Personal branding is how we market ourselves.

Personal branding is a new word for an old truth. Perceptions are reality. And often almost instant. How we are perceived by others does impact on how they treat us, how well we are paid and can limit or unleash careers.

Individuals do not have logos, brands and taglines (necessarily) but we all do have  a brand. People love to gossip and they give people tags – you will have heard people refer to other people as ‘the gossip’, ‘always late’, ‘a workaholic’,  ‘fun’, ‘quiet but clever’, a ‘drinker’, ‘really successful’. Some say it is even worse to trigger the response: ‘Who?’

These tags come from the behaviour, or the perceived behaviour, of the people they are describing or slurring. These tags soon become The Established Truth. By their nature and by definition, we can influence what these tags are. We would be stupid not to try and influence, and improve, how the world sees us. In some cases this may mean changing our behaviour because the negative tags reflect the unpleasant truth. It is not rocket science but it does require a plan with reviews and testing.

Perceptions are reality. The truth is irrelevant.

Just like within a product branding process, you need to define who you are, who your audience is and establish your message. The most important thing you then have to do is to make sure that your behaviour reflects the personal brand that you are trying to project. Then you need to test that your “message” is being received and believed. This can take time.

What do you want to be known for? What do you want to be remembered for?

My Personal Branding – What do I want to be know for?

In my case, I am interested in being, and being perceived as being, discreet and effective in storytelling and personal branding/corporate branding for individuals, politicians and businesses.

How specifically am I useful to people?

Then I have to make sure that people know that I work with clients on

Personal Branding needs to be credible.

In the spin-filled circles where I work it is really important to be what you claim to be – but the same is true everywhere. This impacts on how I act and speak and how I operate with my social media and in real life. You are never what you want to be, but people understand that and will forgive and make allowances if they see you are trying hard and making an effort (and progress) in becoming what you are claiming/aiming for.

Having recently left university with little experience outside of academia, the prospect of job searching and interviews, in what is being described as one of the toughest times for young people to do so, filled me with dread. Having got myself a telephone interview with one of the big four audit firms, I went to Peter to pre-emptively show me where I was likely to go wrong.

In just one day he was able to tear down my hesitant, textbook approach to answering questions and really help build and convey the unique character and skills I should be emphasising, while highlighting the less desirable aspects of my responses.

Now, having gone through all the phases of the graduate programme application, I have been told I have a position within the company. That was the first job interview I have ever attended. Not a bad hit rate, and I have no doubt that it is predominantly down to Peter.

Ben Scully

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