My name is Daria Volkova, I am a brand strategist working with IT products and classic businesses, a communications specialist. I supervise the process of creating and developing brands for the businesses of my clients, giving lectures and running a professional Telegram channel.
Quite often they turn to me for advice on the development of a professional’s personal brand. As a rule, these people are cool specialists, they have been doing something with pleasure for a long time, they want to talk about it publicly, but they doubt the format of information presentation, its relevance, etc.
With this article, I want to help solve some of the issues and difficulties that most people face.
Why a professional needs to build a personal brand:
☞ If you run a business or work as a self-employed professional , then brand and recognition will help you sell more products and services.
☞ If you work for a company as an employee , having a strong personal brand makes it easier to build trust and reach your colleagues, get promoted, and explore future career options faster.
☞ If you are planning to move to another country or drastically change your career path and switch jobs, then you must be visible to potential employers or clients and speak the same language with them.
Below, I’ll share 5 psychological and practical tips to help you get started on developing a professional’s personal brand and making a name for yourself.
So, to begin with:
1.Define your goal in developing your personal brand. Wanting to be popular for the sake of being popular is a dubious motivation. You need to understand what results developing a professional’s personal brand should bring.
Working with the following points will also help to get started:
- Your positioning: what are you doing and for whom? Specialization, unique knowledge and skills, the value that you carry.
- The goal defines the audience. Find a few key people or social groups that you want to communicate with.
- Find a few key people or social groups that you want to communicate with. Find out where your “fantastic beasts” live: social media, scientific journals, online courses, long read blogs … What kind of content are they used to seeing?
- How are you different? Find what sets you apart from the competition. This can be a unique artistic technique, a way of singing, a clear focus on one of the lines of business, or even an unusual style of dress that presents you as a creative person.
- Who/what are you up against? Choose an imaginary or real enemy against whom you are fighting. For example, Greta Thunberg is against global warming and inactive greedy politicians.
2. People trust people, not corporations. It is easier to build relationships through systemic communication in social networks and media on behalf of a specific person. If we talk about business, then, as a rule, this is the founder or someone from the top management.
The founder may not have enough time or charisma for consistent public appearances. Depending on the specifics of your request, you can ask PR managers and copywriters for help, hire a personal assistant, work with a public speaking coach, etc.
3. It’s impossible to build a personal brand without revealing yourself as a person. You don’t have to share the story of how you ate sand as a child, or confess to some shameful things that could discredit you in the future. Tell us about what is comfortable and what will show you as a professional and versatile person: cases and stories from personal experience, travel, books, films, recommendations, news, etc.
As you get feedback from your audience, you can experiment with post formats and stories. A mix of personal and professional content, backed up by quality visual content, works well on social media.
4. High five, impostor! People are used to devaluing their accomplishments by looking at “successful success” on social media and comparing themselves to others. As a result, impostor syndrome develops, when it seems that everyone around is smarter, more successful, richer than you. To combat this, conduct an internal SWOT analysis and reinforce weaknesses.
Create the conditions in which you can upgrade your expertise: write a cool CV and go to a couple of interviews, take courses and get a certificate, take customer reviews, and more. And finally, start talking about yourself to get noticed.
5. “What will others say?”
First, come to terms with the fact that everyone in the world will not be able to like you, with all your desire. Most people treat others in a neutral-positive way — until they are united by common interests (partnership, friendship, love) or their interests diverge (competition, enmity).
Second, answer yourself, who are these “others”? When we think so, we mean someone specific. Are they colleagues, ex-partners, teachers, parents? We all have previous experiences that can hinder our progress. Remove people who can definitely hurt you from your field of vision (at least from your list of friends on social networks) and calmly go about your business. Then go back to #1 and accept the fact that these people will always be around.
Most people are fixated on themselves and even if something goes wrong with you, tomorrow they will forget about it. Surely, among your acquaintances, there are people with whom there have been public scandals, layoffs, or some other unpleasant story that they have successfully gone through and continued to do what drives them.
General rules of communication: don’t be boring and too serious, don’t pretend to be who you are not, and give yourself the right to make mistakes.
In conclusion, I will say that building the image of a professional and a personal brand is another full-fledged work that must be performed efficiently and systematically. You will see the first results only after 3–6 months, so be patient and do not give up on the first failures.
I’m a brand strategist, startup mentor, product strategy and customer service improvement consultant. I help IT products, classic businesses and individual entrepreneurs to identify growth zones and perfectly represent their strengths.
More information about personal brand and business culture you can find on my website: https://dariavolkova.com/personal-brand