This week I was speaking at The Insurance Technology Congress to some of the most senior individuals in the Insurance sector about building a personal brand online. The talk was met with some blank faces which surprised me since these individuals clearly had a strong brand in person. The few that did understand the importance of translating this to the online community (94% of B2B purchases start online) were quick to follow-up, the majority in HR or Strategy. From my conversations with the professional services sector it appears talent is in short supply so I found the PwC article below particularly interesting explaining why you need to stand out. So why build a brand? Shona Rowan has some great insight. Here are 5 key reasons that I agree are important:

  1. Accelerate your career, with a shortage in talent, if you can demonstrate a credible and reputable brand you will be moved ahead.
  2. Stand out from the crowd, whether you are a graduate or industry executive you are one of many and need to be noticed.
  3. Maximise your first impressions, 78% of purchasing (including staff) starts online. Not only should you have an online presence, just demonstrating a short opinion on topics in your niche will help you achieve 2 and 3.
  4. Be remembered for the right reasons, it might be worth asking someone what they remember you for. If it is not something appropriate think about addressing it. Feedback is important.
  5. Attracting opportunities and creating brand loyalty, try producing a few extra pieces of content online and watch the number of recruiters, discussions and LinkedIn job recommendations you will receive. It also helps you engage with industry peers.

Since the majority of students and professionals spend their day in front of a computer, building a brand could not be easier. Before I attend a meeting I go through my usual online research sequence, it allows me to identify landmines and opportunities. I am aware that others are doing the same to me. It is still the minority that have a strong online presence and if you are in this group you will be ahead of the game. When building a brand ensure you consider your brand assets. What do you bring to the table? I remember sitting through Big 4 accountancy graduate recruitment days during University and very quickly figuring out how you can stand out. Consider the following:

  1. Professional strengths
  2. Personal traits and characteristics
  3. What differentiates you or makes you unique from the others?
  4. Qualifications
  5. Life experiences
  6. Values

When thinking about these assets review both personal and working life since there will be an overlap and you will often need to be communicate these with different people.

With almost a 100% increase in content by lawyers in the last year the attitude of individuals is changing however there is still a huge opportunity to get ahead of the game and create an authentic, reliable and credible brand.