Social media has long moved from random thought scribbles to remarkable insights. Whether you belong to a traditional brick and mortar business or the vibrant digital economy, you’re being watched. How are you distinguishing yourself? As a Startup or a small business owner, given that you are the face of your brand, do people view you as a deep smart? What are you doing differently to create a remarkable personal brand? What is special about your digital story?
And before I get further, if you were questioning why do you need a personal brand, here’s something from some of my favorite experts.
“All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.” – Tom Peters in Fast Company
“It’s important to build a personal brand because it’s the only thing you’re going to have. Your reputation online, and in the new business world is pretty much the game, so you’ve got to be a good person. You can’t hide anything, and more importantly, you’ve got to be out there at some level.” – Gary Vaynerchuk, Author of Crush it!
How to Create a Remarkable Personal Brand
1. Be perceived as a deep smart
HBR authors Dorothy Leonard, Gavin Barton, and Michelle Barton in their article “Make yourself an expert” define a concept of “deep smarts” – professionals who have built a brand perception of having business-critical experience and are considered go-to experts in their field of knowledge. They have the perception of being able to create repeat success. To be perceived as a deep smart or an expert is definitely a way to reach the epitome of a remarkable personal brand. Some ideas for being able to do that include:
a) Invest in an online presence- Use industry appropriate keywords in your LinkedIn profile, Twitter bios and other social platforms
b) Guest write for industry publications
c) Blog on topics important to your field
d) Speak at conferences, events, network, use Twitter events (e.g. TweetChats)
2. Hone your pitch
Your elevator pitch needs to define several aspects, and these include:
a) Define your UVP (unique value proposition)- what makes you different, what do you bring to the table, list your core attributes, and characteristics that define you as a professional
b) Practice your 30 second pitch- write, speak, record a video. Show. Take your time.
c) Be creative in defining your pitch. Remember for each industry there could be a million experts like you. How do you stand out?
3. Use the OPPTY approach
Defined in the “Make yourself an expert” article a 4- step process is considered helpful. This includes:
a) Observation: Shadow an expert/ mentor and see how they solve issues and self-package their expertise. Use verbal and non-verbal cues and keep an open mind. Not to copy, but observe to learn.
b) Practice: Make a SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely) goal plan to learn skill-sets or sharpen expertise areas that you want to invest in. Always be aware of the big picture.
c) Partnering: Work with teams, leaders and your community. Jointly solve issues and ask interesting questions. Provide and seek constructive feedback.
d) Taking responsibility: When ready, take up challenging responsibilities and showcase your abilities. Be authentic.
4. Create a community
Be engaged. Be present. Be human. Be kind. Be authentic. Be seen as a giver. Do not spam!
5. Act the part
While working with McKinsey (and usually the case with most established firms) we had to play the role before we officially had the role. And to look at it from a broader lens than just career promotions, the case in point is: look and act the part you aspire to be. Wear your red frames. Be distinctive!
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