How to create and promote your personal brand Personal brands in professional services

Professionals – lawyers, accountants, surveyors and marketers – need to create and maintain a personal brand as part of their career development, marketing and selling. But how do you create a personal brand? And position it appropriately with the right level of awareness? Here I summarise a simple process to create a personal brand. And how to produce a personal brand plan that will help you allocate time to complete the necessary activities to raise awareness and build your reputation: How to create and promote your personal brand.

Why do I need a personal brand?

Your reputation is formed from all of your interactions and achievements. It is a passive process.

Creating your brand is more active. A brand is a future promise. You take control of how you want to be seen both now and in the future. You manage the message about yourself.

Your personal brand provides an awareness advantage, elevates your expertise above competitors, differentiates you in a crowded market and supports a higher value price-point. A vanity brand is all awareness but no impact, it may be inconsistent and doesn’t convert into money.

Your brand may position you with broad appeal (so you adopt a position as influencer) or it may be narrow and have niche appeal. It may position you as a thought leader in a particular topic or market.

How does a professional create a personal brand?

Your personal brand is what you offer, to whom, why it is important (what value do you add?) and how (your credentials, the evidence and/or the system you use). In its simplest form, it’s a statement similar to “I am known for being…which enables me to…”. Personal introductions: BrandMe the power of 3 in networking (

Authenticity is important. Your personal brand needs to reflect both what you are now and your aspiration for the future.

A starting point is self-assessment. Reflect on your values, skills, strengths, credentials and experience. These are like your features.

There are many tools to help you here. You could conduct a values audit. Consider what is important to you and what defines you. Sometimes, it’s helpful to think about key phrases or sayings that convey your principles. Consider the different audiences you want to connect with. Consider your competitors.

You may have a lot of data to collect and analyse – such as feedback from others, your network of contacts, client satisfaction scores, ratings in directories, case studies and client recommendations. You might use tools such as the power of three to help you focus on the core points. Power of three – Writing and presentation basics (Video) ( and Personal introductions: BrandMe the power of 3 in networking (

There will be points of similarity (or parity) with other people in the same area as you – things that most people expect. There will also be points of difference – this is what makes you unique. They differentiate you from your “competitors”. These are like your benefits – describing what value you offer clients. It will help if you speak to other people (colleagues, clients, referrers etc) to learn how they perceive you. So seek feedback. Consider how people perceive you at present, and how you would like them to perceive you in the future.

And remember that your brand is more than your professional life – it also reaches into your personal life. You may have passions, talents, hobbies or charitable endeavours that are notable or memorable and may become an integral part of personal brand. Show your human side. You’ll wish to reflect your personality in the tone of voice you adopt.

Ultimately, you need to develop a unique selling proposition (USP or UVP). Value propositions are explored in a number of places:  What is a value proposition or USP – and how do I create one? ( For a deeper dive: Malcolm McDonald on value propositions – How to develop them (

Once you form the shape of your personal brand, assess how well it fits within the brand positioning of your firm and your team. It should align.

These activities will require you to think about your target audience. Obviously, the people in your current network will be considered. So review your contacts in the CRM and your social media connections. But think too about the contacts, clients, influencers, connectors, referrers and intermediaries that you want to know and connect with. Your personal brand messages will need to resonate with them as well. There’s some further advice on targeting: Sales Targeting Toolbox for Professional Services Firms (

And then build a simple plan (called a brand vision – What, How and Why) for what you need to do and when to achieve that future vision. Marketing planning in a nutshell – simple and complex plans (

You might like to learn more about brands in general Brand Basics (Video) – What is a brand? Why are brands important? ( or Book review – Managing Brands (

How do I promote my personal brand?

There are two core elements to promoting your personal brand both internally within your firm (and its network if its international) and within your target external audience:

  1. You need a plan to promote your brand through digital interactions. The plan doesn’t need to be complicated. Just list out the content you intend to share (What are your key topics and messages?). Then consider how this content reaches your target audience – through social media channels for example.
  1. You also create and promote your personal brand during real time daily interactions. Whether face-to-face, telephone, messaging or email communications as you go about your daily business. And, of course, when you are networking at events.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Your personal brand will not take shape overnight. It will be the result of continuous effort, planning and patience. You will need to develop new habits to be aware of what you are doing to promote your brand every day and on every occasion.

