Unlocking your personal brand
By Dominic Colenso
Professional actor and founder of In Flow Training.
My first taste of the power of personal brand came in the summer of 2004. I was 23 years old and playing one of the leading roles in the Hollywood adaptation of the cult TV series Thunderbirds.
As I stepped out onto the red carpet at the film's London premiere something very strange occurred. In a heartbeat I went from complete anonymity to having fans screaming my name and paparazzi snapping my every move. Without even knowing it I had become a brand.
My personal brand opened doors. It got me access to people and places that would have otherwise been off limits. It got me recognised for what I was good at and allowed me to position myself as an expert in my field.
This phenomenon isn't just applicable to actors though. Whether you are self-employed, own a small business or work as an employee, your personal brand has a massive effect on the way other people engage with you.
If you want to create impact and be remembered for all the right reasons you need to attend to what I refer to as the 5 Cs.
What are your core values? What are the things that drive you? Once you connect with your core values it become very easy to choose which direction to travel in. Knowing your core values allows you to easily move towards the things you want and away from the things you don’t. Once other people know what you stand for, they value you more too.
What are you excellent at? It’s very “un-British” but letting the world know your strengths allows your audience to recognise you for your talents. If you don’t let people know about your skills you make it very hard to differentiate yourself. Your expertise is a valuable asset. Don’t be afraid to own it.
The stories that you tell have a powerful effect on your audience. Which moments from your experience best demonstrate your core values and your competency? How can you prove to people that you know your stuff? Stories are ‘sticky’ and will lodge in people’s minds. If you want your personal brand to be memorable, spend time considering the stories you share with the world.
Pay attention to the way you get your message out. There are so many channels of communication open to us in 2016 that it can sometimes feel overwhelming. The most important thing is to communicate in a way that’s authentic to you. You can’t fake a personal brand for long – very quickly your audience will see through the facade. Think about how you embody your message. Are your core values and your competencies reflected across all of your communication? And if not, what do you need to tweak or change?
The final part of the jigsaw puzzle is making sure that your personal brand is consistent. Think of consistency as your insurance policy. Your audience will forgive the odd little hiccup but if the message you send out is constantly changing you will lose their trust and respect very quickly.
Your personal brand is vital to showcasing your talent and turning the people you interact with into raving fans. Take time to develop it and I guarantee you’ll reap the rewards.
Dominic Colenso is the founder of In Flow Training. A professional actor and theatre director, he now works with businesses around the world to unlock creativity, connection and communication.
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Dominic shares his expertise
Local businesses in Hull & East Yorkshire benefit from learning about personal branding ahead of 2017.