When attorneys think of brand they usually think of the firm name or about creating a logo or even having a tagline. And while these things go into making up your “visual brand” and should be used to create consistency in your marketing, a personal brand goes so much deeper.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, is quoted as saying:
Personal Brand is what people say about you when you leave the room.”
Before the internet, it was simply called your reputation. And it was very localized to your network of friends and colleagues, your bosses and clients.
Now, with the ubiquitous nature of the internet, your reputation or personal brand is on display for everyone to see. Even when you don’t choose to partake in internet activities, like blogging, social media, videos, and the like, your brand will reflect that as well. It truly says something about your personal brand when you aren’t on the internet.
What you have to do is begin to take control of your own personal brand.
What we are talking about is a strategic process – it is proactively taking control of how people perceive you and managing those perceptions to help you achieve your goals.
So, what goes into creating your reputation or personal brand?
How credible are you? Credibility is the combination of trustworthiness and expertise. It is the sum total of how much people believe you. Do you keep your promises? Do you apologize when you make a mistake?
It’s your experiences – not just what you do as an attorney but the sum total of all of the experiences that have shaped your life. One of the ways you can differentiate yourself from every other attorney out there is bringing your experience to the forefront. Your life, your history is one that no one else has undergone. Whether it is good or bad, you can use that experience to shape your personal brand.
It’s also the experience the client has with you as an attorney and human being. Use your personal experiences to connect with and create relationships with your potential clients, clients and referral sources.
What do you want? What are you willing to do to achieve the goals you set? Ambition plays a part in your personal legal brand because you will do what is necessary to achieve the goals you set.
I love this definition of personality from the Encyclopedia Britannica:
Personality (is) a characteristic way of thinking, feeling, and behaving. Personality embraces moods, attitudes, and opinions and is most clearly expressed in interactions with other people. It includes behavioral characteristics, both inherent and acquired, that distinguish one person from another and that can be observed in people’s relations to the environment and to the social group.”
Your personality is important because it is clearly defined by the interactions you have with others. Are you narcissistic or altruistic? Outgoing or an introvert? How do you react to change?
Your habits also shape your personality. And while personalities can change over time, the next thing that goes into creating your personal brand cannot.
In everything you do, people will see a personality. However, if you are pretending to be something that you are not, you will eventually be found out. Your true nature will always come through. You must be authentic, be who you are, to create a personal brand that will translate into all of the benefits that a personal brand can bring.
And the benefits of creating a personal brand will be what we will discuss in the next Rainmaking Recommendation.
If you want to know how to create your own personal legal brand to differentiate you from all of the other attorneys out there, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.