Is your personal brand working “for” you or “against” you?

This article is based on a recent article published in The Risk Adviser, follow the link to the original publication

I wanted to share this with you to help provide clarity between what you do versus who you are and why you do what you do. Your personal brand is all about you, take control and start developing your on-line brand.

The foundations of the risk advice industry have been given a substantial shake, we’ve heard commentary from all quarters in regards to their position and what advisers should be doing next.  Some commentators suggest that as a specialist risk adviser you no longer have a place in the profession; whilst others would argue that risk advice specialisation is now more important than ever.

No matter whether you’re aligned or non-aligned, this has been a complex period and advisers in this space will be facing into transition for some time. Many advisers are questioning their role, the value of their business and the way forward.

Has being branded a “risk adviser” become an uncomfortable label to carry? Is it now your enemy?

Setting the current crisis or opportunity aside with regards to your pricing model, everyone who is anyone is already talking about this to you; take a step back and look at your personal brand!

Accepting that as a profession we believe that all Australian’s should have access to quality and trusted advice, how does the average consumer understand the difference between a specialist adviser and one that is all encompassing; one that is aligned and one that is non-aligned.

Let’s face it, you don’t walk into a client meeting with “Risk Adviser” stamped on your forehead!

Ultimately, your clients only understand their need; they simply turn to the closest relationship they have for the solution. No doubt you want that to be you.

Having recently attended the Adviser Innovation Conference, in Sydney; it prompted me to look at just how many advisers are using technology and engaging in the digital landscape, to protect their brand and change perceptions.  The channels available are greater than ever, the potential to use technology to create simplicity in business and build your profile exists now.

What is your on-line profile saying about you?

In the most recent release from the Australian Bureau of Statistics on its survey of IT Use and Innovation in Australian Business; participants were asked whether they had a social media presence as at 30 June 2014. This survey highlighted that 1 in 3 Australian Businesses are now active on Social Media. Most importantly, of the Financial Services and Insurance businesses surveyed 60.9% had a web presence and 31.1% had social media profiles.

I would suggest that this figure has increased sharply over the past twelve months.

From my experience, there are more and more conversations and connections occurring on digital media, but how many are actually using this opportunity to leverage their personal brand and de-bunk the myths around what it means to be an adviser.

Generational shift continues to drive interaction via technology, it is now fundamental to the protection of your profile and reputation that you take the leap of faith and engage. We are dealing with a market place that is more technologically savvy and empowered than ever before.

You may have been engaging the Baby Boomer market for some time, then Generation X started seeking you out for advice.  But as Gen Y join the march towards advice with Gen X, they now want you to join them in the digital landscape.  Using the same techniques you’ve always used to communicate will see you no longer engaging in the way your future clients want to interact with you.

Your clients do not define you by the advice you provide (Risk Advice or any other), they define you by the relationship you hold with them. So if you haven’t already established your social media profile, it is time to claim your spot! You are your best asset.

Project who you are by using digital (social) media, put your profile to work for you. These are some of the steps you need to take to develop your on-line personality:

  • Have a well-crafted LinkedIn profile. Reflect who you are and why you do what you do. Aim for All-Star status.
  • Ensure your Website reflects your social media presence. That is if you are on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook ensure these links are included on your website.
  • Email signatures need to include your social icons as an incentive to interact with you on each social platform.
  • Engage – take the time to interact with your peers, search out your clients and invite them to converse with you.
  • Start small and build gradually, create a plan to make it work too big a plan can ultimately become a roadblock and become an excuse for inactivity.
  • Be confident. If you don’t feel confident ask for help, reach out to your community or consult with someone that can help you take the steps you need!

Remember: the path to beginning your relationship with a new client is about that person knowing why you do what you, liking who you are and trusting in what you do for them.

By leveraging your personal brand, you get to stand for who you are and protect your on-line personality – own your brand don’t let it be your enemy.

I’d love your feedback on how leveraging your personal brand has worked for you. AND if you need help developing your plan or strategy then drop me a message and let’s start the conversation.

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