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Personal branding for career success
Personal branding for career success

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4 Advanced personal branding – the next level

The marketing industry is fast paced and innovative, and it is only a matter of time before innovations in product branding are applied to the personal branding process.

A hand places a yellow Lego brick on top of a stack of 5 grey ones.
Figure 4 Going up a level

Gilbert (2017) focuses on really understanding your audience or community, and using digital marketing techniques and tools to explore their needs and test new ideas. She offers the following advice:

  • Find out where your community is active – consider other places where your audience can be reached, e.g. podcasts. Create a mix of blog posts, infographics, videos, slideshows, etc. to reach as wide an audience as possible.
  • Leverage social groups – connect with your community, e.g. on Facebook, and find out what topics interest them. Use these existing communities to test new ideas, e.g. how-to videos.
  • Go to the Q&A websites, e.g. Quora, and use them to spot new trends and find out what’s important to your community.
  • Track your progress – use the tools available on your social media platforms to count number of interactions, subscribers, clicks, etc.

For more details about different analytical tools, Sehl (2018) offers a useful guide to beginners using social media analytics. Find the link to her Hootsuite blog in the Further reading [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] section at the end of the week.

Gilbert’s suggestions are particularly relevant if you are trying to build a group of followers, either to market your services to, or to position yourself as an expert in your field.

This theme is also picked up by Harr (2018) in her ‘roadmap’ for professionals or experts who want to build their personal brand. Her approach is about maximising visibility, which she categorises in 5 levels:

  • Level 1 – Resident Experts These experts are well respected within their firms (companies/organisations) and by their clients but they have little visibility outside those audiences.
  • Level 2 – Local Heroes These individuals are beginning to become known outside their firms. They are more active in their local business communities, often speaking at business functions and blogging.
  • Level 3 – Rising Stars These experts have developed a regional reputation. They are fairly well known among peers in their area, and they speak and write frequently on their area of expertise.
  • Level 4 – Industry Rock Stars These names are well known across the nation for their niche areas of expertise.
  • Level 5 – Global Superstars The world’s elite experts, Global Superstars have broken out of their niches and become recognised more broadly in their industries.

Harr then goes on to outline seven critical tools that you need to include in your personal branding strategy if you want to achieve the higher levels. They are:

  • A book
  • Speaking engagements
  • A website
  • A blog platform
  • Email marketing service
  • Search engine optimisation (SEO)
  • A media kit – with bios, speaking samples and photos.

While some of these ideas might feel overambitious at this stage, they may well be assets you want to aim for at some point in the future.

Of course, as personal branding evolves and becomes more advanced, employers want to embrace those innovations and change their processes too.

Rogers (2018) describes how some employers are ‘ditching old fashioned CVs in favour of highly digital, behaviour-focused strategies for attracting diverse talent.’ She describes various examples of new and innovative recruitment techniques, including:

  • Using artificial intelligence to match graduates to roles within a business. ‘Applicants are asked to film their answers to questions that pop up on their computer screen. The videos are then scanned by algorithms, which analyse the words used, how confidently the sentiment is expressed and how concisely the argument is presented.’
  • Using ‘escape room’ type activities to test problem solving and creative thinking.
  • Doing away with CVs and instead asking ‘candidates to submit a piece of work around what motivates them as people from a work or personal perspective.’ They can submit their answer ‘in written form, as a video, a voice file or even a link to a blog.’

In the future, it sounds like our opportunities to share our personal brand with employers could become even more interesting!

Activity 5 What motivates me?

Timing: Allow about 15 minutes

If a potential employer asked you to write a short piece about what motivates you, what would be your key points? List them in the box below:

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Do the points you made align well with your personal brand? Did they reflect your values, strengths, career goals, etc.

If not – has this activity given you any new ideas to add in to your story/elevator pitch, etc.?