A while back I attended ‘The Aspiring Women in Business’ networking group in Ilkley, and was lucky to listen to the fabulous Jennifer Holloway who was talking about creating ‘Personal Brands’. Jennifer is a down-to-earth Yorkshire lass with a very infectious character (who also knows her stuff). She inspired me to go and buy her book ‘Personal Branding for Brits’ (she’s obviously a good sales person too!) and take a look at my own ‘Personal Brand’.
So, What is a ‘Personal Brand’?
Firstly, if you haven’t read the book, I’d advise you to do so (no, I’m not on commission!) It’s super easy to read and understand, and I had many “Ah Ha” and nodding dog moments when reading it. In the book, Jennifer explains that her take on your ‘Personal Brand’ is made up of 6 main areas, which are:
Values, Drivers, Reputation, Behaviours, Skills and Image.
Basically, if you don’t know what you are selling, how can people buy it?
Being a consultant myself, a lot of the time people are buying into ‘me’ and not just my services. It’s particularly relevant to me, as my company name is ‘People Buy People’, something I really believe in. Jennifer also says “People Buy People; and it’s your ‘Personal Brand’ that tells them what they get when they buy into you.”
So, to get started I wrote a nice, warm email and sent this off to a variety of people I had either known for a long time in previous roles/business, met in the last year, worked with, worked for and some people I had met fairly recently, to see what they thought of me! (Cue lots of nail biting waiting for responses…could I take what they had to say?!)
Well, firstly almost everyone replied which I was very grateful for, and secondly nearly all of the feedback was very positive and made me feel quite warm and fuzzy (awwwww). There were, however, a few constructive comments, which I probably gained most from and which helped me recognise what I needed to tone down or improve on. There were also some real surprises to me, for example the word ‘bubbly’ came up a lot, which I would never have really associated with myself. The word ‘direct’ also did, which made me think: was I being a bit too frank with people, should I tone it down or actually is it genuinely appreciated by those that I work with? There were definitely some words and comments though that would enable to me to blow my own trumpet, just a little!
How has it been useful?
Well what I outline above is really just the start, as you need to then look at all sorts of other areas as you would with a company or product brand. Including your online presence, literature, emails, language/tone of voice that you use, and so on.
I think it helps potential customers to see what it is they are getting. It is sometimes hard to put into your own words exactly what you are like to work with, but it is much better when the words come from those who know you best and are speaking from first-hand experience. It has also been useful for my own self-awareness and certainly helped when pulling together Bio’s, Elevator Pitches, websites etc.
So come on I hear you cry, what is your Personal Brand?
Well, once I had got all the feedback together I began work on the common ground and pulled together a Personal Brand statement based around the 5 areas, which is:
- I am true to my word and will always do what I say I am going to do.
- I put myself in other people’s shoes to gain the best understanding possible of their business and needs.
- I am motivated by making a difference to the people and businesses I work for and am proud when this is achieved and recognised.
- I am known for not only getting the job done but often going above and beyond what is expected. Treating other people’s businesses as if they were my own.
- My personality is warm and friendly – living the ‘People Buy People’ brand, wherever possible. My honesty often leads others to open up to me in return.
- I have a talent for developing others by uncovering how people like to learn.
- I can analyse situations from all angles and I am very methodical leaving no stone unturned. I then use my knowledge to offer alternative and often unique solutions that enable businesses to stand out from the crowd.
- My look is professional yet touches on my creative flair, often with a hint of my own unique style.
So, if you do look at your ‘Personal Brand’ I would recommend you bear in mind TWO things:
1) Not everyone will buy into you, or your Personal Brand. That’s life!
2) If you have a rubbish product or service it doesn’t matter how much people relate to your personal brand! As the saying goes ‘You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear’ (or other similar phrases!)
Have you completed your Personal Brand or are you thinking about it? If so, let me know what you thought of the process; was it useful and what do you think of mine?