Take off the mask and show your true self
Be warned, I go all out with the puns in this one!
I like llamas. Yup, love them. There’s a whole al-paca of them over on my Insta. They’re the stars of my freelance work. They’re at the herd, sorry heart, of my personal brand. What you see is what you get (though sadly, I can’t promise to turn up to meetings on the back of a llama.) It’s a thing. My thing. It’s a badge of pride, love and humour for something that makes me happy.
My experience of working with some amazing people in the creative industries is that your business or craft is an extension of yourself. Apologies for the buzzword, but it’s about personal branding. It’s weaving together your life and your work – to create a consistent and authentic picture that gives people a sense of who you are. Sure, go ahead.. take influence from others, but it’s important that you be yourself. That’s how you’ll separate yourself from the competition.
So where do you start? Try filling in this template: I’m a JOB ROLE PEOPLE MIGHT WANT TO HIRE. I offer THINGS THAT PEOPLE MIGHT NEED for a MASS AUDIENCE OF PEOPLE THAT MIGHT USE THEM to ACHIEVE A THING. Unlike YOUR COMPETITORS, we DO SOMETHING COOL THAT THEY DON’T. You might notice that it’s not as easy as it looks. Are you clear about where you are along your professional journey? And where you’re headed?
Personal branding is not a new idea, but one that people have become more aware of in recent years. Where will you be in life in 5, 10 or even 20 years time? Everything you do is building your brand – it’s a life’s work that you must nurture. Look at now-a-little-creepy, one-time-everyone’s-favourite-Dad Bill Cosby.
We all thought we knew him. We all loved his projection of a great dad and thoughtful comedian. I was pretty sure the worst thing about him were those weird jumpers. Boy, were we a bottle of Quaaludes the side of wrong. His personal brand is smashed to smithereens and his career is dead and buried. Yeah, don’t do that.
To be smart about developing and maintaining your brand you should consider a few key points:
– Are you a credible voice? I mean llamas are all well and good (fabulous in fact,) but I don’t allow them to overwhelm my messaging. Your business development efforts will benefit from clearly laying out what you can do. I do great PR and marketing – you don’t want to a-llama people with your quirk.
– This one is connected to the one above. You can’t spend your time pretending to be someone else – you need to write, share, negotiate and plan in a consistent way. That’s the only way to be sustainable. Plus, giving your business a face and a name can make you more authentic and more attractive to work with.
– It’s also useful to remember that your public perception may be shaped or enhanced by the company you keep. Tap into your networks of people who know and understand you to get the early successes you need to build your image.
Talk to me in the comments or let’s chat!