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Ideas & Observations

Why it’s time to embrace personal branding

Since relaunching the magazine 18 months ago, we’ve used this platform to share our thinking on the future of print, creative and marketing. In this issue, we’re thrilled to invite Lisa Eaton, managing director of Unwritten and Fabric, to share her thoughts on personal branding. Here, Lisa explores how personal branding can have a positive impact on your business

Us Brits are renowned for being relatively reserved creatures.

It’s almost built into us that we shouldn’t blatantly flaunt our achievements, experience or knowledge. Confidence is a great attribute, but, shh… keep it to yourself.

That’s how it sometimes feels, anyway.

In the age of the selfie, TikTok videos and endless Instagram posts showcasing our latest culinary creations, we’ve gradually grown more accustomed to sharing our personal lives online.

But when it comes to our professional worlds, many of us feel daunted by the idea of positioning ourselves as thought leaders or subject experts. However, working on your personal brand is a great habit to invest in.

The business benefits

Allowing your team members to spend time investing in their personal brand can reap huge rewards for your business, and it can help position them as an integral
member of the team too.

We know that people buy from people. We are naturally curious beings and we

relate to other humans more than we do to a corporate logo.

Plus, research shows that individuals have up to ten times the reach – and much higher engagement levels – than corporate brands on social media platforms.

Employers can sometimes be overly cautious about team members becoming too successful and being headhunted.

But at the end of the day, the freedom you give them to grow their own profile is a benefit of working with you.

So don’t be afraid of raising them up and getting them noticed – after all, this is the whole point – it reflects brilliantly back on the business.

Support your employees to build their online presence, give them the space and time they need, and you’ll watch your talent pipeline increase over time.

You can be both unique and on-brand

Everyone has different opinions – loves, hates, personality traits – and our brand values should be flexible enough to celebrate such diversity. After all, who’s going to buy into a two-dimensional brand?

We can absolutely be on-brand without policing an army of online clones. In fact, it’s truly beneficial for businesses to give their employees free rein as a way of promoting company culture.

If you say your culture is dynamic, creative and energised, yet stifle employee output, you’re really showcasing the opposite.

So freedom is key for your team if you want them to live, breathe and promote a creative and authentic brand.

Plus, when others see your team behaving passionately and being advocates for the sector and the business, they’ll want a piece of it too.

A professional online presence shouldn’t be rigid, structured and fifty shades of grey (in the literal sense) – unless, of course, that’s what your brand stands for?

How to put your own personal brand work into practice

Firstly, if you’re going to go for it, then you need to commit to it.

There’s no point putting effort in for a couple of weeks if you’re going to ghost your followers for the next three months – consistency is key.

You also need to be clear on what your personal brand is going to focus on. What do you want to be known for, and how will it benefit your business?

It’s also important to understand the context – are you a subject expert, or somebody who is passionate about starting conversations on a chosen topic on a peer-to-peer basis?

Both are valuable – but you need to position yourself appropriately.

You don’t need to be the best or most knowledgeable, or to be at the forefront of every trend, you just need something interesting and relevant to say.

However, it’s also good to let some of the ‘personal you’ shine through – be genuine, write or speak with your voice.

And don’t be afraid to show your own learnings and mistakes along the way.

It’s also important to remember that we are all different. You’re not doing this to be a people pleaser – you’re doing this to start conversations. Not everyone will agree with your views and that’s OK. Don’t take it to heart – it’s rarely personal.

In summary, personal branding is an amazing way to raise your profile and really stand out in a crowded marketplace.

It’s not egotistical – it’s essential. It works and it really adds value to the business.

So show the world who you are and what you’re about.

Lisa Eaton
Managing director
Unwritten & Fabric