How do I raise awareness of my personal brand – digitally?

Establish a strong digital personal brand so that when people meet you:

  1.  they have already seen you online (familiarity) and
  2.  your digital presence is aligned to your face-to-face presence for when they look you up after meeting

There are two key parts to this phase. The first requires you to set up and maintain great profiles on social media accounts. And the second is to interact regularly. The most important social media platform for professionals is LinkedIn.

Craft a great LinkedIn profile

There is plenty of advice online for this – optimise your choice of photo (background, pose, smile!), headline and profile. Although the platform changes regularly so you may need to revise and adapt your profile regularly to ensure you meet the algorithm’s criteria and your development.

Make sure you tie in with your biography on the firm’s web site and anywhere else it appears (e.g. professional associations, directory entries, speaker profiles).

Build your network of connections. Make a habit of connecting with and following your target contacts – depending on whether you know people or not. Monitor who likes or comments on your posts – and make the connection.

Develop good habits with LinkedIn

Aim to use LinkedIn for at least 10 minutes every day – reading and interacting with other people’s posts. Whilst the top performers on LinkedIn might post every day, be realistic in what you can achieve. Aim to post something at least once a week. Personalise connection requests. Check your DMs frequently (and the email account if you don’t use your main work email for LinkedIn).

Write as you speak – be human.  Tag people you are mentioning and use hashtags to connect with topics that people search. Research the best groups to join – and participate in relevant communities.

Try not to provide links that take people out of LinkedIn – the algorithm doesn’t like it. And remember to comment on other people’s posts before you post your own material – that also helps with the algorithm.

Consider paying for LinkedIn (premium) – Sales Navigator is a powerful tool for those spending a lot of time targeting and forging relationships for selling. There are some case studies of Sales Navigator here: Marketing and BD case studies in legal, accountancy, consultancy (

Share your LinkedIn content and your support

The second stage is to use your social media profile both to share content that supports your personal brand – and to share your support by liking, commenting on and sharing other people’s relevant content. As a rule of thumb, think about 30% of your content with 70% of other people’s material.

To ensure that your content – articles, blog posts, polls, photos, videos, podcasts – supports and enhances your personal brand you might build a content management plan. This is a schedule that shows what content topics you might share (and in what format) that a) will be of interest to your target audience and b) support your personal brand. It should also reflect different types of content: purely technical, opinions, sector insights and personal perspectives.

To avoid becoming a “broadcasting bore” always test your intended posts with the “So what?” test. Consider what value it brings to your readers. And anticipate what future information or action they might take so you can support their path through their “explore and purchase” journey.

Creating original content takes time and effort. So reuse and repurpose your content. For example, a 500-word article may contain three separate points. You can share the main article, and then produce follow up posts focusing on each point – and perhaps link to topical events. Prepare some evergreen posts – providing advice that people often seek and use topical tweaks with each use. Tell stories – they are more engaging as they often pique curiosity and forge an emotional connection.

The marketing and BD team may be able to help you create smart post attachments – graphics, photos, client quotes, case studies and videos. Even compelling download offers and event invitations.

Think about the reader or buyer’s journey. Be ready with links to supporting or additional information – these can be used as a Call To Action (CTA). Think about the different types of content and interaction they need as they explore one of your topics of expertise.

Aim for variety in your content. Mix it up with long and short posts, diagrams, photos, quotes, videos, podcasts and slidedecks. Personality is important – blend formal, professional material with more personal posts (sports, charities, socials, family etc). People buy people and you are more than your professional credentials and activities.

Also consider reposting material on your company page and the profiles of your colleagues. Personal profiles have 10 times more followers and eight times more engagement than their company pages so you can help promote the firm at the same time.

