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5 Steps To Building A Strong Personal Brand

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Whether you’re an entrepreneur running a business or a career focused professional, building a strong personal brand is essential for earning respect in your field and achieving success.

Your personal brand is your reputation, it’s how others perceive you, it’s how you market yourself and deliver a unique promise of value. As Amazon founder Jeff Bezos says, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”

If you look at some of the most successful people in the eye of the media today – from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Taylor Swift to Richardson Branson, they’ve all developed solid personal brands that are both authoritative and likeable. 

Here are 5 steps to build a strong personal brand:

1. Connect with influencers

Having your name associated with successful peers is a guaranteed way to raise your profile and give your personal brand a huge boost. Make a list of the biggest influencers in your industry and build strong relationships with them over time.

You can start off by simply commenting on their blog posts or social media updates, then as you build their trust you can offer to help with their new project or invite them to an industry event. Once your name Is frequently being mentioned amongst industry influencers, then you too will be perceived as an influencer.

 

2. Let your personality shine

People are drawn towards others who are interesting and fun to be around so avoid being dull in your professional life. Whether you’re speaking to a client on the phone or sending an email to a supplier, try to breathe some life into your interactions so that people remember you with a smile. Don’t be afraid to be different – it’s better to be a little different than to be the boring person that nobody remembers.

“Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.” – Allen Ginsberg 

3. Get recommended

Few things strengthen your personal brand more than public praise from other people, especially if those praising you are well known. If you’re a business owner, you should be asking your most reputable clients to publicly recommend you on social media as well as your own site.

If you are career focused, then you should be asking your most senior colleagues and ex-colleagues to recommend you on LinkedIn to prove the value you have provided.

 

Branding
 

4. Create valuable content

In order to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry, it’s essential that you demonstrate your expertise through providing useful informative content on the web. Whether you create detailed how-to-videos or write data driven industry reports, make sure you create something that will help your clients and boost your reputation at the same time.

Once you provide value to somebody upfront without asking for anything in return, you build trust and make it easier for them to begin a working relationship with you.

 

5. Take on public speaking engagements

Public speaking is a proven tool for boosting your reputation and positioning yourself as an authority on a particular subject. Public speaking is a difficult skill to master so start with small groups of colleagues or clients before pitching yourself to speak at conferences and events.

Only speak about the subjects you are most knowledgeable and passionate about to ensure you can speak confidently and deliver engaging sessions.

“The success of your presentation will be judged not by the knowledge you sent but by what the listener receives.” – Lilly Walters

If you’re looking to achieve success via a strong personal brand, then keep working hard to prove yourself as an expert in your field and build trust in your market.

What steps can you take to create your own successful personal brand? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

Andrew Fennell is the founder and Director of London based CV writing and career development firm StandOut CV. Andrew is also a regular contributor to the Guardian Careers sections and speaks about career development at Companies and Universities across the UK.

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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Rebecca Matias

    May 9, 2018 at 5:55 am

    Awesome tips, Andrew!All of the steps you have mentioned are very helpful for businesses in building a strong brand. But for me, #4 is the most important thing in building a brand,it is the perfect means for creating a signature style that builds recognition and conveys your brand’s personality.Thanks for sharing your ideas.

  2. Ram

    May 1, 2018 at 2:55 am

    Very informative article with simple yet powerful steps to build one’s personal brand. Providing value to other through quality content is a very potent way of standing out from the crowd and making an impression.

  3. Ran Mendis

    Aug 3, 2016 at 4:13 am

    Cheers Tim, what a coincidence? I watched cool runnings couple of days ago n super inspired. Awesome work Tim you have just extracted the cream of it and my favorite point is ” being different is important ” I’m a big fan of yours and you inspired me to create content, now I’m doing dailly. Keep writing Tim. Respect n Regards. Ran Mendis

  4. folawewo Oludare

    Feb 1, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    Thanks Andrew. Personal lifestyle and business life are 2 aspects that needed to be mash together. Balancing this could prove a task as maximum concentration is needed,even sometimes,reflective meditation is require to bring out the best of trait. But altogether,I really find this article very helpful as it gave the stepping blocks of ideas on which to climb higher in achieving a goal. So insightful. I will make use of it. Thanks.

