Adam Stott is an entrepreneur, author, business coach and founder of Big Business Events.
Some people might feel awkward about having a personal brand because they are shy or just don’t feel comfortable putting themselves out there. On the contrary, having a personal brand doesn’t mean that you have to put yourself out there to achieve what you want. Your personal brand is how you project yourself to the outside world. It is also important to understand how you are received by the outside world so you can tweak or change what people are seeing, reading or hearing about you.
Here are my five key ways to develop or modify your personal brand:
1. What is the first thing that people think of when they hear your name?
You may have no idea. But you need to think about what this may be because your name is tied to your business, and you will be interacting with people and they will get to know you. When people hear your name, you want them to hear positive things about you. Don’t let business deals fall apart because you have a bad reputation. Instead, make sure you are cultivating a positive personal brand on an ongoing basis.
One way you can do that is to look at the first result people see when they Google your name. Either before or after every introductory phone call, every meeting you take, every sales meeting, people are going to google you. If there aren’t many (or any) news articles about you, people will probably see your LinkedIn profile, your Facebook page or maybe your Twitter account, and they’re likely going to see what you’ve been saying. Be careful what you say on social media, and include good things that are going on in your life or business, because it will help you cultivate your personal brand. Think hard before you post something, and don’t be afraid to post about your wins—people are attracted to winners.
2. What does your LinkedIn profile say?
Your LinkedIn profile should do a really good job of selling you and your company. Many people are going to look you up on LinkedIn, and if you don’t currently have a profile, create one now. In addition to your personal information (where you went to school, your previous work history, etc.), make sure it shows your professionalism and what you can do for people. It should sell your company, and people who view it should be able to see themselves doing business with you.
3. What do people see when they google you?
If you google me, you’d likely see my personal website as a top result. If you go there, you can learn about me, and through my site, I’m creating my own message, rather than letting someone else do it. If you don’t have your own website yet—even if you don’t have a business right now—I recommend creating your own website, even if it just contains your CV and a list of your achievements.
4. Make sure everyone knows what you do.
Come up with a 30-second description of what you do, why it’s important and why you’re good at it. Imagine you ran into me on the street and had 30 seconds to convince me that you’re someone I should do business with—what would you say? Once you’ve come up with your pitch, practice it until you can easily recite it. One of the questions I often ask people at my events when I’m considering whether I want to do business with them is “Why you?” It’s a simple question, but you need to be able to come back quickly and convince people why you are the person they should do business with.
You can also cultivate a great personal brand by making a video of yourself telling the story of your business, what you do, your products and services and showing your expertise. Blogs or newsletters are also a great way to talk about your journey, what’s been happening in your life and what results you are creating in your business.
5. Celebrity Branding
Do you have relationships with any celebrities? Have you done business with any celebrities? Do you have photos of yourself with celebrities? Showing yourself in close proximity to a celebrity can be a great way to stand out from the crowd. It might not mean that much to you, but it will to someone else. Think about all of the celebrity endorsements and sponsorships that Nike has used over the past few decades to help them build their brand. I’ve done this with my business. I’ve had the pleasure of sharing the stage with several celebrities, and I let people know that on my website. This targets people who will want to do business with you because they want to know how to make connections like yours.
I want you to review your personal brand. Look at your Facebook page and your LinkedIn profile and google yourself. I want you to be able to describe in 30 seconds your business and why people should do business with you. I want you to get a video review of your business or one of your products or services, even if you already have 10 on your website. Spread the message about what a powerful person you are, what a powerful brand you have or what a powerful business you have.
Don’t wait for somebody to tap you on the shoulder and make you a star. I see that so much. People won’t just come up to you and ask you for a product or service. You have to create your brand and make yourself a star.