now more than ever?
We are now working in a virtual world, and now more than ever it is important to look into your personal brand. When you eliminate the real-world influence of people interacting with businesses, products, fellow customers, and services, well then what you are left with is technology, as well as human needs & wants which are no longer as predictable.
A good personal brand becomes the stylish friend helping you dress well for a videoconference. A good personal brand becomes a sounding board for your ideas & frustrations, the flatmate you can stomach having around, or the missing link in a quiet existence. You need to recognize that the value of personal branding today, has increased exponentially. Its usefulness is remarkable, which is why its practice is considered increasingly relevant within different sectors, as long as it is executed in the right way for your objectives.
What are the benefits of Personal Branding?
- It builds credibility
- It shows uniqueness
- It establishes you as a thought-leader
- It substantiates your employability because your personal brand sets you apart from others in the job market.
What 4 Tips can you give me to better position my Personal Brand?
- Refresh your LinkedIn
By definition, LinkedIn is an “employment-oriented service that operates via websites and mobile app” so it is just as much of a search engine as it is a social media platform. The significance of using LinkedIn is such that you should be mindful of the words you choose, because they matter immensely.
When your personal brand is positioned right, it means that when potential clients or employers search LinkedIn using a keyword that is intrinsically tied to your brand, you are one of the results.
Determine those keywords while working on your personal brand, and then use them in your headline, job title, summary, and job descriptions. When you think about it: the difference between a song being popular, or one product being more popular than one that’s exactly the same as it, comes down to the words used, and the kind of feeling they inspire in people when they see or hear them.
Choosing the right words in business, is the difference between your profile being found, or being invisible.
- Reflect on your content
Make sure that all the content for your clients is not offensive, nor irrelevant for this time. Go over every piece of content that is being posted online for the next couple of months. Edit your content so that it is relevant, informative, and helpful. It is also important that brands communicate with empathy, as well as promoting messages of social distancing, the cancelling of plans, and encouraging people to avoid crowds during the pandemic.
- Remember to say thank you
Thank everyone who retweets your content on Twitter, or comments on your Instagram posts. You will be surprised at the graciousness of that interaction, and how that engagement builds positively onto your personal brand.
Share content from other brand owners, influencers, content creators, and anyone who has work which resonates with you. Strive to develop meaningful relationships in this time, with those who can help you, and those who you think you can help. Discover and follow someone new every day.
- Remain Authentic
While authenticity can be debated upon, your gut knows when something feels forced or disingenuous. Be as ‘real’ as you can possibly be when engaging people; And if you don’t know what your authentic self is as a brand, begin your journey towards it by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for a Personal Branding workbook that will see you heading towards it.
- Ring your clients
When last did you pick up the phone to call your clients and check in on them?
Call your clients and suppliers now, and ask them how they are holding up.
I know this might be time consuming, and that you are focused on how to stay afloat yourself right now, but believe me when I say this will serve you well in the long run.
I have said it before – your personal brand is what people think and feel about you, based on what you put out there in the world.
If, during this trying time, you disappear, you are scarpering or sending nothing but desperate ‘buy from me, buy from me’ messages, then you are not going to be remembered favourably when this is all over.
If, however, you are the type to pick up the phone (or at the very least send a personal email or text) then you will be remembered positively once the COVID-19 pandemic is over and done with, and we start watching movies about it on Netflix.
And let me be clear: You are not calling clients to try and make sales, but to genuinely offer support and check in on how they are feeling.
Since the work-from-home trend is likely to grow post-Corona Virus pandemic, it is worth spending a little time, thinking of how you go about linking your personal and professional branding.
The same principles you apply in presenting your best image in the office, at presentations and important meetings, should apply to the rest of your imagery. Your personal brand is the intellectual, visual, and emotional impression people have of you.