Personal brand communication: What my clients are doing in crisis

by | May 19, 2020 | Career Planning, Humanistic Marketing, Personal Brand

We are all manoeuvring through unknown territory right now and there are many positive and negative outcomes observable all around us. In this series on ‘Online Personal Brand Tips for Crisis Mode’, I want to share some of my observations and the lessons we can take from them, when it comes to your personal brand.

Article 1 was about the dangers of unchecked confusion and emotion online.

In Article 2, I related my personal experience with ‘identity’ during isolation, and why personal branding is so helpful right now.

In this article:

Whether you are communicating to a team, as part of a team, or purely from the perspective of your own personal brand… these communication tips are relevant now.

Plans have changed, communication agendas have changed.

Whether they are business owners and CEOs leading organisations, board members forging a path forward, consultants growing/recovering their client base or executives looking for a new role, the clients with whom I’m working on personal brand positioning and communication right now are doing things differently.

It’s certainly a challenge to plan a communication strategy that fits these difficult and constantly evolving times! There is the worry that you may miss the mark with your content, losing people’s attention and trust. Or that your offering is no longer relevant. Or that there is too much noise and you’re just adding to the pile, blending in. Or you simply don’t know where to focus now, and how quickly that will change – again.

But there are some constants we can still be certain of: Your personal brand strategy needs to come from a clear purpose, a clear audience, and a genuine belief that you can help. Because these things aren’t always clear, this is usually where the discussion starts.

Once you have a clear sense of purpose and audience, it’s time to tackle strategy.

Here are some personal brand communication tactics, flowing out of strategy, that are working for my clients right now:

  • Don’t ignore the issue. Those still communicating ‘business as usual’ (and there are some out there) are failing to resonate with people and are possibly even pushing them away. Speak to the issues that are front-and-centre for your audience right now, and that are relevant to your work. What is your perspective? How can you help?
  • It’s ok to self-promote. If people genuinely need your services or skills right now – particularly new, more relevant iterations of them – then they need to know they exist. What matters is the intention behind the promotion (Can you really help? Is that your primary motivation?) and giving deep thought to what and how you promote, so that it’s meaningful to and respectful of others.
  • Share your personal experience/examples. While I usually warn against the warts-and-all, heart-on-your-sleeve approach to personal branding (I’m not against vulnerability, but I believe in considering context and purpose!)… right now there is more than usual wiggle-room for being human – and actually, it’s helpful. We humans need reminders that everyone else is human, too. It’s comforting and helps us to see we are in this together. Giving personal examples is also a great way to explain your perspective and provide tangible help.
  • Inspire and celebrate. Some of my clients regularly celebrate the work of others, just because it’s how they operate. Encouraging, supporting and talking about others’ work right now is more important than ever before. It helps your audience build trust with the person you are celebrating, as well as with you. More importantly, it provides us all with much-needed inspiration right now.

And here is a final tip purely from my own experience reading/listening to/watching others online:

  • Be gentle with your advice. I’m not always that! But right now my own experience consuming content is that I am totally overwhelmed by and turned off the type of ‘motivational’ content that feels like a survival bootcamp. If you are screaming at me to do more, be more and create more right now… I can’t hear you. I know there are things to be done, to figure out, to make happen. As someone who is always striving to achieve the next goal, I am conversely more effective when I am not so hard on myself – particularly now. For the time being, I am finding advice that tells me, ‘It’s hard, and I know how you feel. Here are some things that may help’… much more helpful than ‘Get your s#*t together!!!’…how about you?

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