Building A Personal Brand: The Importance Of Standing Out From The Crowd

Building a personal brand can be one of the most daunting experiences a business owner can go through.

Not only do you have to identify what your personal brand actually is but you also have to ensure that what you put out into the world aligns with what you’re trying to achieve for your product, service or business. 

And whilst you might have a specific idea of what your personal brand should be, it’s absolutely crucial to also project a sense of authenticity and protect yourself from opening up more than you would like to publicly.

Although the challenges surrounding building a personal brand can sometimes be similar between men and women it’s generally understood that women face particular challenges stemming from the stereotypes of what a woman in business should look like.

For example women frequently have to deal with gender based stereotypes and biases that impact how their personal brand is perceived. Take me, for example, I’ve encountered multiple instances in my career where despite a nearly 30-year-career in media and marketing and having been at the helm of my own businesses since my early 20s some people can’t get past my inability to conform, to keep my mouth shut and instead saying it like it is, or the pink hair or the mad trainers or the no holes barred social posts. For some people these physical attributes and personality traits simply don’t fit their perception of what an experienced, highly skilled business woman is.

Personally, I think this is a good thing for me. My personal brand, company persona and industry mean these misconceptions and judgements only ensure I don’t attract business from people I simply wouldn’t want to do business with.

Not everyone is that lucky, for some businessmen and women their personal brand needs to be a very carefully crafted version of themselves that suits their workplace, business or industry expectations.

No matter on what level you are creating your personal brand, standing out from the crowd is one of the most important things you need to achieve. This doesn’t mean like me you will have a physical appearance or personality that stands out. For some people you may stand out for other reasons, such as:

  1. Expertise

If you have a specific set of skills and expertise that sets you apart from your peers, simply highlighting this more publicly can help to craft a thought leadership style narrative that centres around what you know, how you apply that knowledge and the manner in which you can confidently speak and/or train others.

  1. Creativity

It may be the case that your creative mind, ideas and ability to develop thoughts and concepts helps you stand out from the crowd by being able to present information and/or artistic works in a manner others wouldn’t have or haven’t thought of.

  1. Innovation

Being able to think differently and [problem solve or create new ways of looking at things or doing them is always going to help someone differentiate themselves from their peers. Getting recognised in your industry through innovative inventions, awards, invitations to speak and more can all contribute towards your personal brand.

  1. Disruptiveness

Sometimes the best way to stand out is to throw the cat among the pigeons and be the person saying what others are thinking or developing new ways of looking at particular thoughts, behaviours or challenges within your industry or sector.

  1. Educator

Being the person willing to educate others and being someone who is generous with their knowledge can quickly elevate you and your personal brand to a place of authority. When people turn to you to deliver training or important knowledge they are contributing to your personal brand as an educator.

  1. Cause Driven

When you stand up and be counted and make it clear what your social, political, economic, moral or ethical values are in an industry or sector where it is unusual you will quickly create a personal brand that heavily aligns you with the subject you are willing to speak about. This could be anything from climate change, poverty and homelessness right through to education, innovation or the economics of your industry among other things.

  1. Personality

For many people unleashing their whole authentic personality can be a stressful experience, especially if, for many years, they have diluted it down to try to conform. However, the more authentic you can be the more likely people are to gravitate towards you regardless of what that natural personality is.

  1. Appearance

More often than not appearance can help develop a personal brand quickly and effectively. Simply honing your personal style, becoming more comfortable in your own skin and showing up each day in a way that fosters confidence in you can help to develop who you are to the outside world. Whilst I opt for bold colours and a vibrant look it’s just as easy to develop your personal brand in pastels, neutrals or using other elements of style.

Most people’s personal brand will be a mixture of a number of these elements that when carefully curated together begin to develop the whole person rather than just one element. There’s no hard and fast rule, you might choose to cultivate something from each category or focus on just one or two.

Your personal brand will represent a unique combination of skills, experience and personality that you bring to your professional life. It represents how you present yourself to the world both online and offline.

A carefully considered personal brand will encompass everything that makes you you in the context of your business and work life.

When spending time considering your personal brand you need to “sell” yourself in the same way you would sell your business, brand, product or workplace.

Ask yourself “what is my unique selling point and what actions can I take to reinforce this narrative?”. Each interaction you have with your colleagues, peers, clients and wider public contribute to how your personal brand is perceived which is why doing the groundwork to ensure it aligns with your professional goals, objectives and personal values is absolutely crucial.

If you want to hear more about my story or delve into these personal brand elements further join me at the Mums At Work, Elevate Your Business conference on Monday March 25th at the Tullyglass Hotel in Ballymena. Tickets on sale now – BOOK HERE

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