BYOB: Build Your Own Brand

I was just having a conversation with a friend and colleague a few minutes ago when I saw a post by Kevin O’Keefe of LexBlog on the exact topic of our conversation. The title of Kevin’s post: <a href="Only your personal brand will save you as a lawyer. The following quote hits the nail right on the head:

I’ve been blogging for years that you as lawyers need to build your niche and and word of mouth audience. It’s your reputation as an authority, not a website or other advertisement, that’s going to bring you the work you want.

Kevin’s post was directed specifically at lawyers – his target demographic – but he was simply sharing his take on another post by Dorie Clark that appeared in the esteemed Harvard Business Review. In the original article, Only Your Brand Will Save You, the continued success of a radio DJ is offered as an example of the power of personal branding. Ms. Clark states the following:

Starting today, think about how you can own your niche and build your audience. If you care about insuring yourself against hard times, the only true safety is in developing a personal brand that’s better known — and therefore more powerful — than that of your competitors, or even your employer.

I have found this to be true in my own life. You are responsible for your own personal brand. What is a personal brand? It is how others perceive you. If you aren’t taking control of cultivating your personal brand, who is going to do it for you?