Giving Your Personal Brand An Audit

You will automatically think of something personal about these people rather than their career in their chosen field because it’s their personal brand that you think about first, with any memorable event or personal trait sticking right out.

Many speakers and authors in my field are happy in their jeans and T’s, but that’s not how I want to be seen so I wear a suit and shiny patent shoes. (girls and their shoes eh?) I want to differentiate myself and develop my own personal brand to that effect, I plan to look this way.

When did you last take a good look at what others may see when they look at your personal brand both online and off?

Give yourself an audit and see if there are any areas that could do with reviewing from the 8 points below.

Personal Brand

1.Voice-mail message.

Do you have the same message as everyone else “I’m sorry I’m not able to take your call….” or do you change it regularly depending on what is happening? For instance, if you are at a conference in New York, you might say something like “Today I’m listening to Jack Welch at a conference for business leaders in New York so I will attend to your message in the next break….” Do you think the caller will be impressed with your message and at you for taking the time to keep yourself up skilled? I think so. It’s also just more interesting.

2.Your email signature.

Make it easy for people to get hold of you, so think about including your telephone numbers, your address, your website url, and links to your relevant social channels such as your LinkedIn profile. Some like to include a small head and shoulders photo of themselves, which is particularly useful for when you meet for the first time as its good to know who’s who in the meeting.

3.LinkedIn profile.

Having a link from your email signature to your LinkedIn profile means that you must have a robust profile on show. At the very least, have an up to date photo, a descriptive professional headline, and a great summary of what you do and why someone should use you. Not having a profile up, or only having a half-baked one, will make you look unfinished or like a dinosaur.

4.Email content

Is your spell check turned on? Sending out an email with spelling mistakes, letters the wrong way round, and bad grammar could make you look less intelligent. Always read your email through slowly before sending it to double check everything is in order. I always add the email address right at the very end so I don’t accidentally send it before I’ve checked it.

5.Email address

myfamily@gmail.com or mail@yourhugelongpersonalname.com all give the impression of a micro business when in fact you are probably not. Use your company domain name email address even if you don’t have a website behind it and make generic email address more personal. Instead of mail or info@ try hello@ or team@. Better yet, use an actual persons name.

6.Business card.

Does it feel good quality fabric or cheap and papery? It’s part of your first impression so be confident when you hand them out. Print your name, title, contact details, social media links and anything else you wish to include. Don’t be afraid to use both sides, it’s prime brand real-estate so use it but keep it professional.

7.Your attire

“Always dress just a little bit better” is great advice for any situation. If you are interviewing at a tech company and you know they will all be wearing jeans and T-shirts, then going in a suit and tie might not do you any favours. Instead, dress just a little bit better and wear a great shirt with your crisp jeans and polished footwear. Wear the best footwear you can afford and polish them regularly, people notice.

8.Sign written vehicle

Once you drive a sign written vehicle, you have to behave differently if you want to protect your brand. Not only do you need to keep your vehicle clean, but dishing out abuse when someone “cuts you up” on the road goes out of the window.

Of course there are many more areas that form your personal brand such as the way you interact with others, how you perform at work with your bosses and colleagues and what you share publically on Facebook, they all add up to you.

Whilst being yourself, decide how you want to be seen, what you want to be known for and plan to move your personal brand in that general direction. As Jack Welch would say, “plan your general direction, and implement like hell”.

Source: Linda Coles, LinkedIn.com

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