Does your personal image match the person who shows up online or in your marketing materials? In personal branding, we can spend hours and dollars developing our message, our value proposition, defining our talents and passions and even targeting our audiences. Yet it can all fall apart if our interactions, in-person and online, don’t present the brand we’ve worked so hard to develop. Many people fall into the reverse trap – they design a snazzy website, clever business cards, cutting edge YouTube channel, and yet when you meet them there is nothing snazzy or inspiring about them. Their marketing image does not match their identity. It’s not authentic. It appears they just got in touch with a great designer.
Something Isn’t Sitting Well…
When Cathy called me from Boston, she thought she had a simple problem. She was about to pull the trigger on a new website for her consulting business, and something just didn’t feel quite right. She couldn’t put her finger on it.
We decided together that a personal branding project was in order. Cathy’s business was a direct extension of her personality, reputation and network of contacts. Therefore, it needed to matchup closely with her personal brand. I decided not to look at the website design until after we had done our work.
In our work together, I learned that Cathy was passionate about action. She talked fast, ran ideas together quickly and was attracted to clients who were equally energetic and results-driven. Cathy was upbeat, happy, creative and Type A. A successful sales executive for many years, she had an extensive network of high performing clients and prospects.
After assessing the results from her brand feedback and dissecting the functional and emotional needs of her audiences, I looked at the website mockup. No wonder Cathy’s stomach hurt!
The colors were subdued… the imagery was passive… and across the top the copy read, “Are you tired and burned out? We can help.” How de-motivating!
In her brand framework documents, I provided Cathy with new language, marketing direction and tone suggestions. We shared this framework with her web designer and within a couple of weeks, came back with a home run. The new site reflected her energy, attracted the attention of her dynamic target audience, and the copy was bold and direct, just like Cathy. She told me months later that her website became a true reflection of who she wanted clients to get to know. The mistake she’d originally made, as she described it, was focusing on the “decorating” before building the “foundation.”
Discover and Present the Real You
Personal branding is not only for people in a job search or major life transition. It is the process of how each of us articulates our value proposition to a target audience and builds a compelling reputation. In order to effectively develop and communicate a solid personal brand, we need to know who we are, how we want to be perceived, who we need to focus our efforts towards and what results we expect to receive. These are all important ingredients in this personal branding formula. Leave one out and it just doesn’t work the same way.
Elizabeth Suarez says
Excellent recommendations. It is so true. We all practice and worry about our personal appearance and actions, but then overlook our website due to time or money limitations. A big no, no. I have a colleague that is outstanding and well known in her field. However, she always complains that she can’t go the next level. I just ask her, how’s your website coming along. Her response; “I don’t have time”. I have forward this outstanding blog to her. Hopefully this time she gets the hint and acts on it.
Lida Citroen says
Thank you, Elizabeth! You are an example of someone who represents consistently and authentically online and in person. Kudos to you!