Although the terms brand and branding don’t mean the same, people use them interchangeably. Your personal brand describes who you are and what you do. It is how people identify, know and remember you.
The value of your personal brand is not based on how many social media followers or blog subscribers you have. Instead, it means providing great value in one or more unique ways that people consider you a thought leader and an influencer, in your particular niche.
Building Your Brand
If you wish to establish a strong personal brand, you must define and communicate its characteristics, values, and attributes well.
Focus on who you are and what you have to offer the market. Consider your strengths, values, and passions. Reflect on your expertise, experiences and leadership vision. If you are sure of yourself, you will come across as authentic and purposeful.
Be clear of what your passions are and what you wish to create. Also, consider how your offering would help satisfy the requirements of potential employers or clients and alleviate their problems. Purpose is indispensable in branding because it taps into feelings.
Understand what others perceive as your strengths, weaknesses, successes and failures. Use this to describe yourself. Also include what you want to be known for in the future. Such things are the building blocks to your personal brand.
Be sincere, authentic and unique. It will resonate with your intended audience. People perceive personal brands that make grandiose claims, but under-deliver, as hollow and even fraudulent.
Identify who your audience is and where to find them. They should be people who can relate to you and would be loyal to your brand. Moreover, the choice of advertising platforms and nature of promotional campaigns should be based on their characteristics and preferences.
Convey what makes you unique to your business contacts and how you can help them. Your brand promise stems from this. Your audience should receive an expected and sure outcome by engaging with your brand. Happy customers, clients, co-workers, or business owners may later become your brand ambassadors.
Present your value proposition creatively by choosing mediums you are comfortable with. Create a great resume, business cards, and LinkedIn account using content that matches your brand. Make sure your other social media accounts don’t endanger your brand. Represent yourself in a way you want your audience to view you, assume they will look up anything about you online. Ensure that your online and offline image always reflect your core values.
Build relationships with other thought leaders to increase exposure and social following. Find people who create great products or offer great services; connect and collaborate with them. Ensure that everyone gains in the process.
Branding Tips for Finance Professionals
Marketing and branding doesn’t always come naturally to many finance professionals, but it is vital as you climb the ladder or begin a job search. Asking your organizations leaders for tips and advice can give you great insights and a head start in your career.
However, as key decision makers are essential to running a business, it can be difficult to find time to talk with them, as most don’t have the luxury of free time in their busy schedules. If you do happen to catch them outside of their office, whether that’s in a job interview, at a happy hour, or around the office coffee pot, be sure to use what time you do have with them wisely. Ask great questions, guide the conversation and allow these decision makers to get to know you and how you think.
Apart from the general brand building guidelines, the following will help enhance your reputation:
Reinforce your core strengths
Understand your organization well and institute a strong finance team. Maintain the integrity of financial reporting. Be vigilant about the business. Convey its financial position and outlook positively and effectively.
Facilitate all business processes
Evaluate your position in the organization’s structure and culture. Master critical soft skills and drive credibility by changing your image from controller to enabler. Help all business units to perform well.
Be a good leader
Maintain a great relationship with your C-suite colleagues. Formulate and communicate strategy that increases business growth. Be open, engaging and observant enough to realize and fulfill your goals and that of the organization.
You can manage the way people perceive and respond to your brand by creating an emotional connection with them. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t succeed instantly. Assess and adjust your efforts continuously to remain on track.