Last week, I wrote a blog post about how your company’s brand is impacted by nearly everything it does. Well guess what? The same thing applies to your personal brand, as well! And yes, just like a company, whether you want to or not, you do have a brand out in the markets you serve. And just like a company’s brand, the market will determine what yours is… that is, what they think of you when they see you or hear your name.
No, you can’t control what they think, but you can influence it. And to help, here are 3 things that can proactively impact your personal brand in the marketplace.
- Write. A lot. Showcase your research knowledge… your specific industry knowledge… your observations and your unique perspective on the world around us. That writing could be in blog posts, in social media posts, in a book, etc. It doesn’t matter where it is, just write! Frequently and consistently.
- Speak. Like writing, speaking gives the marketplace an opportunity to understand your expertise, your perspective and your opinion. But unlike writing, speaking allows people to hear and – in most cases – see you, giving them a deeper sense of “knowing” you. Again, the vehicle doesn’t really matter – podcasts, videos, webinars, speaking of conferences, hosting workshops, etc. – just speak!
- Be visible. Aside from sharing your expertise, ideas and opinions, being ‘out there’ is critical to your personal brand. And like writing and speaking, more is better. Even in these challenging times, there are still of a lot of opportunities to be seen and – in the process – build and enhance your personal brand.
- Attend conferences. Even when not presenting, attend conferences (yes, virtual ones, too). Aside from all of the learning opportunities, being at conferences allows you to see and be seen. To network and connect with others.
- Be active on social media… and not just as part of the writing (#1 above). Write posts that engage others. Share links to interesting content. Comment on posts that others write. Maybe even have a little fun. This is something you should be doing every day!
- Get involved. There are so many opportunities to get involved in our industry… to join and support associations, to volunteer with those associations and their events, to write for those organizations, and so on. In general, to be one of those people that others turn to for a little help… and get it. Every time.
Examples in Our Industry
There are hundreds of research professionals who ‘check all the boxes’ above and who have built and nurtured a strong personal brand, but here are four that come to mind for me when I think about some of the most compelling people in our industry.
Merrill Dubrow, MARC Research. Merrill certainly checks all of the boxes above… in spades! He’s a frequent speaker, panelist and moderator at conferences. He is the co-chair of the Insights Association’s annual CEO Summit. Merrill used to be a very frequent blogger, but has transitioned to podcasts in the last couple of years. And most recently, he spearheaded the development of the IRG, the Insights Resource Guide, a publication that shares a ton of industry resources, particularly helpful for those professionals in career transition.
Kristin Luck, ScaleHouse. It’s been interesting to watch Kristin‘s brand evolve… from well-known business owner to business seller to board member… and always a thought leader. And through it all, she has stayed engaged in our industry speaking at conferences and sharing her wisdom on social media. And now, she’s running for office with ESOMAR.
Ryan Barry, Zappi. Aside from leading one of the most successful tech-oriented firms in our industry, I have never been to an event where Ryan Barry hasn’t also been. He seems to be everywhere. But what really sets Ryan’s personal brand apart is his presence on LinkedIn. He does a masterful job of not just showcasing what’s going on at Zappi, but also weaves in fun and entertaining posts from his personal life. More than virtually anyone else in our industry, because of that, you get a sense of the real and authentic Ryan Barry.
Camille Nicita, Gongos. When I hear Camille‘s name, I think two things immediately… quiet leadership and company culture. When she speaks at conferences or writes on LinkedIn or for Forbes magazine… it’s not necessarily about research, but often about effective leadership and how to build and instill in every employee a culture at your company. And like the other three listed above here, Camille is one of the nicest people on the planet… not a bad attribute to have as part of your personal brand.
You do have a personal brand. And you can a) choose to develop that brand to benefit yourself, your company and the markets you serve… or b) ignore your brand and hope everything works out OK.
I’m not sure option B is such a good strategy…