  5. Nihar Pradhan

    Jan 18, 2016 at 7:28 am

    Wonderfully written Andrew…Brand is such a vital component of building a successful venture, many times as innovator or creator of new ideas we overlook the brand per se and get bogged down in the nitty-gritty of the product and its functioning, these all matters but it is brand that counts in the big picture. The identity and the trust that comes with brand is what sets the product or service apart in the market…

    Yes, it so much about creating valuable content and being able to articulate and speak out loud in the gathering and being able to garner the confidence that makes a huge difference…

  6. Joseph Themba

    Jan 8, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    Great one Andrew! Many thanks

  7. jay

    Jan 6, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    Nice!

  8. Ngonidzashe

    Jan 2, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    I like this. This is a great article.

  9. Nissar

    Jan 1, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    Great post Andrew. Thanks for writing this.

  10. Owen Hone

    Dec 31, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    Great post Andrew

  11. Lawrence Berry

    Dec 30, 2015 at 3:41 am

    Marketing and branding is very important in building s successful business and making money. Becoming a household name is one the toughest things to achieve but these steps can help you achieve just that. Connecting with influencers is important. Learn from them and find a way help them as they will offer you help as well. Successful people want others to be successful as well.

  12. Doreen Pendgracs

    Dec 28, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    Terrific article. I’ve worked very hard over the past 6 years to build my brand. His hard it is!

    Congrats to Tim for joining Toastmasters. I’ve been a member for 15 years and have found it to be an invaluable organization.

  13. Stephen Osoko

    Dec 28, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    This was very insightful. I particularly have been using Step 1. There are so many benefits of engaging with influencers without a doubt! Great Post Once Again!

  14. Tim Denning

    Dec 27, 2015 at 6:34 am

    Andrew thank you for this post. While I already do some of these five points, there are still afew that I don’t do and your article is a good reminder for me to make it my new years resolution. One that I currently don;t do is public speaking although i have signed up to Toastmasters to build some skill. I have heard Lewis Howles speak of Toastmasters a few times so I figured it must be worth a try.

    I hope to read more of your work and thanks again!!!

    • Andrew Fennell

      Dec 28, 2015 at 4:39 pm

      Thanks Tim – Yes it can be hard to balance all points but looks like you’re doing a good job!

  15. addicted 2 The Grind

    Dec 26, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    Great Post #1 is the most important in my opinion. If you produce great content it will be seen eventually but if you connect with influencers in your space that can speed up the process.

    You can’t be scared or to cocky to interact with other thought leaders in your space.

  16. Ajasa

    Dec 26, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    Many thanks sir this article is very helpful sir

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Startups

The Problem Is Not Your Website Or Your Product.

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spend a lot of my time talking to business owners. They focus on their product, their marketing channels and trying to make more profit.

I met one such business owner who was in the plastic surgery business. Their product (boob jobs and nose jobs) was not working. Their website sucked and people clicked off as soon as they visited it.

People would call their office, get put on hold, listen to the on hold message and hang up.

This business didn’t seem all that special. I’ve talked to many businesses and didn’t think for a microsecond that a plastic surgery clinic could ever teach me anything valuable.

I’ve been to Hollywood on holidays and the issues of body image are all too apparent to me. Anyway, this post is not about body image.

I ended up losing this business as a customer — not that I would ever have sold anything to them if it were up to me. I sat down one afternoon and thought about why we no longer did business with them.

That’s when I realized it’s not about your product or your website. All the issues with this plastic surgery clinic and a lot of other businesses I’ve dealt with stem from one thing. Let me explain in more detail.


Your Google Reviews say you’re an piece of work.

I looked up their Google Reviews and their customers said they were assholes.

They spoke down to clients, they didn’t deliver their clients what they wanted, they argued with their staff in front of customers and they treated people like they were nothing more than a dollar sign.

All I had to do was read their Google reviews to see that the problem wasn’t their product or their website.


Your clients tell you every day that you suck.

I asked the plastic surgery what their clients said.

Many of their clients told them that their services sucked and they would prefer to go to places like Thailand where they could get a better product at a much lower price.

The business owner made the mistake of thinking it was their product that was the problem and that a new website will tell clients a different message.

That wasn’t it.


You abuse your staff and they consistently leave.

I spoke with many staff that worked for this business.

Every single one of them hated the company and were not afraid to say what they thought of the business owner.

