Not everything you do outside of your business should relate back to your brand, of course, but an outsider looking in should easily understand your connection to your work. You are the secret weapon of your business and You are one different thing that your distinguishes your business from that of others’.
To take your business to a whole new level you need to blow your own trumpets without sounding like idiots. And that last bit, although it sounds flippant, is actually very important because often what scares people about personal branding is actually sounding arrogant. But to be very frank, personal branding is not rocket science. It has nothing fancy in it. It is for everybody in the business.
I don’t believe there’s a blatantly obvious way of measuring ROI unless you have a very specific measurable goal at the start of the work you’re doing. So when I work with people, let’s say… If I use an example of maybe an executive I’ve been asked to work with, and something I get quite often is, “Jennifer, this guy needs more gravitas. We want you to work with him.” Now, how am I going to measure an increase in gravitas? That’s very difficult to do. But if you could at least pin down, “He’s got to get more buy-in in these meetings,” or, “He’s going be able to deliver this particular project,” or whatever it is, less about ROI in terms of money, but just more in terms of, “Do we feel that the money spent has given us results at a very straightforward yes or no level?”
I mean, if you did take it a bit further in other organisations, though, someone’s personal brand using that to get new business, you can directly show that they raised their profile in an industry, and because of that, a new client came on board, you could then show some ROI with the value of that business. But I think that it’s more just a case of just a general, “Is the person more confident? Are they coming across more positively? And are more people buying into them or buying into them more deeply?”
A lot of organisations sort of shy away from letting our staff have their own brands, be individuals. And I think it’s a rather short-sighted because, actually, if you can allow your staff to have a brand, to get known in the market, to have connections, have networks that they can really work, that’s going to enable them to do their job easier. If a problem comes up or they need an answer to something, having got themselves out there, raised their profile, make this network, they’re much more resourceful than they might be if they just have to sit at their desk and nobody knows who they are.
And it doesn’t even have to be a network outside of an organisation. Using your brand to raise your profile within an organisation, and people getting to know each other better, knowing exactly what your strengths are, thinking, “Oh, great. I’ll go to you the next time I need X, Y, and Z.” For an organisation, that has to be beneficial.