Skip to main content
Commsy creative stuff straight to your inbox


Personal branding: five key tips to help you move forward quicker 

< Blog home

Personal branding: five key tips to help you move forward quicker 

Whether we’re in-house or freelance, consultant or agency, our personal brand tells comms colleagues and clients, friends and family who we are and what we stand for.

You may be actively working on your brand right now, or maybe you’re curious about how to cultivate it. Perhaps you’ve no idea where to begin and you’d like to find out more…

The good news is that it needn’t be another complicated task in your endless to-do list. Defining your personal brand can be broken down into stages, and you can focus on each stage for as little or as long as you like.

Shining comms star, Advita Patel (pictured) has written for us today, sharing her own experience of personal branding and letting us in on her five top tips to help us all to refine the way we present ourselves.

Over to you, Advita.

Personal branding has been gaining momentum for several years but it’s still an area that not many people seem to prioritise or truly understand.

Before we dive in on what personal branding is, we need to consider the basics of what a brand is.

If you think about your favourite product, what comes to your mind first? It’s highly likely you’ll think about the packaging, it’s attributes and how it makes you feel. However, most importantly it’s the stories that people tell about the brand to each other that matter the most. This is something the brand owner has no control over, they can certainly have fancy advertising campaigns to help create an impression but ultimately the stories you share about that brand is completely up to you – whether they’re good or bad.

This also applies to your personal brand and here’s my simple definition:

The impression you leave other people with once you’ve left the room or the conversation.

So why bother with your personal brand and why should you care?

There’s a lot of research out there presenting evidence on the benefits of establishing your personal brand but basically if you’re looking for a new job, want to get a promotion, set-up a new business, grow your client base or get some industry recognition – then this is something you need to invest some time in.

If you’ve not given it much thought before, the good news is that it’s never too late to start working on your brand, regardless of where you are in your life or career.

1) Define your USP (Unique Selling Point)

What strengths do you have that make you stand out from the rest of the crowd? What are your values and why are they so important to you? Think about your passions and why you enjoy doing them.

Ask your friends, family and colleagues to write 5 things they think are your strengths and why. This small task will help define who you are and what inspires/motivates you to keep on moving.

2) Discover your improvement areas

As well as your strengths you need to be aware of your development areas. Again ask your friends, colleagues, peers, leaders to list some. It’s really important you remain open-minded during this activity and don’t take the feedback to heart. It’s for your own development and you need to remain receptive if you want to move forward.

3) Develop your personal image

Once you’ve narrowed down your list of values/strengths and areas of development – you need to start thinking about your personal image. What do you want people to see your brand as? How do you want to be perceived? A really strong brand can have a great ROI (return on investment) so it’s important to dedicate some time to this. One key thing to remember when you’re developing your personal image is that you remain consistent. You can’t be one personality online and then someone completely different when people meet you in real life. It’s confusing and can weaken your brand.

4) Start building your brand

Just like a new product, you need to start building your brand. Think about your social media presence? Does it represent you as a brand? Check your security settings for any info you’re not comfortable sharing more widely, but remember, no matter how secure your social media is there is a chance it can be leaked, so if you’re not confident, don’t post it.

Also think about the way you present yourself in person –– from are your nails clean to how do you stand when you’re presenting – it’s the simple things that matter.

5) Be yourself and authentic

This is critical. The whole point of a personal brand is to enhance the person that you are and to showcase your fabulous strengths. Don’t try to be someone you’re not, it’ll come across as fake and can damage your brand plus it’ll be exhausting for you. If you truly feel uncomfortable doing something then don’t do it. Don’t follow the crowd, do something that makes you stand out and emphasises who you are – ultimately that’s your personal brand!

There are many books out there that you can reach for if you’re looking for more help on personal branding, one I loved and found helpful was Reinventing You by Dorrie Clark.

“The guys at Alive understand the complexities of our business which means we don’t need to explain the detail of every project or design piece – they’re already on it, which keeps things moving and delivers the results we need.”

Emily Stoten — Head of Marketing, Selecta

“I feel like they own and care for the project as much as we do! I would not use anyone else for my creative work and think Alive is ahead of the game.”

Jo Hobbs — Communications Manager

“Thanks for all your help. We are delighted with the campaign, both in terms of the creativity and messaging but also the thought taken over the rollout of the materials. All looks absolutely fabulous!”

Sarah Crowdy — Campaign and Media Officer Communications, South East Water

“We went to ‘Alive’ for ideas on how to run a specific employee program in Europe. Alan and his team were brilliant in coming up with fresh, creative and practical approaches. The team took charge and executed brilliantly. We are pleased with the progress made so far and hope to have the same level of partnership and commitment going forward.”

Sobha Varghese — Tata Consultancy Services

“We had the privilege to work with the Alive team. It was our first time to be involved in creating an animation for our patients within paediatrics. The team were approachable, friendly, creative and very accommodating. Your vision for what you want to create, is at all times acknowledged, appreciated and accommodated by the team. They worked effectively and with great passion towards our project and worked not only alongside health professionals but also our patients who really enjoyed the experience of working with the Alive team. It has given our team the confidence and inspiration to do further projects in the future. We highly recommend Alive and their exceptional team.”

DR ELENI ATHANASAKOS, Lead Paediatric Clinical Scientist — NHS Barts Health

“‘The short animation developed in co-production with clinicians and young people is outstanding! Informative, developmentally appropriate, vitally fun and engaging. We are really grateful for the expertise of the Alive with Ideas team for their innovative approach in building children’s health literacy.'”

