Personal Branding


This unit is dedicated to highlighting the significance of personal branding in the gig economy and its profound effects on career success and client trust. We aim to guide gig workers in crafting a robust personal brand that aligns seamlessly with their skills, values, and career goals We also want gig workers to learn to utilise digital tools and online platforms to establish and promote their unique personal brand.

Furthermore, we will explore how a well-defined personal brand not only influences pricing strategies but also enables gig workers to navigate the gig economy with ease, fostering career growth and adaptability. By the end of this chapter, readers will gain a holistic understanding of the role personal branding plays in the gig economy and acquire practical insights to harness its potential for their professional journey.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the concept of personal branding specifically in helping gig workers differentiate themselves and enhance their careers.
  • Recognize the various types of personal branding, including professional, entrepreneurial, influencer, creative, corporate, and community or activist personal branding.
  • Identify the different goals, platforms, and strategies associated with each type of personal branding.
  • Recognize the key components of a strong personal brand, including expertise, reliability, and authenticity.
  • Understand the role of personal branding in maintaining a positive reputation and guiding professional development.

Personal branding is the practice of creating and managing a distinctive image and reputation for oneself. It involves the intentional and strategic effort to establish a unique identity, both online and offline, that differentiates you from others and conveys your values, skills, expertise, and personality. Personal branding is often associated with the professional world, but it can apply to individuals in various aspects of their lives. 

Personal Branding

Personal branding includes all content that’s available about a person. It’s simple to build from scratch but difficult to change once an identity is set. If you take the time to define and reinforce your personal brand, your online presence will appear cohesive and consistent. This helps you stand out from competitors who don’t maintain a strong persona or who present a vastly different one. Anyone visiting your profile or Googling your name immediately knows what you stand for and feels like they know you on a personal level. Your personal brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room, so it’s important to manage it in a way that aligns with your goals and values.

Types of Personal Branding

Personal branding comes in various forms, reflecting the diversity of individuals and their goals. Here are some common types of personal branding:

Here are the six main types of personal branding:

Professional Personal Branding

Focus: Career and industry expertise.
Platform: LinkedIn is a primary platform for professional personal branding.
Goals: Establishing oneself as a knowledgeable and trusted professional in a specific field. Sharing industry insights, achievements, and networking with peers and potential employers are common objectives.
Strategies: Posting informative articles, participating in relevant discussions, and showcasing your accomplishments and skills. Building a professional network and cultivating relationships within the industry are crucial.

Entrepreneurial Personal Branding

Focus: Business leadership and vision.
Platform: Often involves personal websites, social media, and industry-specific events.
Goals: Attracting investors, customers, and partners by establishing the entrepreneur’s expertise and the uniqueness of their business.
Strategies: Communicating the business’s mission and values, sharing success stories, and demonstrating the entrepreneur’s passion and commitment. Building a strong online presence and actively engaging with the target audience are essential.

Influencer Personal Branding

Focus: Lifestyle, interests, or expertise, often on social media platforms.
Platform: Social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok are commonly used.
Goals: Building a large and engaged following, often for monetization through collaborations and sponsorships. Authenticity is key to gaining and maintaining trust.
Strategies: Consistently creating and sharing content that aligns with the influencer’s niche or personal brand. Engaging with followers, collaborating with brands, and sharing personal experiences are typical approaches.

Creative Personal Branding

Focus: Showcasing artistic style and creativity.
Platform: Personal websites, online portfolios, social media, and art-related events.
Goals: Attracting clients, admirers, and opportunities by highlighting the uniqueness of one’s creative work and talent.
Strategies: Showcasing a diverse portfolio, sharing the creative process, and engaging with the artistic community, participating in exhibitions, and sharing the story behind each piece can help in building this brand.

Corporate Personal Branding

Focus: Expertise or leadership within a larger organisation or industry.
Platform: LinkedIn, corporate websites, and industry conferences.
Goals: Building a personal brand that aligns with and complements the corporate brand. Demonstrating thought leadership, reliability, and trustworthiness.
Strategies: Sharing company achievements and personal contributions. Participating in industry events, publishing whitepapers, and maintaining a professional online presence to showcase the synergy between personal and corporate goals.

Community or Activist Personal Branding

Focus: Social or environmental causes, attracting support and influencing change.
Platform: Social media, nonprofit websites, community events.
Goals: Garnering support for a cause, leading advocacy efforts, and fostering change.
Strategies: Sharing stories, statistics, and compelling content related to the cause. Engaging with a community of like-minded individuals, collaborating with organisations, and leading grassroots movements are essential components.

These categories provide a comprehensive overview of personal branding types, each with its unique objectives, platforms, and strategies. It’s important to remember that personal branding is a dynamic process that can evolve over time as individuals grow and adapt to changing goals and circumstances.

