Why you need to build your personal brand – and how to make this work for you

What do people say about you when you’re not in the room? What would you like them to say?

Few accountants seem to think this through. If you are clear about what you want people to say though you are likely to find success a lot faster than anyone who is ‘just another’ accountant. And clarity here will also help ensure that you are better remembered, referred and recommended.

There are two elements to consider. What do you want people to say about:

  • What you do (as an accountant)? and, separately
  • You as a person?

That second question though is especially tough. You need to be somewhat self aware and self analytical to address this successfully.

For example, do you want to be remembered as a thoughtful person who listens to others? Or as someone who is self-absorbed and who talks AT people without really taking any notice of what they say?

Do you know how you come across? Or what people currently say about you?

We each create an impression by what we say, how we say it and how we react to other people. This is true of face to face encounters but also of our online engagement on social media and Linkedin.

It can be instructive to reflect on the way that other people will remember us.

These memories that other people build become our personal brand. And if it’s not what we want it to be then it’s up to US to change things ourselves.

Going back to the first of the two questions, you also want to provide some clarity about your role as an accountant. People need to know your areas of expertise and of specialism.

I have said it before and I will no doubt say it again, you are different to all the other accountants out there. You are You. You have your own past experiences and interests to draw on. If you make no effort to distinguish yourself, you will struggle longer than those accountants who are memorable and distinct.

We have all heard the old phrase: ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’. The implication being that to be successful, you need to accept that your knowledge and skills are less useful and less important than your network of personal contacts.

I think that old phrase is no longer correct.

The truth is that, these days, It’s BOTH what you know and who you know. And who knows you. And, this is crucial, What they say about you.  YOU can determine this by how you behave and by what you say both in real life and online. Take control and build your personal brand to be more successful than those who leave it to chance.

Whenever I talk with accountants (and indeed anyone else) about how they can make Linkedin work for them, I make similar points. These also apply regardless of which platform and media you use for marketing purposes. Essentially you need to keep in mind what you could post, comment or say that will have the desired impact on the type of people you most want to influence. If you just engage willy-nilly you may not have the positive impact you really want.

Let’s have a chat if any of this resonated with you. I love supporting and encouraging sole practitioner accountants who want to secure more referrals, reach and results. One key factor here is how you talk about yourself and thus build, mould or evolve your personal brand.

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About the Author:

Mark Lee
Mark Lee FCA is an accountancy focused futurist, influencer, speaker, mentor, author and debunker.

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