He who has a brand has a treasure. Our personal brand is the perception, impression or mark that we leave on others. It is our reputation. Everyone has a personal brand, but few people have a strong personal brand. Therefore, and more precisely: he who has a strong brand has a treasure.
Whether we are lawyers or other professionals, and regardless of where we work, it is essential to properly manage our personal brand, because this is our reputation and our credibility, the image that others have of us—and this is true both online and off.
Like it or not, professional success depends on the impression that others have of us. It is, indeed, the most important factor when it comes to explaining why a perfectly competent professional or firm fails to become a leader in its geographic area or area of expertise. Professional careers tend to stagnate, in large part, due to inadequate management of social perception of the professional or the firm. That is why this perception must be managed methodically and not left to chance.
Brand management is often completely overlooked by professionals. Most of us spend our lives helping our clients, but few of us dedicate time to helping ourselves, building on that which differentiates us from others and makes us stand out in the market.
We offer up countless excuses, but one reason we fail to cultivate our personal brand is obvious: many of us simply lack to tenacity to do so. We are either unaware of or have forgotten that the key strategy in professional life involves knowing how to enhance our strengths and how to address those fears that could potentially stagnate or put an end to our careers.
Personal brand and corporate brand
It is essential to manage the corporate brand and the personal brand of partners, associates and other professionals in the firm.
Why? Because by managing one’s corporate or personal brand we can learn more about ourselves and those aspects that we should try to improve. In this sense, brand management implies enhancing our virtues, that which will make us the preferred choice among the clients and cases that we would like to handle. If we enhance the brand of the firm’s professionals, these will, in turn, enhance their reputation and contribute to developing business and improving the firm’s reputation.
Nevertheless, many firms are still wary of their professionals’ personal branding, except in the case of the primary partners. They seem to fear that if they enhance their professionals’ brand, they will end up leaving. This attitude may lead to frustration among some collaborators, who go completely unrecognized by their firms. But the management of the corporate brand and personal brand (of some) professionals is compatible.
In professional life, there are at least three factors that are non-transferrable and indispensable:
– Training: training should be coherent with one’s professional development strategy, which is also essential to have.
– Relationships with (certain) clients and their collaborators.
– The management of one’s personal brand: this depends exclusively on you. If you don’t take responsibility for it, no one else will.
The brand is your responsibility
If your firm does not train you, or at least not how you would like to be trained, seek out the training you need. If your firm does not help you to manage your personal brand (which is most likely the case), don’t make excuses: manage it yourself, regardless of your age or the professional career you have had or hope to have. Your personal brand is your “professional life insurance”.
You may think that a strong personal brand is something that cannot be created overnight. And you’d be right, but it is something that you must start to develop as soon as possible if you want to achieve the desired effect in your market. Managing your personal brand and reputation and generating market trust is something that takes time, but this time should be clearly “focused” and coherent with a market strategy, which is essential. In the short term, you can obtain new clients and cases and improve your skills.
If we enhance our reputation (personal brand) and acquire, based on self-knowledge, differential skills (observation and active listening, the sale of legal services without undue pressure on potential clients, etc.), we will contribute to generating new business for the firm and the firm, in turn, will project greater social confidence, not only with respect to its own brand but also with respect to that of its professionals.
He who has a brand has a treasure. Or better said: he who has taken responsibility for developing a strong brand has a treasure.
Your personal brand is your professional life insurance, your one true guarantee.
© Francesc Dominguez, legal marketing and personal branding consultant, www.francescdominguez.com