Everyone has a personal brand. A brand is how people perceive a product, company, or individual. It is more than just a name or logo, it's that familiar feeling these assets invoke.
Branding as a concept has evolved past being associated with only products or companies. The principles of branding that have helped organizations like Apple, Coca-Cola, and Nike stand out, build massive communities and drive record-breaking earnings can now be applied to individuals.
In this article, we will provide some easy tips and nuggets for how finance professionals like yourself can revamp or boost their personal brands.
What is Personal Branding?
Your personal brand is the sum of who you are as a person, how you present yourself, and how others perceive your skills, accomplishments, and experiences.
I will give an example of someone who has a great personal brand that is distinct from the businesses they run—Richard Branson. While he is known as one of the richest men in the world, his personal brand is one that’s marked by adventure, risk-taking, and empathy. Branson has built an effective personal brand that establishes him as an authority in the business world.
As an accountant, building a personal brand is pivotal, not just as a way to become popular but also to ensure the right people see you as a thought leader in this space. This provides you with a stream of opportunities viz career progression, new customers, speaking engagements and mentorship opportunities, etc.
When you build your brand, you're positioning yourself as an expert who can help others solve their problems.
A strong personal brand can help you:
Simply put, personal branding is a way to stand out from the crowd. It's an identity that creates trust and reinforces the quality of your ideas and work.
The brand you create for yourself is who you are as a person and what people think of you professionally. If you feel like you are not getting the recognition you deserve, it's time to take action.
In all my years of branding and marketing companies, products as well as thought leaders, I can tell you this for free; the general perception of accountants and finance professionals is - cautious and conservative. This is reinforced by the lack of risk-taking by accountants in most workplaces.
I am not requesting that you dispel the perception completely, but from a branding perspective, the best way to stand out in a sea of professionals is to do something different.
To capture the attention of the right people, you will need to show your target audience that while you have the requisite knowledge to thrive as a finance professional, you are not afraid to think outside the box.
Being good at what you do isn't enough. You need to be able to position yourself as an expert in your field and make sure people know it.
Before you start building your brand, make sure you know:
Want to build a more recognizable personal brand? We've outlined some of the major steps to get you started on the right path. Use these tips to give your brand a boost.
Your resume will go ahead of you before you ever show up in any room. Let it be excellent and a true representation of your skills, career achievements, and aspirations.
Together with a resume, a good portfolio instantly amplifies your expertise. Create case studies to outline the projects and processes you have been a part of. Highlight the problems, objectives, and your contribution towards solving them.
Proper pictures help to depict you as the expert that you are. It is advisable to keep it simple and clean formal wear. In the same vein, you need a bio consisting of the long, medium, and short versions depending on where it’s needed.
Thought leadership is one way to establish your brand as an expert in this field. Your profession involves advising individuals, businesses, and corporations on money-related matters.
What better way to pass on your expertise than to pass on your knowledge to the next generation! Find a platform or create one where you can share your skills, experiences, and lessons.
Personal branding today is not complete with content creation. Content marketing is selling without screaming “for sale”. It is simply providing relevant information to your audience in a way that endears them to your brand and nudges them towards a profitable value exchange.
This might seem like a no-brainer but it’s vital. As someone who offers advisory constantly, one key way to sharpen your voice is to be on the cutting edge in your field.
Creating content that helps you stand out is great. You also need your audience to engage with it. Make sure all your social media profiles have clear pictures of you with good bios that reflect your expertise.
A community of like-minded people provides a smaller audience you interact with on a deeper level compared to a broader crowd. Communities also give room for collaborations and lasting partnerships. Be active, and engage with others on the platform. Like this one here!
From industry events to free webinars, an event is a hub for meeting diverse individuals that could interact with your brand. There are even more perks from events. For example, hosting your own events is a sure way to grow your prospect list. Use a mix of online and offline events to achieve different objectives
Take a moment to think about some of the professionals in your network with great personal brands, they’re already implementing a number of the tips above. If yours is not the same level as theirs, do not be intimidated, Building a rewarding personal brand takes time. It’s like the proverbial tree that one should have planted twenty years ago but can still be planted today. So get started!
Instead of being intimidated, focus on this instead. As you get on this journey, with time you'll be known for doing good work in your niche and making meaningful contributions to your community (and making new friends along the way). And that's something that you can't put a price on.
In closing, a personal brand boils down to one thing: who you are, what you do, and why. But it's more than just talking about yourself—it's putting yourself out there and standing behind your words. Having a consistent identity reinforces the quality of your ideas and work, which creates trust.
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