In the age of every increasing automation and technology change we could be forgiven for believing that the importance of an individual professional (Accountant/Solicitor/Adviser) is becoming of secondary importance.
It is a fact that the Internet is creating a tsunami of information and it is becoming increasingly difficult for professionals and their firms to stand out from the crowd. What differentiates you in the market where your competitors have a similar range of products, services and pricing that can be compared online or by email without ever meeting you? What would make them reach out to you in a world with an ever increasing number of choices?
It is your brand that makes you stand out from the crowd. It is what puts you front of mind of potential clients. It allows them to differentiate you from the crowd. Building a strong personal brand will make you a recognisable expert in your field and attract a flow of new enquiries, no matter the market or economic environment.
Success is now based on your ability to build your personal brand and your personal profile; coupling this with the strength of your company brand and the many sub brands of the services you offer.
Standing out from the crowd
Creating a personal brand involves stepping out from the crowd and making yourself seen and heard by your target market. One enduring feature of this business is hiding your light under a bushel will not reap you the greatest of rewards. Although for many of us, who may not have been raised to be boastful or to hog the limelight, it can be challenging. It can also be challenging to give time to personal brand development when you have so many competing demands.
Who are going to call?
Ideally branding will be a central part of your business development strategy. Below are a number of steps that can help you improve your personal brand so that when a potential client or even an existing client considers the need for a service, they contact you.
- Identify your Brilliance
What do you want peers, prospects and clients talking about when your name comes up? What is your expertise? Pick your natural competitive advantages for your ideal clients. What areas do you enjoy at the moment? What are your most used services?
- Mind map your Brand
Now that you know what you want your personal brand to be. What are the key factors both internal and external that can influence your personal brand? Order them in importance and then rate yourself out of 10 in each category. This will reveal an action list in order of priority to address any shortfalls. If you require assistance to implement, who in your team or externally can help? A third-party review of your mind map process can be beneficial.
- Product champions
Your clients are your greatest potential advocates, what message are they sharing? Ask them? Often it is not the one you want. Help clients refer you, by giving them clear and repeatable messages about your personal brand, in conversations, advice documents, marketing material, emails etc. This will have your message front of mind in their conversations with friends, spreading your brand by “word of mouth”
- Sharing the good news – You’re an expert!
You know you are an expert but does your target audience who needs these skills know? You have implemented great solutions in your business but does the world know? This “perception gap” can be frustrating but can only be addressed by getting your message out to your target audience. Having a blog is a great starting point to provide a platform for communicating your message.
Contact the relevant publications in your industry to get yourself published. It is a great way of attracting new clients and reconfirming in the mind of your existing clients the wisdom of their initial decision. Create an “in the media” section on your website to illustrate your public recognition and your expertise.
- Hashtag, Tweet, @
Social media platforms are an important way to share your expertise and your story, the why you do what you do. Keeping your message focused and consistent across platforms will ensure it builds your brand’s expertise. Tools like Hootsuite are useful for this. Before any post ask, is this consistent with my brand and does it add value to the readers? Banal, self-promotional posting will have the opposite effect and turn off the interest of any potential clients/supporters to all your posts.
The world has gone online and it is has become a very crowded digital field; so making sure your messaging enhances your personal brand by adding value is essential to attracting and growing your following.
In today’s market you cannot afford not to put time and effort into developing your personal brand. Your business depends upon it. Successfully building and maintaining your personal brand will have people seeking you out as an expert no matter the economic environment. You are an expert already, you just need to let them know!
“ Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business” Steve Forbes
Author; Frank Mulcahy, is the principal at Trinity Financial Management, he provides a specialised service to families, to ensure they win the money game by making smart decision with their money.
This article is provided on the strict understanding that it is for the reader’s general consideration only. Accordingly, no action must be taken or refrained from based on its contests alone.