Establishing your personal brand goes beyond a hashtag.
A bit of “behind the scenes” content for you: Sandy’s been growing at a wild clip over the past 2 years (thank you remote work boom!) and this Summer, we’ve been taking a close look at our branding to see where we need to make some changes to more accurately reflect what we really do. It’s been gratifying to reflect on what holds true from when we launched back in ’18, and exciting to see how much we’ve evolved along the way.
As we were thinking about our own brand, we realized that a LOT of what applies to making a company stand out also holds true for what makes candidates stand out. Our talent team sees hundreds of applications each week, and when you’ve got multiple candidates all with great résumés, identifying “top” candidates can definitely take some extra legwork. People with an active professional presence (whether that’s on LinkedIn, creative networks, or through a personal blog) and strong public references help us understand what you’re about before we even get to the interview phase.
If you think “personal branding” is just for the TikTok crowd, think again – for most professionals, it can be as simple as “does your résumé show a through-line to how you got to your current role?” or as in-depth as “What’s your LinkedIn content strategy?” If you’re in the market for a new role, it’s worth putting your branding hat on your own head to position yourself for success. A “personal brand” involves showing your personality, your unique perspective within your industry, and your active participation in projects you find fulfilling. All of which, in turn, is bound to lead you to more opportunities overall!
To put it simply, putting effort into building your “personal brand” gives you a lot more leverage over how others (including client prospects and hiring managers) see you, beyond just a list of roles on your résumé.
Nick Hammond heads up our ACE team (Advertising Category Expert – we <3 acronyms over here), and has steadily built up his own brand over years of working in multiple marketing and creative roles:
“To me, it’s all been about education – you prospective clients AND others in your field. The more you can shed light on your own processes, difficulties, successes, etc., the more people can begin to truly understand your value and what sets you apart from everyone else with your title. What makes you the right person for the job? It’s easy to learn programs and technical skills through resources like YouTube, but the soft skills are really what get you to that next level when it’s a matter of building real relationships.
As you grow your network and personal brand, each touchpoint starts to connect to others. Eventually, that all becomes associated with your name, so that when a client needs a solution to a problem, yours is the first name that pops into their mind and you’re the first one they call.
It’s not something that happens overnight. But your future self will absolutely thank you for putting in the work to build YOUR brand name.”
So, what exactly goes into building a Personal Brand?
- Know your “channels”: Where will clients and hiring managers find you? LinkedIn, Behance, your portfolio site – all of these should tell a cohesive story.
- Be specific about who you serve, and in what capacity. As Nick puts it, “I think a lot of creatives get caught in be too inwardly-focused in regard to their work. If you can reframe it to be more focused on solving a client problem, it immediately helps clarify what to showcase and how to talk about it.”
- Identify your “talk topics” – these should be things that show your industry perspective, personality, and ideally offer opportunities to call out your own work.
- Get others to talk about YOU (yep, full influencer mode.) You can ask for testimonial quotes and public reviews, but the most impactful way to achieve this is to share content that other people want to share, too, which will expose your name – and your point of view – to a broader audience than the one you can reach on your own.
Interested in more ways to build up your “brand presence”? Watch this space as we continue the “We’re all brands now” series with more tips from Nick, advice from our Talent Team, and other creatives who are doing it right!