But remember that you aren’t on social media just to broadcast your messages – you are there to interact with people. Promote and share their content when appropriate. People notice when you support their content – so it’s a good way to get their attention and stay on their radar.

Reciprocity is a powerful force to encourage collaboration. Requesting and providing recommendations is another way to interact – and one that supports obtaining third party endorsement for your expertise and service.

You can track your progress by monitoring your profile views and also the likes, comments and reposts. The Social Selling Index will provide you with measures on how you are improving your social media profile The Social Selling Index (SSI) | LinkedIn Sales Solutions on four criteria:

  1. Establish your professional brand
  2. Find the right people
  3. Engage with insights
  4. Build relationships

How do I raise awareness of my personal brand – in person?

You’ve set the scene with your digital content – which will help when you meet people in person. And when they check this material before and after meeting you. So now you need to get out there and meet people.

Whilst getting out to events is a great way to meet lots of people – it’s time intensive and might not be very targeted. You need to connect with clients, potential clients, referrers, professional colleagues, influencers and those who are a source of knowledge and insights. So develop a networking strategy. Various resources will help:

If approaching a room full of people isn’t your idea of fun, look at ways to make networking more palatable.

You can start (and practice your networking skills) by focusing on your internal audience.  – everyone else in the firm. Look at it as a way to test out your personal brand and align it with others.

Your internal colleagues need to know your personal brand and key messages so that they know when and how to introduce you to their clients for potential cross-selling purposes. Drop into departmental meetings, hang out in their coffee areas, join their lunch and learns, attend their socials and use your firm’s other internal communication channels.

To ease your way into external events, you might start by attending events arranged by your colleagues in other teams. Or pair up with a colleague so you can “hunt as a pack” – that often feels more comfortable than networking alone. Or offer to speak at a seminar that they have organised.

Then move onto participating in round tables and panels or providing talks at external events and conferences. By active participation in an event, people in the room will know who you are – and that can ease the whole “getting to know you” process.

How you introduce yourself will be important – it needs to link back to your personal brand (albeit adjusted to the people who are likely to be at the networking event). Techniques like the SHREK method and the 3X3X3 matrix can be used to convert your personal brand message into a suitable introduction. Personal introductions: BrandMe the power of 3 in networking (

You might also brush up on your conversation skills. There are numerous books to help in this area: Conversation skills book review 3: Conversational intelligence (

Your aim here is to make an impression, to be differentiated (how will they remember you?) and to become the “Go To” guy or girl in your sector or area of expertise.

Other perspectives on personal branding

I’ve listed a few other sources of advice on personal branding:

10 Golden Rules Of Personal Branding ( November 2018

  1. Have a focus
  2. Be genuine
  3. Tell a story
  4. Be consistent
  5. Be ready to fail
  6. Create a positive impact
  7. Follow a successful example
  8. Live your brand
  9. Let other people tell your story
  10. Leave a legacy

Building a personal brand – Key Person of Influence ( October 2017

Daniel Priestley suggests you need: a perfect pitch, to publish your ideas (i.e. content management), to productise your value, raise your profile and build partnerships. He summarises this with SALT: Social footprint, Awards and associations, Live appearances and Third-party media mentions

What are the 5 C’s of personal branding –

5 C’s of personal branding. Consistency, Creativity, Clarity, Commitment and Consultation.

On average, it takes people 5-7 impressions before they will remember your brand.

“As brand strategists, we walk a tightrope. It is our aim to “disrupt the sameness”, to find a totally unique way of branding your business so that you stand out, whilst also ensuring you don’t sit so far outside the box that you become unrecognisable”

Creating a Purpose-Driven Personal Brand | Berkeley Exec Ed

This framework revolves around core elements: Clarity, consistency, content and communication.

  • Clarity involves having a clear understanding of who you are and what you stand for
  • Consistency refers to the need to consistently represent these values and attributes across various platforms and interactions
  • Content focuses on creating and sharing material that reflects and reinforces your brand
  • Communication emphasizes the importance of building relationships and effectively and authentically conveying your brand to others

Jill Hauwiller, owner and principal consultant at Leadership Refinery, describes the framework she leads her coaching clients through—one that encompasses seven key components: Purpose, Values, Clarity, Strengths, Energy, Legacy, and Ownership.

