The power of personal branding and visibility

A photograph showing a sea of black umbrellas, all the same, except one is red

A personal brand is not just about having a good reputation. It is about creating an intentional, authentic, and visible professional image that sets you apart. It is the process of creating a unique image and reputation around your skills, values, and expertise. This identity is built through consistent actions, communications, and interactions with others.

In high-performing teams and organisations, everyone is remarkable. To differentiate our value, we need to do more than have a good reputation. We need to have a clear and great personal brand.

We might mix up reputation with personal brand. Everyone has a reputation. Our reputation is how others see us. It develops from first impressions we make, how we behave, and what we do. Our personal brand, on the other hand, is more intentional. It is how we want people to see us. If reputation is about credibility, our personal brand is about visibility and the values that we represent.

Some people dislike the term personal brand because it seems deceitful, inauthentic, and sales-y. It might feel superficial. Instead we should acknowledge and admit that we care what others think about us, and that we should also manage those expectations at scale.

Why is personal branding important?

Personal branding helps us differentiate ourselves and communicate our unique value proposition. The benefits of working on our personal branding include:

  • Helps us stand out
  • Increases visibility
  • Enhances reputation and credibility, by presenting a consistent message
  • Expands influence and impact, especially if we are viewed as subject matter expert.
  • Delivers new growth opportunities, including career advancements or business partnerships
  • Offers more control over how we present ourselves

Elements of a strong personal brand

  • Improved communication — needing to communicate our value proposition and goals to others.
  • Clear and consistent messaging — communicating who we are, what we do, and how we can add value to others.
  • Professional image — our appearance, both online and offline, is a key component of our personal brand.
  • Networking and relationship building — building strong relationships with others.
  • Consistency — delivering a consistent message that aligns with who we are
  • Authenticity — being true to ourselves and our values, being transparent about our strengths and weaknesses, and being open to feedback from others.
  • Ongoing professional growth and development — requiring regular reflection, continuous self-improvement, and adaptation to changing working environment.
  • Visibility — makes it easier for others to understand our professional identity and what we offer.

Practical steps to building a personal brand

1. Define your voice and values

Identify your unique strengths, talents, and areas of expertise. Consider your motivations, passions, and career goals. Reflect on the traits you want to be known for and how they align with organisational goals.

2. Align your intentions with actions

Define your brand by aligning your intentions with actions. Be consistent in your actions, communications, and interactions. Ensure that everything you do reflects your professional identity and reinforces your desired message.

3. Map your stakeholders

You will not succeed if no one is aware of what you're working on. You need to showcase for your audience what you can do — especially key decision makers. If you don't, you are unlikely to land bigger growth opportunities.

To increase visibility, create a stakeholder map. There is no right way to create this map. Think of it as a list of people you know that can help you progress your career in the company. Preferably the list includes leaders that can advocate for you. The idea behind the stakeholder map is learning who you should reach out to and why. But also to learn more about these individuals. What they care about and what problems they try to solve.

4. Connect with stakeholders and make yourself visible

Reach out to the people on your stakeholder map. This might be intimidating, especially at the start. So maybe begin with people closer to you that you feel more comfortable interacting with. For example, your manager, or a team mate that has been around for a while.

When reaching out:

  • Ask for a quick chat
  • Frame your request around asking for advice or float ideas on how you can help with challenges they face
  • Express what you care about and what you can do
  • Demonstrate genuine interest in their work.


Personal branding is about standing out and making a lasting impression. We want people around us to think: this person knows their craft. We do so by:

  • identifying our voice and values;
  • communicating clearly and consistently who we are, what we stand for, and what are our individual skills; and
  • building deep connections by offering value and demonstrating a genuine interest in people and their work.

Remember to be yourself. All this is an ongoing process and will not work without being ourselves. By regularly delivering a message that aligns with who we are as a person and staying true to our values, we can build trust, credibility, and authority with people who believe in us to achieve our goals.

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