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You want to build your personal brand? Lose the clichés.

May 01, 2018
back of man
Written by
Tara Wickwire

Tara Wickwire

I had a good laugh recently when I came across a Fast Company piece that clocked the fact that everyone is a ‘passionate, experienced, motivated leader’ on LinkedIn. So true. And why would you want to be perceived otherwise?

Because in 2018, ‘building your personal brand’ has become as common as Crossfit reservations and Matcha Tea Instagrams. So you really need to figure out how you are going to stand out as your authentic self. Yes, I used the A word.

Authenticity, coupled with a generous dose of originality, is where people can be more successful when formulating and developing their own personal brand space. For everyone from Executive Assistants to Event planners, to CEOs, you need to stand for something and define your expertise with carefully crafted language and curated affiliations who will help amplify and endorse this message. And like the old saying goes, you don’t need to be all things to all people.

As an observer, you know yourself, you glaze over at the ‘team players’ and ‘self-starters’. Those days are over. The question you’re asking is, what is this person bringing to the table as a professional that compels me to connect with them, follow them, hire them, engage their services, join their network, join their company or invite them to speak at a conference?

In the cluttered airspace that is life, if you’re looking to develop your brand, you want to take your profile one step further in terms of defining your values, interests and expertise and what makes you a great colleague and leader.

The three starting points for this are quite simple:

  • Revive your bio. The easiest way to do this is extracting the bullet points of experience, add newer bullets of experience (and interests) and start writing the whole thing from scratch. Make friends with a good copywriter who will be able to transform your language. You will want to be able to cover up the name at the top and recognize that person as exclusively YOU. Bios live everywhere and are far more important than the weight of your business card.
  • Define your narrative. Don’t overthink this one. What are you really passionate about? What gets your attention beyond the screen? I recently reconnected with an old friend who has been avidly coaching a U14 girls’ softball team three days a week. Her passion for this is very clearly a big part of her brand. Grooming the female leaders of tomorrow through teambuilding and sport is an example of something that should be highlighted in your professional profile; not just notable revenue numbers and retention stats.
  • Be provocative. As my colleague Ellie would say ‘don’t be boring’. In the face of social vulnerabilities, people tend to shy away from bold statements or commentary. Make your mark – stand for something. You will quickly find many others in your network who will relate and you will be able to pivot from banality to a current, exciting reality.

Have fun getting there!

For more of Tara’s thoughts on personal branding and regular drip coffee, follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

——— Tara Wickwire is a former Associate Vice-President at NATIONAL Public Relations