Understanding that client’s perception of you impacts your relationship and your business is a first step to look into your personal brand.
If you do not have yet a strategy for developing and maintaining your personal branding, here are 5 elements you need to consider.
1. Positioning – start with thinking how you are positioned in the minds of your clients, how you are perceived and how would you like to be perceived. Then evaluate your appearance, behavior and communication to support the message you want to pass. With every action you take, consider how it will be received, what emotions will trigger and how will it reflect on your personal brand. If your behavior will be perceived in a negative way, it will surely influence the way you are perceived and it will become an obstacle to achieving your business goals.
2. Consistency – keep in mind that your image and brand is constantly evaluated and every action is assessed and judged. Therefore, you should work hard on achieving consistency in all three areas – appearance, behavior, communication – to strengthen your brand. If it is perceived as consistent, it gives your clients reassurance on what to expect from you in any given situation. If you consistently deliver on targets, meets deadlines, have a professional look, you are considered reliable and trustworthy.
3. Authority – your personal brand of expert or leader has to command authority. While authority can be imposed by seniority, higher rank, longer service, it is equally important to be earned. And all elements of the image have to support it. If you look good, appear comfortable and confident then the focus is on the conversation and your appearance doesn’t distract from your message. There are many experts in the field, but not all of them are authorities. The difference is, the experts have the knowledge, authorities have the knowledge and the audience because they earned their trust.
4. Branding– your professional image reflects your products and services. You are the business card of your business and very often you are the first point of contact for your clients. Ensure that your appearance is consistent with your message and your image is consistent with your brand. Always strive to be the best possible representation of your company.
5. Timing – timing can make or break everything. Think strategically on introduction of various aspects of your image. Make sure that is not overwhelming. If it is too perfect, too well planned and executed, as it might be perceived as staged or fake. It has to come naturally from within and you have to consistently deliver the same values and qualities. If you are starting with building your personal brand, best take one step at the time and embrace the change. Let it become you first, before you show it to the world. You have to own it and control it, and it has to be an immanent part of you.
- Do you feel like you are not fulfilling your business and personal potential?
- Do you feel like you have more to offer than people see?
- Do you feel your outer presentation doesn’t endorse you in a way you would like it?
Probably it is time to look at your image and see if it you can take charge of the message you truly want to deliver. If you came to the conclusion that your client’s perception of you and your business is not as you would like it to be, it is time to make the decision to focus and invest in areas that impact the way you are perceived.