Strategies to improve your personal brand

Understanding your own personal brand is crucial for gig workers and freelancers because it directly influences the services you offer and your overall success in the gig economy. Your personal brand helps you differentiate yourself in a crowded marketplace and identify a specific niche or target market where you can excel. It allows you to define your unique strengths, skills, and value proposition, enabling you to offer services that cater to a particular audience effectively.

Moreover, your personal brand conveys your expertise, reliability, and authenticity, which are essential elements of building trust with potential clients or employers. A well-crafted personal brand signals to them that you are a credible and trustworthy professional, crucial in a gig economy where transactions often occur between individuals or small businesses.

Understanding your personal brand is about aligning the services you offer with what clients expect. When your brand is clear and consistent, clients can easily determine whether your skills and values match their needs. This alignment reduces misunderstandings and ensures client satisfaction, as it ensures that the services you provide meet their expectations.

Furthermore, your personal brand plays a role in how you price your services. A strong brand that highlights your expertise allows you to command higher rates because clients are often willing to pay more for quality and reliability. It also empowers you to effectively market your services, knowing where and how to reach your ideal clients, as well as how to tailor your marketing efforts. Networking becomes more efficient as well, as you can focus on connecting with individuals and businesses in your specific niche.

A consistent personal brand is crucial for maintaining a positive reputation. Inconsistent or unclear branding can lead to confusion or mistrust. By managing your brand consistently, you can build a reputation that enhances your gig worker career over time. Additionally, your personal brand can guide your professional development, helping you identify areas for improvement and growth that align with your brand’s goals. It ensures you continue to offer services that are in line with your expertise and passions.

Finally, a strong personal brand is not static; it can evolve as your skills and interests change. This adaptability allows you to transition into different areas of the gig economy if your interests shift or market demands change. In essence, your personal brand serves as the foundation upon which you build a successful and sustainable gig worker career, one that is driven by clarity, credibility, and client trust.

A personal branding strategy is a strategy to raise the exposure of your reputation and career from relative obscurity. It outlines your current position and the level of visibility you hope to attain in the future. The strategy, equipment, and abilities you will require to achieve your goal are then thoroughly laid out, along with a daily content calendar. Your pursuit of Visible Expertise is unknown, but with a well-thought-out plan, you can focus on executing it.

The foundation of a contemporary personal branding strategy is content marketing. The abilities and resources listed are specifically applied to developing your own brand as a gig worker seeking to pitch new job opportunities and gigs within your chosen job market.

The Planning

Identify your current location. To fully comprehend your plan, ascertain your starting position. Determine your particular specialty. If you’re unable to limit the services you provide, at least make a plan to limit the topics you write and speak about.

Define your target market. Who is going to purchase your services? Who is going to hire you for this specific gig? Who will sway your customers? The people for whom you write every blog post, lecture, book, webinar, etc., will be the responses to these questions. Always keep your intended reader in mind when writing. You’ll be able to stay focused and draw the proper customers to your organisation with its assistance.

Decide on an angle. Although not strictly necessary, this step can make your own brand stand out. Choose the tools you’ll employ. Decide which of your Critical Tools you will use first after identifying them. Make use of digital technologies in your plan if you have prior expertise with them.

Analyse your abilities. Do you really have the writing skills you claim to have? Do you talk in front of groups well? Which abilities most need improvement, and which ones could use a review? Create a prioritised list of these abilities and try to determine which of them you can improve on your own and which ones will require the assistance of a competent educator.

Choose the person(s) who will assist you. Decide whether you really want to attempt a solo ascent or whether hiring an experienced guide would make your climb more successful. Are there any tools or skills that you might want to outsource as you consider the ones you will need? Prepare these resources in advance to avoid rushing when you most need them.

Setting up

Assemble a media kit. Hire a professional to snap a few pictures of you and create both a short and long bio. Include a download link for your kit’s zipped file on your bio page, if you can. Improve your bio and create a website. Include elements in your biography that will provide you more credibility, such as publications you’ve authored, speeches you’ve given, and awards you’ve received. Find out the steps you need to take to start contributing regularly to your company’s blog, if one exists. Explain your goals to other members of the organisation who are hiring you for a gig if you need their support. Find and invest in the tools necessary to make it happen if you need assistance.

Set up the converting software. This is typically a lengthy educational resource, such a manual, whitepaper, or e-book. This material must be written first, then it must be posted on your website or blog behind a registration form. In order to persuade readers to download the piece of content, you will also need to create an intriguing offer.

Create profiles on social media. The most significant social network for professionals in professional services is by far LinkedIn. Make sure to completely fill out your profile. Then scan the area for active groups that your target audience members visit and join them. The next platform you should sign up for is Twitter, where you can advertise your material. Choose and get ready for your email platform.

