How to build your personal brand

Sometimes I think about what people might say about me at my funeral. (Please note I have no plans to pop my clogs any time soon) But without sounding morbid I do think this is a valuable exercise to do from time to time. It allows us to focus on our strengths and how we hope our contributions might be  remembered.I like to think I will be remembered for being kind, strong and generous.


I find  when life seems overwhelming – cue life , work chaos, lost school shoes- this exercise helps me centre myself and feel appreciation for who I am and what I have to offer. I am a Gen X so I have experienced life both before and after the rise and rise of social media. I know from my own experience how it has impacted communications and connectivity.

We are living in a time of unprecedented connectivity which presents both opportunity and risk. The big plus is that it has never been easier to make things happen. The big minus is that you run the risk of having the intricacies of your life shared in technicolour glory. Imagine how embarrassing that could be for you personally or, in modern day parlance, impact on your personal brand.

Branding on a business level is well understood, but today branding is becoming just as important on a personal level. Just as for business brands, your personal brand is how you appear to the world.

This is big and presents the reasonable question ‘how do I do that?’ 

We recently had the pleasure of teaming up with Phil Pallen, a global brand strategist and international key note speaker who recently visited New Zealand to speak with the Institute and our members. He shared practical tips on how we can position and promote ourselves effectively and articulately in an ever growing, crowded, and complex digital landscape.

In our interactive workshop, Phil shared how we can stand up and stand out when building our personal brand and some tips on what to do in what order.

  1. Position – Turn a passion into a money-making machine, whether it’s building relationships, selling your company’s services, or landing a new job
  2. Build – Use compelling visuals to stand out from the crowd without being a formally trained designer
  3. Promote – Get in front of your ideal audience with creative content to achieve your goals – whatever they may be!

Phil also spoke about the importance of keeping it simple, setting goals and delegating. 

  1. Keeping it simple. Simplifying our thoughts, and streamlining our life helps to clearly articulate our value proposition to the world. That is our personal brand, our one sentence that speaks about who we are and why someone should care. If this is something you can’t answer in one sentence, then your brand needs help.
  2. Set goals. Ideally try and make your goals achievable. Aiming too high from the outset will lead to frustration and a sense of failure. The benefit of setting goals that are realistic and achievable feels much better in the long run. Think about what you can achieve this year, and work backwards from that. Identify milestones that contribute to your goals and celebrate the little wins along the way.
  3. Learn to delegate more. Doing everything yourself can lead to burnout. Working backwards from great outcomes never comes from just one person. Understand your strengths and play to those. For areas where you don’t naturally shine, seek outside help. Having people outside your brand take over certain responsibilities will ultimately make your brand stronger. You will either end up with a better outcome or you will gain an understanding of what you don’t like and know not to do the same thing next time.

Regardless of where we work, and what we do at the end of the day we are people working with people and that is what makes our business relationships valuable. One thing I know to be true is this. We have a responsibility to be ourselves, because everyone else is taken.


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