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4 Ways To Determine If You Need A Personal Brand Strategy

Updated: Nov 11, 2021

Learn what it takes to build your personal brand equity.

Ever heard of the six degrees of Kevin Bacon? Back in 1994, three college students invented a game where everyone in Hollywood could be linked back to the iconic actor in 6 steps or less. Some took it further, saying anyone in the world could be connected with only 6 degrees of separation.

But a lot has changed in almost 30 years.

With the explosion of the digital world, in particular social media, Facebook has revised this number to 3.57 degrees.

Think about that. You could connect yourself to anyone in the world in less than 4 steps.

This data is more than the starting point for a parlour game, however. It should make everyone sit up and realize the competition is fierce for anyone that wants to stand out from the crowd.

Everyone has a personal brand whether you know it or not.

Think of a personal brand as you would a physical brand, like your favourite coffee or car. You trust it, you know what you’re getting and you’re loyal to it.

With just 3 degrees separating you from 7.7 billion people who could be your next client or customer, what does your personal brand say about you?

It might be time to build a personal brand strategy and here are 4 ways to find out if we mean you!

1. Are you starting a business?

Operating a business is no longer the simple, transactional process it once was. Now it’s personal.

Your personal brand is your business.

With digitalization, the playing field levelled, which means anyone can get skin in the game, regardless of where they came from or who they know. But this means you need a point of differentiation to mark yourself out from a crowded market.

Customers buy into the whole package; they care about who runs the show and what their values and ethics are. And they can find all that out with a few keystrokes and an internet connection.

When potential customers research your business, what impression does your personal brand give? More specifically, what impression do you want it to give?

Inconsistent and poor quality or professional, trustworthy, and high quality?

Your personal brand forms a major part of whether people believe in what you’re selling, whether that’s a product, service or expertise.

Take a cold, hard look at what your current online presence says about you (or ask a trusted friend if you struggle with objectivity) and if it’s anything less than pitch-perfect in terms of branding, you need to build a brand strategy.

2. Are you shifting to a public-facing role?

This is kind of a trick question because these days everyone is in a public-facing role even if they don’t see a single soul in the office.

But for now, let’s take the question at face value. Are you moving to a position where you’ll be meeting clients, customers and buyers?

Well, guess what? Anyone in the world can find out about you, and what you have to say, through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Google.

So the question is, will what they find align with how you want to represent yourself?

Global access to individuals can seem scary but it can actually open doors to fantastic opportunities, as long as your personal brand meets expectations.

If you’ve moved to a public-facing role does your personal brand chime with your organization’s brand? Does it convey confidence, authority and trustworthiness?

These are the qualities that turn potential customers into paying ones and it’s your personal brand that can accelerate your career faster than ever before because your reach is no longer your hometown but the whole world.

And don’t forget, your personal brand and your organization’s brand will become inextricably linked as any mention, quote or article about you will also tag your company. This will give instant credibility to your brand if you’ve given time and thought to it.

Of course, the opposite is true as well: If your current brand consists of your party-animal lifestyle and questionable taste in home décor you’ll be doing your organization no favors as its public face.

So if you’re moving to a public-facing role, it’s time to strategize your online presence.

3. Are you changing careers or industries?

Given it’s so easy to look up strangers these days, it should come as no surprise that recruiters and employers look up job applicants too.

Other than your application, they will have no idea about what makes you tick, how you conduct yourself or if you might be a good fit for their organization. A quick internet search will fill in the gaps, positive or negative.

But if you’re changing sectors completely, can you really sell yourself if your entire resume belongs to another industry?

Well, with a clever personal brand strategy, you can.

Think about what you have now, every piece of knowledge and expertise from your previous role and turn it into a brand for a whole new audience. Reposition and build your personal brand to appeal to a new ‘buyer’

Think about how Netflix went from renting DVDs to becoming a global steaming service or how Amazon went from hawking second-hand books to selling anything you can imagine with next-day delivery.

Or even how McDonald’s repositioned itself from a junk food palace to a health-conscious one by publishing nutritional data and adding healthier options to the menu.

All these big brands took their existing knowledge and platform and reinvented themselves to reach a new market.

If you want to change your career or business sector, then a personal brand strategy can help you do that successfully.

4. Are you planning to scale up your business?

Having a personal brand strategy allows you to take risks.

A sound personal brand attracts investment, inspires confidence in your organization and gives you access to a wider audience. Ultimately, it backs up your value proposition with evidence and authority.

For instance, if you’re planning to scale up, marketing yourself alongside your business can lead to speaking and networking opportunities that can lead to meetings with decision-makers.

If those decision-makers already know you on a personal level, and like what they see, it makes the financial decision that much easier.

They’ll choose to do business with someone they trust, whose brand values align with theirs, over someone with zero online presence or any evidence they know what they’re talking about.

A personal brand strategy gives you an advantage over your competitors.

To put it another way, why do we upgrade our cellphones regularly? It’s not because our old ones don’t make calls, manage our email or play YouTube videos. It’s because of smart marketing and all those shiny new features that we didn’t realize we needed until someone told us.

If you want to scale up your business, then you need to market your own shiny new features and convince investors and customers that they can’t manage without you.

A final word on whether you need a personal brand strategy or not

We mentioned earlier that everyone is public facing, whether they ever see another face or not. That’s because unless you avoid the internet and social media completely, the public can look you, and therefore your business, up.

So, it’s worth asking yourself: What ‘brand’ does your online presence represent? If you don’t like the answer, you need a personal brand strategy.


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