How to build your personal brand: Roger Delves, director of Masters in Management, Ashridge Business

Written by
Changeboard Team

23 Sep 2014

23 Sep 2014 • by Changeboard Team

The importance of brand identity

Some of the most successful leaders and business owners in the UAE are instantly recognisable by the brand identity they have built up. So how can you build a strong, credible and sustainable personal brand to rev up your career and boost your business success?

First, ask yourself:

What are the key strengths you want to be known for? How are you perceived and are you happy with this?

  • Is the image you want to project both credible and sustainable? What is valued in your organisation?
  • How is your style, or way of working, different from your team members? How would you like it to be different?

Successful brands are built on strength – they don’t try to paper over cracks. You need to define your ‘X factor’ to set you apart from your competitors. There are two aspects to brand appeal. The first is rational and tangible and relates to what you do, while the second is emotional and intangible and relates to how you behave. This is the differentiator.

Finding your brand essence

How people respond to you emotionally causes you to stand out – it is your ‘brand essence’. This includes concepts such as your personal presence, charisma, energy, loyalty, openness, emotional intelligence and attractiveness. Think carefully about what you want to focus on and where you want to take your career. Be realistic in developing your brand. Start by writing down your tangible and intangible strengths and map these onto your organisation’s values.

Once you have decided on your brand personality – which is how others see you – make sure everything about you is aligned with this. If you would like to project your brand personality as a creative innovator, don’t dress like an accountant. You can align yourself carefully with the brand image your organisation wants to project or stand apart from it.

Next, network with people who will find your brand image exciting and relevant, and showcase your expertise by, for example, seeking public speaking or writing opportunities. Also, use social marketing tools to widen your brand awareness. Be prepared for challenges: In a competitive environment colleagues might undermine the brand you are trying to create.

Your brand image has to be robust enough to withstand this sort of attack. If, at the first sign of competition, you are seen not to be what you say you are, your brand image will be immediately damaged. Once established, your brand can only change incrementally and over time. Sudden changes in brand images are rarely well-received.

Although personal branding is no substitute for performance, it can be a vital part of how you are perceived and help you remain top of mind with those who matter most. Define it, promote it and protect it.