Everyone in business recognizes strong brands and understands their importance. Coca-Cola. Nike. Apple. These brands represent certain values. Their branding helps drive sales by keeping their products or services fresh in the consumer’s mind.
Independent consultants need to think the same way. You need to be top-of-mind when the need for your expertise pops up so the client thinks to call you, or their colleague thinks to refer you.
In our field this is called personal branding. It’s not about creating a fancy logo or website; it’s about being known for something and consistently emphasizing your expertise. It’s about your reputation. It’s about your image, how you’re perceived in the workplace and online. It’s how you promote yourself and “go to market.” And it’s an ongoing effort.
Personal branding is not just some touchy-feely, trendy idea, or something that just happens. It takes conscious thought and repeated attention.
Every self-employed professional should consciously create their brand and have key elements in place.
Even if you plan to build a larger firm, in the beginning it’s your personal brand that matters. Consider personal branding as a foundational step in building your business.
5 Steps for Creating or Refining Your Personal Brand
1. Clarify what you do and/or what makes you different from other consultants. Personal branding is about truly knowing yourself—your values, your strengths, your sweet spot—and having the confidence to highlight and leverage that information. Start by answering some basic questions:
For more help, use the tips and worksheet in my previous blog post Know Your Niche.
2. Develop a “tagline” or one-sentence summary. This concept is borrowed from advertising.