In the latest in our StartUp Studio Insight blog series, marketing and communications experts Astley Media provide insight into developing an impactful personal brand as a tech leader.
Astley Media is a marketing and PR agency with specialist teams working in the tech, government and education space.
‘Brand’ – it’s a word that probably makes you think more of companies than individuals.
But, for tech leaders, your personal brand is often as important as your company’s image – and something which is often overlooked.
Your personal brand encapsulates your values, your beliefs and your mission. As Amazon founder Jeff Bezos supposedly once said, “Your personal brand is the story people tell about you when you’re not in the room.”
A strong personal brand is essential to succeed in the tech world.
Think of someone with a strong personal brand. Bill Gates. Mark Zuckerberg. Steve Jobs. Richard Branson.
What sets these individuals apart from the crowd, aside from being really, very, extremely wealthy?
They are innovators, groundbreakers, earth-movers, doers and thinkers. They have great ideas and they make great things.
These are the attributes of a tech leader.
In the tech world it is essential to be always ahead of the curve, to take risks and disrupt.
Having a strong personal brand that sells yourself as an innovator will help you professionally and personally in the fast-moving, rapidly growing tech sector.
So, how do you do it?
Here are five top tips from the marketing team at Astley Media for developing your own personal brand.
For maximum brand impact, you need to focus your messaging in a way that is relevant and in tune with your business. Don’t try to be everything to everyone.
Stick to your key message and be laser-focussed on that. It’s better to become known within a specific community than to try to appeal to everyone.
Consistency goes hand-in-hand with focus.
Think about what you want to be known for, and don’t let your messaging stray too far from that.
This is especially important on social media, where it’s easy to dilute your key messaging by sharing too many irrelevant posts, pictures of your cats, political commentary or personal news.
Having said that, showing some personality in your messaging can be impactful and the tone of your content will to some extent be influenced by the channel you are using. LinkedIn, for example, tends to require much tighter messaging than Instagram or Twitter.
It’s ok to post occasional reflections on the football, or a photograph from your lunchbreak in the park. Just keep the ratio to about 5 professional posts to each personal one.
And do not go overboard with the cat pictures.
Tell a story
Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools you have for building your brand.
Stories have the power to capture people’s attention, get them thinking about your brand and help them to connect with your brand identity at an emotional level.
Our CEO Marc Astley had a conversation last year with Bernadette Jiwa, a global authority on business authority and the author of several best-selling books including Make Your Idea Matter, Marketing A Love Story, Hunch, Meaningful, and The Fortune Cookie Principle.
Bernadette told Marc: “I think we are so busy trying to get to where we want to go with our ambitions and plans for success that we forget what got us from there to here. We all love stories and storytelling is our most persuasive technology.”
Storytelling has the power to make your audience a part of your journey, and to amplify the power of your personal brand.
Martin Barnes is a South West-based pitching expert who works regularly with startups, including the founders on the StartUp Studio programme. He has created a very strong personal brand on LinkedIn by providing regular video messages to his audience. Nothing too technical or complicated, just short to-the-point stories like this one.
These simple stories hook his audience and allow him to snag them with a call to action.
Give him a follow on LinkedIn and take notes.
Have a positive impact
Your reputation is your brand.
Whatever project you’re working on, always keep in mind the impact you want to have and the legacy you want to create.
Andy Doyle is the co-founder of Filmily, a fan engagement platform based in Devon which has recently grown rapidly and has provided solutions for international clients including the Dallas Cowboys, Hampshire Cricket, the US Tennis Open and Harlequins RFC.
Alongside building companies, Andy has built a reputation in the South West tech sector as someone who is always willing to help others and support others in the tech community to grow and succeed.
Be like Andy.
By always striving to create a positive impact, you will become known, liked, and remembered, and your personal brand will thrive.
Live your brand
To have a really authentic and impactful personal brand, you need to live it and breathe it.
Your brand is more than your job. It is your values, your belief system, the impact you have on the world. Living your brand is not so much taking your work home with you as bringing yourself to your work.
Be agile. Be always open-minded for new opportunities. Be true to your core values through everything you do.
This sounds easy but it isn’t.
As long as you have a mission and your tech company fully reflects your passion and vision you will be on your way to succeeding in building a powerful personal brand.
Go get ‘em.
To learn more about how Astley Media can help your brand to succeed, go to astleymedia.co.uk
Learn more about the StartUp Studio at techsouthwest.co.uk/startupstudio