Veronica Swindale, MD of Nesma, met up with Simon Clayton, Marketing and Leadership Coach at the Marketing Skills Academy, to talk about the value of developing your personal brand for Northern Insight Magazine.

How has your interest in building a personal brand evolved?

I have worked in the marketing and brand communications sector for over 25 years. During this time, I have provided leadership and strategic change management consultancy and support to a diverse range of public, private and third sector organisations.

While all the organisations are incredibly different, many of the most successful have shared one common attribute – they are built on people rather than on systems and technology – which really excites me!

These ‘human-centred’ organisations have embraced the power of branding – not only from a corporate viewpoint – but also recognising some of their talented and highly skilled employees, which enhances their competitor advantage.

What does it mean?

Personal branding is the means by which people remember YOU for – WHO you are, WHAT you stand for, and HOW you present yourself. This, in turn, impacts and defines how people feel about you – EMOTIVELY, VISUALLY and VIRTUALLY.

Never has the mantra ‘people buy from people’ been so relevant. Today’s customers and consumers are the most highly brand aware than ever before. Our personal brand adds a deeper story and outlook that is separate but closely intertwined with our business brand. It must be unique to you, and, above all, it must be authentic!

What weaknesses do you encounter with clients that personal branding can overcome? 

The three C’s – Clarity, Confidence, and Communication

Clarity in defining their professional ‘identity’ and sharing the value and worth they offer to their stakeholders such as employers, colleagues, peers, and trade partners. 

Confidence in demonstrating their abilities and core strengths to their stakeholders. 

Communication skills enabling them to articulate and share their ideas, vision, and beliefs in the most effective and efficient way possible. 

Have you noticed a shift in capabilities as we move through the generations? 

Different generations respond to marketing tactics and channels differently, and this, in turn, changes the way they interact with brands and businesses. 

Both are incredibly tech-savvy and very aware of their online identities, but their way of communicating and expressing their views is very different. 

How does someone who has worked out their personal branding come across on the page or Zoom? 

If your personal brand is strong enough, people will feel they know you – even when they don’t – because YOU become the highlighting feature of your personal brand’s marketing strategy. 

Plus, if they already have an established personal brand, a recruiter will undoubtedly be aware of you through your social media and professional network (or ‘Circle of Influence’ as I call it). You will have worked hard to earn a name in the industry. 

So, what are the overall benefits of working on your personal brand? 

Personal branding builds authority. Authority builds trust, and trust builds relationships – mutually beneficial relationships! 

If your stakeholders feel they know you and believe that you understand and empathise with their pain points, that increases the likelihood of engaging with you – and if they are a potential customer – eventually buying from you. 

Most engagement and interaction with organisations are carried out online, which has become an increasingly crowded marketplace. Personal branding will help you stand out and separate yourself from your competitors. 

A few final tips from me would be: 

  • Make sure that you and your personal brand are cohesive and sharing the same messaging across different platforms. 
  • Focus on LinkedIn. 
  • Share opinions, thoughts, and your take on industry news to show yourself to be a credible source. 
  • Put your face in the photo or on the video regularly as people are more likely to trust a brand with a real face in the centre. 
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to other brands and influential individuals in your industry and build working relationships. 

If you are interested in building your personal brand, watch out for Simon’s Know-How & Do sessions that will soon be on the calendar on our website www.nesma.co.uk