The business owner would sit outside on a nice sunny day and look across the street at all the yachts and the people boarding them.

They’d sit there and think that every lead they got was going to take them one step closer to owning their very own yacht.

“If only I could deliver more boob jobs, maybe I could have one of those,” they thought quietly to themselves hoping that no one else could hear how ridiculous this sounded.

I can remember multiple times being on the phone to the business owner and having one of their staff burst into tears halfway through the call.

The first time it happened I didn’t think much. After the third time, I got the message. During the short time I dealt with this business, people consistently left. If you made it to the six-month mark, you were some sort of hero and would probably be given a free surgery to say thank you for your work and make you feel worse about your own body at the same time.

It was free noses and boobs in return for daily abuse.

The problem still wasn’t the website all the product.


You don’t solve real problems; you solve your own problem.

A good business solves a problem.

That problem typically affects human beings and solving it is how you make money in business. Solving problems can start out with a problem that affects you, but at some point, you’ve got to start solving that same problem for other people/businesses.

This owner of this plastic surgery clinic was only trying to solve their own problem which was making more money to buy fancy items like yachts.

Only solving your own problem is not just selfish but bad business.

Good business is solving a big problem or lots of small problems for entire strangers who you don’t know thus doing something valuable for the human race.

Solving only your problem will make you poor.

The problem still wasn’t their website or product.


Creating more problems.

Everything this business owner sold created more problems.

They’d film videos to purposely make people feel like their body wasn’t perfect.

They’d write articles suggesting that everyone needs botox to feel young.

They’d take photos of men and women who were supposed to be perfect so that young people would dream of looking like them.

Not only was their business not solving a real problem; it was also creating more problems every day that it existed.

If your business creates more problems than it solves, you’re in real trouble.You need to take a long hard look at the business and become obsessed with doing everything you can to change it — and do so damn fast to limit the whirlwind of problems you’re creating behind you.


The heart of the problem.

It’s the business owner.

The business I mentioned will fail. That part is certain. The problem with the business is not the website or the product.

The problem is the business has no heart because the business owner has no heart.

You cannot focus on your own selfish desires, create really bad problems in the world, treat other human beings like garbage and expect to go buy a yacht and live happily ever after. It just doesn’t happen like that.

Whether you are a plastic surgery clinic like the one I described or a solo entrepreneur, the problem with your business is you.

Fix the problem of YOU. You can’t get away with being horrible forever.
Being horrible is bad business.

Being respectful, kind and valuable is the final answer to the problem with your business.

<<<>>>

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Entrepreneurs

18 Must Read Business Books for Emerging Entrepreneurs and Startups

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business books

Reading is both relaxation and training for the mind. Who reads, dives into another world. Learning, entertaining and breaking out of everyday life for a short moment. One could go even so far as to say reading is the second most beautiful thing in the world! Whether it is non-fiction or a novel of all the world’s man has created, the book is the most powerful tool. That is also, why we wanted to find out which business book you should undertake in the new year. (more…)

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Startups

Everyone Wants Sales Leads But No One Wants To Sell

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Sales leads are the lifeblood of any business.

Without leads, your business doesn’t make money. That’s why many businesses treat leads like the most valuable resource in existence. Leads are a topic that never goes away and you can never have enough.

Sales leads are the cause of so many disputes in business.

We have it all wrong, though.

Having something to sell is the real answer.


Knowing what you’re selling.

Many companies don’t know what they are selling.

They think they’re selling products or services that magically turn into revenue and light up your accounting software with lots of green, shiny graphs.

Until you know what you’re selling, sales leads won’t help. Getting more sales leads, increasing your Adwords spend, buying more Facebook ads, doing more networking events, printing more t-shirts and producing more ‘content’ for your blog will not help.

You’re not getting enough leads or closing the leads you have because you’re not sure what you’re selling.


Are you selling to humans?

Go and Google ten company websites. Pick any ten.

You’ll notice one thing: more than half the websites don’t sound like they are selling to humans.

There’s no human language, very little content created by the people that work at the company, zero compassion and not a lot of humility.

Most websites are designed to sell to robots that can’t stop looking at their smartphone. That’s not us. We’re human despite our phones changing the way we live.

Humans look for thoughtful businesses.
Humans look for solutions to problems that are not being solved.
Humans like a business to stand for something human.