Kath Evans — Director of Children’s Nursing at Barts Health

“Our mission was to update our brand visuals to better reflect our innovative and forward-thinking organisation. After receiving numerous pitches from different branding agencies, Alive stood out with their clear passion and understanding of our identity and goals. We thoroughly enjoyed working with the Alive Team to create an engaging new brand that we are immensely proud of.”

Lianne Springer — Communications and Engagement Lead

“Alive wowed us during the pitch process and they didn’t stop wowing us throughout the whole project. Every person we worked with at Alive were so friendly, knowledgeable and clearly passionate about what they do. They have worked with us to really understand what we do and have created a new brand and website that really stands out from our competitors. Thank you!”

Louise Burnard, Head of Marketing and Communications UK — Be | Shaping the Future

“I think the team have done such a brilliant job, particularly with responding to our requests. It's one of the best mental health videos I've ever seen. Very proud to be associated with your exemplary work. Thank you so much.”

Dr Anna Batho — Clinical Psychologist – Critical Care, UCLH

“We have worked with Alan, Caroline and the wider Alive With Ideas team for many years. In that time, they have provided a dedicated service that is second to none. We appreciate their attention to detail and creative approach to bringing our brand, communications and stories to life. And would recommend them to anyone looking for creative communications support.”

Georgia Beech — Internal Communications Specialist, Ocado Group

“This is brilliant. I wanted to give my heartfelt thanks to all of the team who worked on this. You all understood exactly what we wanted to communicate and why, and then managed to do it in a way that was far better than anything I could have imagined. I’m a bit choked up to be honest!”

Sarah Wright, Head of Communications and Campaigns — NEA

“Each time I work with the team, I am always stunned at the effort and creativity that goes into each detail and am always eager for the end result. The team is extremely accommodating and always provide a fresh approach to our projects that elevates our communications materials!”

Alana Khaytin, Communications Specialist — Braskem America

“What I really appreciate about Alive is that they work with us as partners, and care as much about getting it right for our patients as we do.”

Sara Langston, Patient Engagement & Marketing Manager — italk

“Alive are unique in how much they deeply listen and invest in you and your ideas. I have not come across a company that listens as much as they do to ensure your needs are understood and met (actually - they always exceed my needs and expectations). Everyone I recommend Alive to has an equally brilliant experience. When you work with Alive, you are not only getting some genius creativity brought into your life, you are also hanging out with some of the best examples of human beings I’ve ever known.”

Steph Tranter, Hybrid Exec Coach & Psychologist —

“Alive helped us create a video of our response to the floods of winter 2019. Our Chief Officer received messages from all round the country praising us for it and was really pleased with both the video and the response to it.”

Alexander Mills, Communications Manager — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“Alive were professional, friendly and great to work with. Most importantly they were creative, helping us to bring an extremely important safety campaign to life.”

Jack Grasby — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“The (Alive) team were able to creatively pull together and document (in just over 2minutes) everything our service has achieved over the last few months, from thousands of prescriptions deliveries to hundreds of phone calls made to the vulnerable. The final product was so powerful and reflective of what our service has and continues to achieve. It couldn’t have been better received within the service – thanks Alive for once again helping us to communicate our vision!’”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire & Rescue

“We worked with the team at Alive to create our staff recognition video.
At a time like this, its never been more important to share the amazing work that our staff have done and continue to do on a daily basis under very difficult circumstances. We wanted to shout about this and recognise that when the time came, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue stepped up to the plate. We didn’t want an ordinary thank you post on social media or a basic email sent out internally, we wanted something special. Enter Alive. ”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“This looks amazing - brought a smile to my face scrolling through it :-)”

Jack Ford, Head of Marketing — streamGO

“Our company is fun, we have great brands, but most importantly we’re all about our people – and I wanted an agency who would understand that and help us bring it to life through our website and other comms. Straight away I felt that Alive ‘got’ us and provided the creative inspiration exactly where we needed it, as well as the technical expertise to deliver a well-functioning website.”

Keren McCarron, Head of Corporate Affairs & Communications — KP Snacks

Thank you so much. Incredible work done at incredible speed by incredible people.
Outstanding work as ever and what a turnaround. As for the concepts – wow. These are that good it would be an insult to describe them as just good. It’s a joke, quite frankly. This is exactly the Alive effect I was after. Right now I feel like I am living in an Alive With Ideas wonderland. Thank you!”

Jack Grasby, Campaigns Manager — SYFR

“If you are looking to improve creativity and build teamwork, I highly recommend a session like this for your team. No matter where you are in your creativity journey, a workshop like this can give your team a boost of energy and ideas to invigorate their creative thinking.”

Amy Lilja, IC Manager — Hennepin Healthcare

“Alive were there to help when we were working every hour to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. They gave us the creativity, ideas and support we needed to deliver campaigns which empowered our residents in the most difficult time most of us have ever seen, personally and professionally. The team understood what we needed, worked closely with us and delivered fast without any compromise on quality. Working with Alive has been a joy in the darkest of times and I have no doubt will have helped to save lives. Thanks team x”

Julie Odams, Assistant Director of Communications & Customers — Derbyshire County Council

“We got 'Alive' involved to help us shift mindsets across our organisation and they delivered! Using simple, clear and creative ideas the team have delivered us a campaign which has seen a dramatic increase in idea sharing and development. They’ve also played a significant role in creating a culture of shared success. I wouldn’t hesitate to work with again, in fact, we already are!”

Gavin Buckle — B&Q
Alive logo