Developing your skills

Schedule daily time to practise new skills. Making a habit of it is the best way to approach a long-term undertaking. This entails setting aside a brief period of time each day to work on one or two projects at once. Remember that this is a professional commitment and not a pastime. Therefore, investing time in enhancing your personal brand during the course of the workday is acceptable and even crucial. Although it is a never-ending project, you may also devote some of your personal time to it. Create a plan for your job based on it.

Getting Started

One more time, read through your plan. Then begin putting it into practice. The process will start out slowly, but it’s crucial to put up the ropes and ladders before you begin. Put your plan into action just once you have everything in place to start at your best! Don’t rush into it.

Scenarios

Alex, a talented content writer, aspired to establish a successful career in the gig economy. Fully aware of the fierce competition, Alex recognized the need to craft a powerful personal brand to stand out in the freelancing landscape. Following a comprehensive strategy outlined in a personal branding guide, they meticulously executed the following steps.

First, Alex defined the core elements of their personal brand by reflecting on their skills, values, and career goals. This self-awareness allowed them to create a compelling personal brand statement that encapsulated their commitment to delivering high-quality content on time, a dedication that would soon become their hallmark.

To harness the digital nature of the gig economy, Alex invested in a professional website that showcased their portfolio and optimised their LinkedIn profile to project a consistent and professional online presence. This digital proficiency proved crucial in making a lasting impression on potential clients.

Next, Alex actively engaged in networking, attending industry webinars and participating in content-related discussions on social media. His insightful contributions gradually earned them recognition as an expert in their field. To strengthen their reputation, Alex consistently sought feedback from clients and proudly displayed positive testimonials on their website.

Overcoming initial pricing challenges, Alex conducted market research to align their rates with industry standards. They diversified their pricing packages to accommodate various client needs, making themselves more flexible and adaptable in the ever-evolving gig economy. With their well-defined personal brand, reputation for quality, and adaptability, Alex attracted a steady flow of clients, expanded their service offerings, and emerged as a sought-after gig worker. Their journey exemplified the transformative power of personal branding in achieving success in the competitive gig economy.

Role Play

Characters:
Alex: A freelance graphic designer
Jordan: A fellow freelancer and personal branding expert
Scene: A coffee shop where Alex and Jordan meet for a chat about personal branding.

Alex: (sipping coffee) Thanks for meeting me, Jordan. I’ve been thinking about personal branding lately, and I could use some advice. As a freelance graphic designer, I feel like it’s essential for me.

Jordan: (smiles) Of course, Alex. Personal branding is crucial for giggers like us. It helps you stand out in a crowded marketplace. So, tell me, what are your current branding efforts?

Alex: Well, I have a website with my portfolio, and I’m active on a few social media platforms. But I’m not sure if I’m doing it right.

Jordan: (nodding) Those are good steps. Let’s start with your online presence. Your website and social media should reflect your unique style and personality. What’s your design style, and how do you want your clients to perceive you?

Alex: I’m known for my minimalist and clean designs, and I want clients to see me as a reliable and creative professional.

Jordan: Perfect. Your website should showcase your best work and highlight your style. Keep your social media consistent with your design style and the image you want to project. Also, engage with your followers by sharing insights and behind-the-scenes content.

Alex: That makes sense. What about self-promotion?

Jordan: Share your knowledge and expertise through blog posts or videos. This positions you as an authority in your field.

Alex: What about the personal touch?

Jordan: Personal branding isn’t just about what you do; it’s about who you are. Show your personality. Share your story. Let clients get to know you. People want to work with someone they like and trust. Also, ask your clients for testimonials and display them on your website.

Alex: That’s a great tip. It’s all about building trust and credibility, right?

Jordan: Exactly. Trust is the foundation of every successful personal brand. And always be authentic. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. Clients appreciate genuine people. Lastly, keep evolving. Your personal brand should grow with you as your skills and interests change.

Alex: Thanks, Jordan. You’ve given me a lot to think about. I’m excited to revamp my personal branding strategy.

Jordan: You’ve got this, Alex. Remember, personal branding is an ongoing process, and it’s an investment in your future. Good luck!

(They finish their coffee, and Alex leaves the coffee shop feeling inspired and motivated to improve their personal branding efforts.)

Assessment

  1. Personal branding is exclusively relevant to the professional world.
  2. Personal branding is about creating a consistent online identity.
  3. Professional personal branding typically focuses on career and industry expertise.
  4. Entrepreneurial personal branding aims to attract investors, customers, and partners.
  5. Authenticity is not important for influencer personal branding.
  6. Creative personal branding is not relevant in the gig economy.
  7. Corporate personal branding involves building a brand separate from the corporate identity.
  8. Community or activist personal branding seeks to influence environmental change.
  9. What is personal branding?
  10. Which platform is commonly used for professional personal branding?
  11. What is the main goal of influencer personal branding?
  12. Why is a consistent personal brand important for gig workers?