Personal branding: how to increase your influence in 10 steps

July 24, 2015

Brands are everywhere. In today’s world, branding doesn’t only apply to companies, it’s personal as well. Some people have a personal brand which is also a company brand, such as some fashion designers, elite athletes, stars and artists. For many people, personal branding has a lot to do with reputation management and taking a strategic approach to one’s career and leading with influence and impact.

Here are 10 steps to taking a more proactive approach to personal branding.

1. Identify what you want to achieve

Start with your goals and objectives first. What do you want to achieve? Creating your vision will inform your planning. If you’re the head of a division seeking to move up to a company’s executive team, your approach to achieving that goal will be different from an entrepreneur who is seeking to grow a start up. Without identifying where you want to be, you will find it hard to put a plan in place.

2. Determine what you stand for

Clearly articulated values and beliefs are your guideposts and help provide a sense of purpose and direction. What you stand for will underpin much of your decision making, how you conduct yourself and the content you publish or speak about. Communicating your values regularly will ensure the perception of who you are aligns with what you stand for.

3. Articulate what sets you apart

In addition to what you stand for, what are other ways with you can you differentiate yourself? What beliefs do you hold about your industry, what behaviours do you exhibit in your daily life, what accomplishments have you achieved while exuding your values? Are there experiences you’ve had in life which have shaped your worldview? Having examples at the ready where you have demonstrated this can go a long way. This is the beginning of shaping a narrative for your audiences.

4 . Define what your strengths are and what areas you can develop more

Identify your strengths and consider how you can capitalise on them to support reaching your objectives. Taking an honest approach when reflecting on your development opportunities will help you prioritise. Consider certificates, formal study opportunities, or simply a new category in your Feedly dedicated to a topic, or even new podcast series for the commute. Structure your professional development time according to short-, medium- and long-term objectives.

When it comes to strengths and weaknesses, consider also how you view yourself in light of how others may perceive you.

5. Write your key messages

Your key messages are the core statements which communicate who you are, what you stand for and what makes you different. Your key messages will be reflected to some degree through your online and offline presences to your audiences and stakeholders. The more you refer to your key messaging and communicate them, the more they become ingrained in your everyday use. The more consistently key messages are used, the more you proactively influence others’ perception of you.

6. Map out who your stakeholders and audiences are and what is important to them

It’s important to map out all of the stakeholders in your life. This will vary from person to person. Stakeholders and audiences can include groups such as current and prospective customers, investors, team members, direct reports, staff, investors, affiliates and partners, suppliers, analysts, journalists, council committee members, family members, groups of people depending on which social media platform you’re connected on, and so on.

For each group, identify what is important to them. What are their needs and wants? This may be confidence that the company is growing in a sustainable way, assurance that they’re connected to strategy, a sense of purpose if they are sponsoring or donating. This mapping will enable you to identify how you can add value to your stakeholders.

7. Decide on how you will engage

How you engage with your stakeholders is just as important. Often, this comes down to channels of communication and how committed you are to regularly communicating. Not every stakeholder group is on every channel and not every message is suited for every medium. Plan out how you will communicate and how often. Whether it’s in person, via a town hall, email, newsletter, formal print letter, a publication, a brochure, a blog post, a tweet, an intranet update, or any of the hundreds of options available to you, make sure you are choosing the most effective ones to reach the audiences important to you.

8. Consolidate your online and offline presences

Using your key messaging and planning, rewrite your bios to make them consistent and to convey what you stand for, makes you different and the value you add to others. You may find that you have many online and offline presences built up over the years. Delete accounts no longer in use. Update the ones you will continue to use going forward according to your channel planning above. Remember not to copy and paste the same content for every presence, some are more complete than others. A LinkedIn bio is more complete than a Twitter bio, but you can still ensure they’re aligned to reflect the same you.

9. Identify opportunities

It is likely you have a rhythm of how and when you communicate to others. Identify additional opportunities which can support your pursuit of your objectives. For example, if you are seeking to position yourself as a thought leader in a particular field, guest blogging and writing commentary for news sites can be a great way to build trust in your expertise. Think about opportunities which will make a demonstrable difference and think outside of the usual.

10. Implement your plan

When implementing your plan of engagement and building relationships, regularity is important. In order to maintain consistency, ensure your plan is sustainable. Setting out to participate in every social media forum and placing ambitious goals for writing and publishing may not be sustainable for the long term. And it’s longevity that can add clout and value.

Unlock your potential and lead with influence and impact through a strategic approach to personal brand.

Contact us to discuss how you can engage and build deeper relationships with the audiences which matter to you through personal branding.
– Jeremy Balius