In our world today, we know that an effective Personal Brand is no longer an option if you want to stand out form the crowd, however to really maximise your success and career progression today you need to pay attention to your exposure and visibility within your chosen target market as well.
“Do the people I want to know who I am, really know who I am?”
“Do others have to describe me in great detail to people for them to know who I am?”
“What am I famous for”, or “what should I, would I like to be well-known for?”
From the answer to these questions you will know if you are managing your personal PR as well as you should be.
In a crowded marketplace, if you just fit in you’ll not get ahead. You have to stand out to maximise your success potential. You have to be the architect of how you want to be perceived. Statistics show that your chances of promotion are down to 3 major factors:
Doing your job well 10%
Your attitude and behaviour when you do your job 30%
Visibility and exposure 60%
Source Eleri Sampson – The Image Factor
It used to be OK to just do a great job, and promotion would be almost guaranteed. Not so in business today – doing a good job is a given. You need to manage your image and your personal brand effectively and then use this personal collateral to gain greater levels of visibility in order to achieve your desired goals.
Think about successful people in your organisation or market – how do they stand out from the crowd? Are they well-known for something specific? You will discover as you think of successful people that immediately you form powerful and clear ideas about them. Successful people are often extremely good at being consistent with projecting their brand values and strengths.
So what are the key elements and steps we need to take to gain greater visibility and exposure in our lives?
The Walking TALL concept to Personal Branding has been developed from working with 1000’s of executives, men and women, over the past 15 years. As well as providing a framework for building a strong brand it focuses on managing your personal marketing. I’m going to share the major principles here with you.
Before you even think about raising your visibility in your organisation and/or your chosen target market, you have to think about what you want to stand out from the crowd for. In other words what are your unique strengths and brand values. In order for your visibility plan to be positive, your brand messages need to be authentic and based on who you really are – otherwise you’ll be in danger of being seen as attention-seeking and false.
To discover your personal brand first think about your fundamental strengths, your individuality and your personality. Uncover from within what you’re outstandingly good at.
Consider these elements of your character:
- Your Personality traits – if you take a step back and look at yourself how would you really define your personality? What are the adjectives that you would use?
- Now your talents – what is it you’re outstandingly good at? Often we miss what we’re good at because we’re either too focused on bridging weakness gaps or we just get on and do things and assume others are also good at these things.
- What do you stand for? What are your principles? What can’t you bear when others do or don’t do it? These are your fundamental values in life.
- And finally, consider your personal style. How do you apply yourself to new tasks or projects? What is your natural approach – for example are you very structured, creative, open-minded or perhaps lateral thinking?
This process will enable you to get more in touch with your Brand Me.
As a secondary step, consider the uniqueness of your brand. Record all the memorable moments in your life from as far back as you can remember. The experiences or things people said that made a difference to you, the pivotal points in your career, and the common threads. Now, if you were to write your life story, what would the title of your book be?
Food for thought? – this will help you to come up with the uniqueness of your personal brand and your differentiator-factor.
So that’s great – you’ve now got to grips with who you really are and what you want to project about yourself. You now have to put that to the test. Your personal brand is already out there and it’s a collection of the ideas and thoughts that people have about you when they think of you, or in other words it’s what people say about you behind your back.
You just need to manage those perceptions more consciously and consistently now.
Ask a number of people to give you 3 words that describe you. How do these compare with those you wrote down for yourself? How good a job are you doing at projecting your true values? Are you happy with the responses you got? If not, you may need to consider modifying your behaviour to manage the perceptions more positively.
Taking control of these perceptions is a crucial part of raising visibility levels. If you’re consistent with how you project yourself you make more of a positive memorable impact on others, and you start to stand out.
Now think about all the elements that project messages and clues about you to others.
Everything you do every day adds a layer to your brand and your brand evolves organically over a period of time. Every email you send, every telephone message and conversation, every meeting and presentation all add to your brand and either reinforce key values or dilute and weaken them.
When you think about your visibility plan, you have to consider how you are currently managing your brand and what behaviour needs to change in order to maximise the impact. For example, it’s no good people knowing who you are because you’re great at presenting, if on communicating in other ways with people you don’t appear interested in them and your interpersonal skills are lacking. Your brand won’t be consistent.
So now you’ve considered your Brand Me proposition and how you come across to others, let’s look at how to build your visibility plan?
You need to know who your target market are. Write down the top 50 people who need to know who you are and what you do and what you’re great at and have a plan of how you can become more visible to them. Is there some useful information you need for a presentation from them? Is there some regular information or an article you can forward to them that may be useful? Put some focus on being visible with these people. Consider social media too.
By spreading your brand and reinforcing your brand values within the right circle of people you’ll see how others will start talking about you. Your visibility will grow, and not necessarily by being out there physically all the time.
Seth Godin in his book Purple Cow, talks about ‘being remarkable’. When people talk about you, you are remarkable. He says, “It’s no longer good enough to be good enough. Only the exceptional, the amazing and the remarkable have the chance to build awareness, word of mouth and profits”.
Once you’re confident with your Brand Me, and you project it consistently, you’ll become remarkable.
Going that extra mile really works – do you remember personal information about your clients and colleagues? Are you interested in them and show it? Remember, you can be a more interesting person if you’re interested in others. Sending a hand-written “thank you” rather than an email for example will always make that extra impact. If people feel you’ve put thoughtful time into communicating with them, especially if they know how busy you are, you will be putting strong values into their mind about you. Also about your standards, your integrity, your style per sé.
Consider my top tips for raising your brand visibility in your chosen target market:
- Get great at presenting and be aware of taking the opportunities to present.
- When gathering information for presentations, include your target market.
- Recognise opportunities to go the extra mile with whatever you’re doing.
- Makes notes about important personal points. People love to know you’re interested in them too, not just their business.
- Consider the most successful people in your company or industry – why are they well-known?
- Always be aware of occasions when picking up the phone or a face-to-face chat would be more impactful than an email.
- Surround yourself with people you want to be like; people who will talk about you.
- Focus on your unique values, build your Brand Me and be consistent.
Do think about these points – you’ll be sure to build that all-important Personal Brand in other people’s eyes and they will talk about you. You will make it easy for them to label you and people like labels – it makes our lives easier.
And finally, at the end of every week, think about what you’ve done for your brand image and visibility this week. Have you added to “remarkable” or have you just “fitted in”?
Lesley Everett is an internationally acclaimed professional keynote speaker and expert on personal branding and executive presence. She has presented her Walking TALL Methodology in 25 countries across 5 continents to date. She is a regular contributor to UK and US media, has over 200 articles in print, is a published author of 2 books and a sought-after TV personality/expert.