Claire Hamilton, Head of Property Management for Rylands Associates Limited, and Emma Blaney, discuss personal branding and why, in the internet age, it has become such a prevalent issue. Authored by Emma Blaney, Founder and Director of Productive Property People.
In the time that I have known Claire we have had numerous conversations about the impact of personal branding and why it is so important. To think of yourself and your career as a brand can be a strange concept. In the internet age the question is no longer ‘do I have/want a personal brand?’ your brand exists and it’s how you manage it that counts. So, when I asked Claire to do a piece with me, the topic choice was clear… the importance of personal branding.
So, as we sat there on a cold wet February Friday morning we started to talk about all things image and where better to start then what is personal branding? Well, as we agreed, it’s all about you. It’s about how you come across in the industry, not as part of the business you work in, but as an individual. For Claire, building her career over the last 20 years hasn’t just been about experience but about being recognised as a professional, as someone knowledgeable in her field and still being personable and able to have a little (or a lot) of fun.
Managing the balance between individualism and conformity is no easy feat. Personal branding isn’t about shedding your personality to become a robot who eats and breathes leasehold. To have a personal brand it needs to be just that, personal. And is it harder for women? Well we believe so, yes. In such a male dominated industry, often the first hurdle is the fact that you are a woman and breaking down the stereotypes that come with that. Yes, it is changing, and with Doyenne we hope to help contribute to further change, but sometimes you do have to work a little bit harder to get the recognition and credit you deserve. As Claire said the goal is not about being known as a successful woman, it’s about having the ability and expertise to just be recognised as successful. Period.
Building your personal brand is about being fabulous (of course) but more importantly it’s about your conduct and dress sense at industry events, your drive at work and being mindful about what you put out in to the world. As many people know I am not a social media master, in fact I have spent most of my life avoiding it like the plague and now only utilise for business purposes, but social media has changed the face of personal branding. Google has a long memory and it is important that, no matter where your career is now, you should always keep one eye on the future. I asked Claire for her advice on this and its quite simple- be careful. Don’t post anything into the world that you wouldn’t want displayed on the big screen at the industry awards. If you couldn’t face someone with what you have said or done, then think twice before posting.
The term personal branding was popularised by an article written by Tom Peters first published in Fast Company Magazine (‘A Brand Called You’) some 20 years ago. The article focuses on intentionally marketing yourself as a brand however, since the social media boom intentional marketing is no longer required. People google you for five minutes, look at your social media accounts and ask contacts about you. From this most potential employers, colleagues, clients and industry leaders will have a perception about you, your skills and your business. As we all know, perception is reality… so how do you want to be perceived?