How you sell matters.

Selling like you’re in the office with The Wolf Of Wall Street Jordan Belfort will not help you sell.

How you sell matters just as much as what you sell.

The process you put a client through has to be simple, thoughtful and in their best interests (not yours).

That last point is crucial. Many businesses exist to serve the board or shareholders, but they do very little to help people like you and I live a better life and do our best work.

The values of your company and what you stand for effect the leads. Before anyone ever becomes a lead in your sales funnel they are a person or a group of persons (a business) with a problem.

Many people never make it into your sales funnel because how you sell what you do is wrong.

Paying for more leads is not nearly as powerful as changing how you sell to the leads you have.


Loving the people who do the selling.

Leads are only half the puzzle.

The bigger question is who is selling to the leads? Does your business treat those people who call your leads well? Do the people who call your leads even care or are they after nothing more than a pay cheque?

These are the unanswered questions that get lost in conversations about why your business needs more leads.

More leads won’t help if your salespeople burn them or don’t know how to convert each lead into a customer that becomes a raving fan and introduces more people (leads) for free.


Treat one lead really well.

I had a sales guy that used to work for me. He treated one lead in Queensland, Australia really well. He spoke to him every day. He knew a lot about the persons family. He even went to the leads barbecue.

That lead was so impressed that he referred several hundred (that we could track) leads to our business. Treating one lead really well is far more powerful than buying more leads who don’t care about what you do.

Digital marketing has become a drug that every business thinks they need.

If only the business world knew the power of one lead.


The good cause factor.

Your business may do something simple like mow lawns.

That may not sound like a life-changing business that can take this lead advice I’m giving onboard. “My business is simple,” you say to me.

Well, I’d challenge that. Any business can have what I call the ‘Good Cause Factor.”

Let be give you an example. The local butcher down the road from me has a BBQ every Saturday afternoon where they invite the community to come and eat some food for free. Everyone is welcome including the few homeless people in the area that never buy any meat from their business.

People stand out the front of that butcher and talk about things that are happening in the community. This Saturday ritual has become a place where business ideas have flourished, homeless issues have been discussed and people who were lonely and possibly suicidal, decided to live for a bit longer.

The last part is the most interesting. In my community here in suburban Melbourne, there is a large group of people that suffer from mental illness. When I went through my own battle with mental illness, I went to the local town hall where people gathered who suffered from the same condition.

It was that event every Wednesday that helped me become a different person.The loneliness and the isolation I felt were cured by the simple act of connecting with other people and having the guts to talk about the demons I was facing.

These same people go to our local butcher on Saturday and eat at the free BBQ. The butcher is thoughtful and they know that they are doing something far more important than selling meat; they’re selling connection to the community, and a possible solution for isolation and loneliness that leads to mental illness.

So back to the point of this post, the community butcher is selling a good cause — an X Factor as some people would call it.

What your business does with its resources to help a worthy cause that affects humans like you and I is just as important as sales funnels, lead generation and your product roadmap.

Link your business to a worthy cause no matter how simple it is.


Lead quality.

I lose my mind when people talk about lead quality.

The quality of leads comes down to the quality of people talking to those leads and what you have to offerEven the coldest lead can buy from you if you know how to find their problem — which they may not know they have — and use your product or service to enhance their life.

Quality of leads is a myth. All leads are equal.

No matter what stage of the sales funnel someone is in, they can be converted by the right business, with the right message and the right intentions to serve rather than take.


More leads are not the answer.

I know you want more leads. We all do.

I’m telling you to think much wider and deeper than that. If all we had to do was get more leads and we’d become the next Bill Gates, we’d be all billionaires.

I could go and set up a business that does nothing more than generate leads and call my business the ‘Billionaire Factory.’ One, two, lead, wham, bam and now you’re rich.

Refine your business down to helping one lead.
Make that lead believe in you.

Rinse, repeat.

<<<>>>

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Startups

5 Digital Marketing Habits Geared for Success in 2019

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digital marketing

The digital marketing landscape is in constant flux. New social platforms are born daily, while others fizzle out, and search engine algorithms are updated hundreds of times a year. What worked last year may not work this year. The reasons you need a digital marketing strategy remain similar each year, but to be successful in 2019, you should practice the 5 digital marketing habits below. (more…)

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