This article was originally published as ‘Branding the New You’ in Issue 48 of Smart Healthy Women.
By Jon Michail
Having an authentic personal brand is about delivering on your promises. It is about consistency. It means that people who deal with you know what they are getting.
Whatever your line of work, you want the people you work with to know that they can trust and rely on you. I work closely with my clients, we have a confidante relationship and I know from experience that people respond positively to that. The following is from an amazing client of mine, Deborah Halpern:
“It’s definitely not just a superficial, you know, ‘we’re working on your brand’ type relationship.”
Developing an authentic personal brand means learning some tips and tricks from the advertising world and the branding of products and then applying it to people without being superficial.
Yes, personal branding takes image into account, but good personal branding cannot be just a surface treatment – your image must have depth, it must stand for something.
So, if you’re thinking that taking a look at your personal brand sounds like a cool idea, here are some thoughts to get you going.
1. Branding is a promise.
Sometimes it is the very idea of a promise that brings about longed-for improvement. Our shiny new wearable tech turns our focus to fitness, lending us a determination to achieve our goals that justifies the purchase. Brands are made up of tangible and intangible components, and the promise of a brand is one intangible that can lead to real results.
Of course, brands don’t always live up to their promises, but we should. If your brand is built on your authentic self, on the things you truly value and believe in then living up to your promises becomes easy.
2. Clever brands stay up with the play.
Brands that stay up with the play see opportunities where others see threats. Many brick-and-mortar retail stores were terrified when Amazon announced its entry into their market. Others had long ago seen the opportunities that our global digital world offers and weren’t so worried as they were too busy making the most of it.
3. The best brands are profitable.
Most of us dream of making a living from doing something we love. The tricky part is making a living rather than learning to simply subsist.
If you want your personal brand to attract strong investment, you have to look as though you’re the kind of person who will make the best possible use of it. You might need to convince your company of the benefits of investing in your professional development, or you’re a sole trader or small start-up needing to make a name for yourself or attract investment.
A strong and vital brand will build value and help you achieve these aims.
4. Outstanding brands produce enthusiastic referrals.
Remember what I said about brands being a promise. When our brand is authentic and we live up to our promises then positive referrals follow.
The best jobs and the strongest networks usually come from word-of-mouth referrals.
5. You are your own brand.
Remember, you are an ambassador for your business. You are a brand. Me Unlimited!
Always do what you say you are going to do, live your promise, and do your professional image proud.
Seeing yourself as a brand is not always comfortable – it may feel unnatural at first – but leaving your comfort zone is no bad thing.
“Jon is your coach, he’s your mentor, he’s on your side in ways that, sometimes you don’t really want him to be. And I don’t mean that in a negative sense but I mean sometimes, you just wanna go, ‘Oh, I can’t be bothered doing that. That’s too hard. Let me just go back and, you know, shrink back into my small self.’” Deborah Halpern
If you want to make it in this big crazy world then there is no good in cutting yourself off and shrinking back into your ‘small self’.
Work hard on your personal brand. Be a person others can trust and rely upon, and above all… be authentic!
Jon Michail and his team at Image Group International partner with their clients to achieve breakthrough results with contrarian and disruptive ways to grow and monetise their personal and business brands. A veteran, multi-award winning coach and author with a Who’s Who clientele, Jon is the CEO and Founder of Image Group International, an Australian-based corporate and personal brand image advisory and coaching organisation that conducts transformational seminars, workshops and one-on-one coaching in over four continents. He is recognised as Australasia’s No. 1 Image Coach.