  • Purpose is about understanding why you do what you do. Asking questions like, “What gives meaning to my life?” can help us identify our purpose.
  • Values represent the guiding principles that shape your actions and decisions
  • Clarity, again, emphasizes the importance of clear self-understanding and authenticity
  • Strengths focus on recognizing and leveraging your unique skills and talents
  • Energy pertains to the passion and enthusiasm you bring to your endeavours
  • Legacy involves considering the long-term impact and imprint you wish to leave
  • Ownership is about taking responsibility for your brand and its development

In her presentation “Building Your Brand One Story at a Time,” Jessica De Anda, director of MBA Career Programming at Haas, advocates crafting a personal brand through storytelling. She emphasizes using four guiding questions to shape this narrative-driven approach.

  • What is your story? Who you are, what you’ve overcome, what makes you credible, your mission
  • Who is your audience? Who will benefit from your story?
  • What are your goals? e.g., establishing thought leadership, building credibility, connecting with the community, etc.
  • What are your metrics? How will you measure progress on your goals?

The importance of building a personal brand | ICAEW Jobs April 2022

  • Know yourself and what you can offer
  • Offer value to potential employers and clients
  • Identify your target audience
  • Create a consistent online presence

Why Personal Branding Is A Game Changer For Professional Services Firms ( April 2023

  • Clients make decisions based on emotion – Research from Gallup found that about 70% of decisions are based on emotional factors and only 30% are based on rational factors
  • Prospective clients research the LinkedIn profiles of those who have invited them to a pitch. They’re not checking out your company page; they’re researching the consultant to decide whether they want to invest time in them
  • LinkedIn tells us that only 3% of employees share their company’s content with their followers, but that 3% accounts for 30% of all social actions. Yet few professional services firms are leveraging the power of their people by helping them become digital brand ambassadors. Those that do, amplify the message to the marketplace and create a more human, connective voice for their firm along with a way. Staying visible, available and valuable to clients and prospects is a priority for them.

The Personal Branding Process For Accountancy Professionals| Rebus Recruitment

Step 1: Figure Out Who You Are

  • Your most appealing traits: Are you productive, ambitious and committed to constantly improving your accounting skills? Do you have a great collaborative spirit?
  • Your skills: What are your certifications as an accountant? How can you share your skills, education, and experiences with your community?
  • Your ambitions: What do you want to accomplish as an accountant? What drives you, and what kind of people do you want to impress with your brand?

Step 2: Establish Your Unique Value Proposition

  • What convinces people to work with you over a wide range of other options. Think about areas where you might have excelled in the past. Are you particularly good at tax-based accountancy? Can you share stories about how you’ve saved companies a lot of time and money on their accounting requirements?

Step 3: Optimise Your Digital Presence

  • To secure the best potential roles, you’ll need to know how to interact with people offline and build the right image on a day-to-day basis with posture, body language, and even your clothing. However, as the world becomes more digitally driven, it’s crucial not to underestimate your online presence.

Step 4: Develop Your Network

Step 5: Regularly Optimise your Brand Assets

Related posts to help you develop and promote your personal brand

Brand Basics (Video) – What is a brand? Why are brands important? (

Future Marketing/BD Manager – Build your personal brand (

Rainmaking best practice in professional services firms (Selling) (

Introduction to networking skills (Video) (

Professional services marketing/BD case studies (

Case studies: Marketing and Business Development at law (

Sales Targeting Toolbox for Professional Services Firms (

Conversation skills book review 3: Conversational intelligence (

Building a personal brand – Key Person of Influence (

Book review – Managing Brands (

Power of three – Writing and presentation basics (Video) (

Book review: The psychology of successful women by Shona Rowan (

Personal introductions: BrandMe the power of 3 in networking (

Lessons in leadership – personal brand, presence, stages (

Property Marketing – Cluttons CBRE and Workspace brands 2014 (