Can we be frank about personal branding in 2024?
Whether you drive personal branding efforts on your own or through a professional publicist you need to be propelled by passions greater than your title. Though I agree that authority drives better credibility, if you only rely on that you might not have a lot to offer to your audience.
Many people want to get visibility but they aren’t clear about who they are and what they want to be known for. Please take my advice, as the old adage goes- “know thyself”.
Refuse anyone else’s idea to mould you into something you can’t live up to. Now I know that it gets a bit fuzzy when your positioning is linked to a brand or a product, but seriously you need to know yourself and your topics of interest.
I emphasise this because I’ve seen too many people trapped by brand and title politics, thereby diluting the personal brand.
You may have the ambition to give back, maybe to guide people to rise above their adversity, or to become better leaders, drive a cause you’re passionate about. But fear and the sound of other people’s critical voices get in the way.
This is where authenticity and courage must be practiced.
You know your stuff. You’ve had noteworthy experiences. You definitely have an opinion or a story.
You may not say it like your favourite thought leader or influencer, but your perspective and unique articulation can be relevant to your fanbase. Say things your way, from your unique point of view.
There are 100’s of millions of businesses around the world because there are hundreds of millions of ways to solve consumer or market problems. You don’t have to follow the loudest or most popular voice.
Be brave and do it your way.
Keep at it
Don’t give up the first time you get no response.
Sometimes people need to hear things a few times to understand your message. For some people it takes one hit and they go viral and for others it takes consistent daily practice. I repeat, don’t give up!
The motivation to build your brand has to transcend virality.
No one, not even artificial intelligence (AI) can determine what will hit a nerve to reach more eyes and ears, be persistent. Be happy with the fact that you’re sharing a message you deeply care about.
Believe that there will be people who feel the same way about your perspective.
Alternatively, you can build a niche audience that can be persuaded to rethink its viewpoint. You have the power to change minds through solid information and new ideas. Your message can touch one person and make a world’s difference.
Remember to create a cadence for when you will share your message.
Use different formats to land your message like blogs, podcasts, infographics and don’t be afraid of video. YouTube has a great creator programme and you don’t need studio quality videos to thrive, but be willing to be bad at first until you get better.
Any platform you deliver your message from needs you to show up consistently. Don’t forget to add variety.
Hone you craft
Building your profile is a craft. Clarify your story, work on it so that it begins to roll off your tongue like honey. Analyse responses to your messages and see what resonates.
What peak’s your audience’s interests within your messaging framework? (do you even have one?) What gets tongues wagging and why?
Use the tools that will show you what works and what doesn’t. Once you’ve built rapport, ask your audience relevant questions to drive stronger engagement.
Do not be afraid
You must be yourself, be original. Sharing your views could liberate someone suffering from rigid conformity and archaic principles.
It takes courage to dismantle or even demystify and modernise outdated beliefs. Bring a different and fresh understanding to your topic of choice. I recently came across a company that advices people how to avoid being duped via email AKA phishing attacks. They were sharing new tactics used by bad actors to disarm their victims. It was so different from previous counsel, that I made sure I read the whole message.
Be ok with debates, disagreements and expressions of discomfort. It creates healthy dialogue. Just remain respectful when someone has a different opinion.
Some may view your opinion as polarising or sparking controversy, but remember new ideas cause fear.
Repeat the message in different ways until it comfortably sinks in (remember variety). Don’t suddenly change your mind because people don’t like it. Understand why there’s a different perspective and accept that you won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.
Leave congeniality to pageantry
I know that social media platforms are a form of pageantry and so is the process of personal positioning.
But if you pander only to what people (not your audience) want, you will lose your path, your story, your brand. Don’t do it, you will confuse yourself and therefore your fans.
It’s nice to be liked for what you really believe in, not what you get moulded to be. You’re not dessert, you’re a human being with incredible insights. Leverage those to build an authentic brand.
Authenticity beats congeniality!
Contact me to discuss your personal branding journey today