7 Building Blocks of a Solid Personal Brand

What is personal branding? Personal branding is the practice of marketing yourself and your career as a brand. This ongoing, career-long process is an effort to create and amplify an authentic perception of your authority, expertise and professional leadership. Just as with corporate branding, a well-crafted personal brand can create opportunity when done strategically and effectively, and in a way that sincerely represents who you are. 

 

Ready to embrace personal brand-building? Here are seven things to consider:

1.  Image: We’re not talking about your selfie. This means your “image” in a much broader sense. Your social media profile pics are a component of this, but more importantly, to define an intentional image is to define what you want to project to the world. Are you a young attorney who is hungry for success and aggressively climbing the ladder? Are you a seasoned litigator whose reputation precedes you? An ambitious law student who is looking to network and find mentors? The key to your image, as it relates to your personal brand, is knowing who you are and the best way to represent that “image” to everyone else. 

2.  Values: This is a big deal. As a practitioner, your ethics and ethical obligations are constantly being reinforced. Most state CLE boards make it mandatory that you continue to study ethics; it must be awfully important. In an effort to better your professional direction, making your values part of your personal brand can be essential. Does this mean including your voting record for the last few elections? Of course not. But if, in your practice and personal life, your values matter to you - communicate that. People appreciate it, and it is memorable. 

3.  Skills: What are you good at? This may seem like a no-brainer, but do some serious self assessment and identify your strengths. Look outside yourself for an honest reflection; what do you hear most when soliciting feedback from colleagues and clients? Some people are excellent negotiators, others pride themselves on being especially responsive and communicative. Be clear about what you do well, and make it a key feature of your personal brand’s unique value proposition.

4.  Content: What exactly is it that you are putting out there to create your own personal brand? Are you blogging? Are you participating in group discussions on LinkedIn or on a listserv? Carefully consider what content you are publishing for the world to see, and whether that content aligns well with your personal brand, as you have defined it. Touting great values and a professional image? Probably best to avoid distasteful posts on Facebook. Definitely avoid anything unprofessional on LinkedIn—it’s all out there, for everyone to see.

5.  Networking: Get out and get to know people. While COVID has undoubtedly made this tricky, it can still be done. No matter where you are geographically, there is likely an entire accessible “community” of lawyers, legal professionals, and prospects. Get to know them. Connect with them on LinkedIn and follow them on Twitter. Teach a CLE and make an effort to introduce yourself to other top experts. Build meaningful relationships and construct a reputation that reinforces your personal brand. Not sure how to get started? One of the best ways to be an effective networker is to leverage your existing professional relationships and find ways that you can help others make connections and find resources. By doing so, you build an excellent reputation and a constantly growing network of people willing to return the favors: everyone wins. 

6.  Authenticity: Be you. Easy enough, right? We all have unique skills and strengths, and identifying yours and making it part of your brand are important in marketing yourself. Your personal brand is how the rest of the world perceives you, particularly as a professional. You want an authentic brand that reflects your true character—who you really are. The best way to achieve an authentic personal brand is to spend time intentionally exploring these things about yourself and finding the best ways to strategically communicate it to the rest of the world. 

7.  Integrity: Be the person you are selling yourself as. Integrity is the foundation of any successful personal branding effort. When your personal brand is built on integrity, and you establish a reputation as someone who does what they say they will do, opportunities abound.

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