How to promote ‘brand you’

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Emma Jones
Emma Jones

This is an article by Emma Jones.

The PR world is dominated by talented individuals all promising to deliver the earth with minimal fuss and the best expertise.

So if you are surrounded by these superhumans how do you differentiate yourself? The answer comes down to you.

Your day is full of pushing campaigns, writing press releases, drafting strategies designed to enhance the brand and reputation of the organisation that you work for.

But in amongst that how do you stand out and progress? You need to work on your brand too.

When you look at the world and select successful people who do you think of? Alan Sugar? Richard Branson? Beyoncé Knowles? David Beckham? Anita Roddick? Have you thought of them because of the job they do, the person that they are or the personal brand that we have come to know?

There is a difference between ‘You’ as a brand and someone’s perception of you. The perception may not match the brand or what you hope the perception is but we all know that perception is reality. In order to match the two together you need to ensure that the brand you want people to see demonstrates the perception you want people to have of you.

Work and personal persona

Emma Jones TwitterYou’re taught this at university but if you are intent on enjoying yourself at the weekend then you should ensure that those conversations and images are only for a certain audience.

I have a personal Facebook account and an ‘Emma Jones’ twitter account (@The_Emma_Jones).

This is not to say you can’t have a personality; my pet tortoise George often frequents my Twitter account (I think he actually gets more interest than I do) and I can be seen conversing about shopping trips and seeing friends but I ensure that anything I post on the Twitter feed I would be happy to talk about with my Chief Executive down the corridor also.

Reality check

A colleague from a different department made a comment that they liked how I was always happy. I asked how they knew and they said that I always had a smile on my face and even if I was coming through with a nasty media enquiry at 7pm on a Friday night (we’ve all been there), they felt it was more bearable and were more inclined to help because I was presenting it with a smile. This has stuck with me.

There are various ways of gathering feedback from anonymous 360 degree feedback surveys, which are great, to one-to-ones and Personal Development meetings but the quickest and easiest way is to ask someone. You may not always like the answer but at least you’ll have the truth and I bet they’ll admire you for asking.

Learn a new skill

Every role that I take on I ensure that I can give something to them but in order to do that I need to continually push myself and develop.

Marketing strategist Dorie Clark states that one of the ways of evolving ‘your brand’ is to learn one new skill.

This could be something practical such as improving your photography or it could be something out of your comfort zone. Although I am often described as ‘bubbly’ approaching new people brings me out in cold sweats, I dread the agenda item ‘networking’ when going to conferences and courses and often try to think of ways of arriving or leaving just before/after.

My nightmare is when organisers pre-empt this and place it in the middle just before lunch (dammit!). In 2014 I decided to change this. It was only the one thing but I made a conscious effort to overcome it, if I didn’t address it I was never going to get better.

Each event I went to I set myself a target of speaking to a new person, the next event it was two and so on and now I often ask for the guest list before turning up so that I can pinpoint exactly who I want to speak to and can plan a subject to talk to them about.

You never know unless you try

Prior to graduating I always read in awe about the finalists for the CIPR Young Communicator of the year awards. Once again I decided to tackle this head on; you can only be in with a chance if you actually enter in the first place I chided myself.

In 2015 I boldly submitted my application, thinking this was the first step and entering won’t seem so daunting next year when I could be in with a better chance of winning. Being shortlisted and then hearing my name read out on the night was surreal. I never in a million years thought I could be in with a chance let alone be selected by my peers to take home the trophy.

I have enjoyed learning ever since being at school so perhaps that is where my passion and determination stems from, I constantly want to achieve and learn the next thing but I don’t see that as a negative.

Our industry is constantly evolving and it is up to us to move with it and ensure we are the best we can be to represent it. I have achieved the CIPR Young Communicator award so my next aim is to achieve the AHCM Communicator of the year award.

I’m interested in lecturing in PR one day, achieving the role of Director of Communications and having recently lost a parent I am passionate in setting up a new Hospice in the Norfolk area. I’m 28 so have plenty of years to achieve these aims and to conjure up new ones. As Karren Brady says “You can’t determine where you start in life but you can determine where you end up” and I think she’s absolutely right.

The PR person for your own brand and future is ultimately you.

Emma Jones graduated with a PR degree in 2010. In 2015 she won a CIPR Outstanding Young Communicator award.