#vitaehangout Brand Thinking

A guest article by Marco Stephano Wilbrink - Transformation Coach/ Brand Coach and Designer, #vitaehangout panellist

Use Brand Thinking to Build a Stronger You

As a researcher, you will be aware of the need to engage the public in your research – to write for or speak to the audience in front of you. To build awareness and allow your audience (e.g. investors, public) to emotionally connect with you, you need to be able to step into their shoes and speak their language. Your expertise is never under doubt but in presentations personal branding awareness is essential. By using Brand Thinking you can help your personality and passion to shine through, position yourself better and increase your confidence.

How, you ask?

1) Start seeing yourself as a Personal Brand

Your Personal Brand is your Personal Identity. This consists of an Internal aspect, the Brand Core, and External aspects the Visual and Verbal Interactions.  

The Brand Core include elements such as your unique personality, strengths, attributes, passion, values, beliefs, mission and your vision. Your visual and verbal Interactions are where other people build an emotional and mental picture of you. You have the power to influence this perception and the responsibility to remain authentic to your Brand Core.

Organisations and businesses that invest in finding their Brand Core gain clarity, build stronger identities, have improved focus, are better at standing out from the crowd and gain better brand promoters. The same is true for your Personal Brand: A stronger ‘you’ impacts on your life, your career and your (work) relationships.

2) Consider your Visual Interactions

Your face is your unique identifier. Review your online presence. Have a current good quality headshot of yourself that is consistently used throughout your online touch points. Consider your clothing, hair style, background and environment, light angle and what this says about you. Sorry a selfie won't work unless this is what you want to communicate. Use a professional who helps to bring out your personality.

Seriously consider investing in a visual Personal Brand Style and Identity (logo) by a designer, especially if you decide to move away from a branded university employer or you decide to branch out in to independent consultancy. Personalised domain names are cheap to buy and make you standout immediately. Your personal URL can be used as a single internet destination for all your (future) research, career marketing documents and a way for people to find you.

Review your social media profiles (Twitter, Youtube, Vimeo, Linkedin, About me, Aacademia.edu, Piirus, online networking groups etc.). Whichever you decide to use make sure you use your Personal Brand Style consistently throughout every touch point online/ off line. This reinforces trust, reliability and professionalism. If you have a website, blog, or even just single ‘one page profile’ consider the use of imagery. Don't forget to brand your email signature, business cards and any print material, online publications and research reports you produce.

3) Consider your Verbal Interactions

The way you communicate and express yourself influences your interactions and the audience you would like to reach. What tone of voice you are using (in videos, live events, lectures, conferences)? Is it casual, formal, professional, intellectual? Aim to match your speaking voice with your written voice where possible, especially in places like online comments/ forums /reviews. Try to avoid too much jargon and communicate plainly using language your audience will understand, they will thank you for it. Use personal stories or experiences and be aware of people’s different preferences for understanding and processing information, this will make your communication more engaging and more human.

Marco Stephano Wilbrink - Transformation Coach/ Brand Coach and Designer