Personal branding for consultants: Why it matters and how to build the perfect profile

Personal Branding For Consultants

Few things are more important than personal branding for consultants. After all, as a consultant, you’re not selling a product – you’re selling yourself. You need to convince your clients that they should pay for your unique insights, expertise, and experience.

While some nifty marketing strategies can help to grab the attention of the business owners, individuals, and potential clients you want to reach, they’re not enough on their own. 

Ultimately, it’s how customers perceive you and your value that determines whether you’re going to make a profit in your consulting business. That’s where your personal brand comes in.

Your branding efforts are how you share your story with your customers. They give you credibility, and help you establish emotional connections with the right people. 

The only problem? Building a well-established personal brand isn’t easy.

Fortunately, we’ve got your back. Here’s everything you need to know about building the perfect profile for your consulting business. 

Personal Branding For Consultants

What is personal branding for consultants?

Let’s start with the basics. Personal branding for consultants is the art of crafting a unique identity, image, and narrative for yourself as a professional in your field. 

Just like companies build brands to connect with their audience through compelling logos and messaging strategies, consultants can build brands that position them in front of the right target audience. 

So, what does it actually mean to build a personal brand? Do you need a personal logo, or a specific slogan you use in your ads and on your business cards?

That’s really up to you. Your brand pretty much consists of everything you do to differentiate yourself from the other consultants in your industry. That might include visual elements like a logo, but it also encompasses a bunch of other things, from your brand mission, to your tone of voice. 

Great personal branding is all about finding a way to share your unique characteristics, skills, ambitions, and passions with your audience. 

Personal Branding For Consultants

Is personal branding the same as marketing?

We get this question a lot. Your personal brand and your marketing efforts are both tools you use to “sell yourself” to your customers. At a glance, they seem like the same thing. 

However, there’s a bit of a difference. Personal branding is all about positioning yourself in your market, showcasing your values, unique approach to consulting, and your expertise. Marketing is how you draw attention to those things, through different channels like social media. 

Marketing is all about “communicating” your personal brand to your ideal clients. So, basically, you need an authentic personal brand to elevate your marketing strategy.  

Personal Branding For Consultants

Why consultants should be personal branding experts

So, why should you care about personal branding for consultants? 

Many of us are hard-wired to assume branding is something creative professionals and businesses do. Influencers and artists have brands, alongside major companies like Nike or Apple. 

Does branding really matter for consultants?

The simple answer is yes! Like it or not, we all have personal brands – even if we don’t actively cultivate them. Even students have their own personal brands, connected to their achievements, credentials, and presence on social media platforms. 

Personal branding is how you make sure you can connect with customers on an emotional level. Anyone can tell an audience they’re the best expert in their field, but it takes something extra to convince your audience your support can really benefit them. 

With a personal branding strategy, you take consistent steps to:

  • Generate trust: Personal branding uses innovative techniques to showcase your skills to customers, and validate your expertise. The content you share on your social media accounts, the case studies on your website, even your approach to public relations helps build trust.
  • Differentiate yourself: Sorry, but you’re not the only consultant out there – no matter what your field might be. Personal branding is how you highlight your unique value proposition, and convince your customers you can deliver something different. 
  • Increase profits: When you earn the trust of your target audience, your profits grow. Remember, 70% of purchasing decisions are based on emotional factors. A great personal brand is the easiest way to convince customers to hire you. 

The better your personal branding strategy is, the more you benefit. 

As you grow your thought leadership status, and connect with customers through an authentic brand identity, your “equity” grows. This means you can even charge higher fees for your expertise, because you convince your customers you’re going to give them genuine value. 

Personal Branding For Consultants

The components of a personal brand for consultants

Ok, you get it – personal branding is important, particularly for consultants. But what does a personal brand actually include? Basically, a personal brand features all of the same elements of a commercial brand, with some twists. 

You’ll need:

  • A brand promise: Basically your “value proposition”. What do you promise to deliver to your clients? What do they actually get from you?
  • Positioning: How do you want to be perceived by your clients? Are you an executive-level expert with veteran experience in your industry charging higher fees? Are you an innovator, a budget-friendly solution for growing companies, or something else?
  • Values: What core values drive your offering? Are you committed to punctuality, amazing customer service, or delivering a bespoke experience? 
  • Messaging: How do you communicate with your target audience? What sort of language do you use, and how does it resonate with your ideal customer?
  • Image: How do you present yourself visually, both online and offline? How do you dress? What do your business cards look like? Do you have a logo and website?
  • Deliverables: What are your services? What exactly do you offer to your customers in terms of consulting solutions? How do they compare to the competition?
  • Differentiation: How do you stand out in the consulting market? What makes you the best choice for the exact client you want to reach?
Personal Branding For Consultants

How to build a personal brand: Steps for consultants

Personal branding for consultants can be a little different to other forms of personal, or commercial branding. Other service providers, freelancers, and creatives still usually focus on drawing attention to what they offer – or their product. 

Your local hairdresser, for instance, probably spends a lot of time advertising the types of hairstyles and cuts they can provide, rather than focusing on their years of industry experience. 

As an independent consultant, you really only offer one thing: expertise. That means you need to draw attention to who you are, and why people should trust you

Here’s how you can get started.

1. Find your ideal audience

Here’s one thing that every brand has in common: it should always tailor to a specific target audience. Companies like Nike don’t just try to reach everyone. They focus on specific segments and groups (such as athletes, and people who want to be healthier). 

As a consultant, you have a specific area of expertise that makes you valuable to a very select group of people. You might be incredible at helping small companies thrive on social media networks. Maybe you know how to improve a company’s employer brand, or increase their sales. 

The success of your business, and brand depends on your ability to identify your niche. Find out who can benefit most from the services you offer, and your expertise. 

Learn about the pain points and challenges your customers face. This will help you to create a brand that directly appeals to “better clients” for your company. 

2. Audit your existing personal brand

In today’s world, everyone has a brand. Even if you’ve just started your consulting business, people can already find out everything they need to know about you. They can check out your social media presence, Google your name, and even ask other people about you.

So do some research. Find out what people see when they look for you online. Are you clearly showing your credentials and educational background on your website and social platforms. How do you present yourself through photos, social posts, and even blog posts?

How would people describe you based on what they can see today? You can ask your friends and peers for a bit of insight here. Based on what you learn, you can decide whether you need to invest more heavily in brand awareness, or reshaping your personal brand

3. Define your ideal brand identity

Once you know how people see you now, it’s time to decide how you want them to see you in the future. How do you need your clients to perceive you? If you’re not sure how you should be presenting yourself, do a quick competitor analysis

Search for consultants in your industry online and look at how they present themselves. What channels do they use for promotion, what’s their brand mission, vision, and promise?

Once you have this information, define:

  • Your brand ethos: What’s your mission statement (what you want to achieve for customers). Which values drive you? What are your business goals, and how do you deliver on your promises to your clients?
  • A unique value proposition: What makes your consultant services different? What’s particularly special about you? Does your history and personal life give you a unique perspective? Do you have years of experience in your industry?
  • Your image: What should people see when they interact with you? Do you have a website or portfolio, or just a strong social media presence? Have you invested in headshots, or a personal brand logo?

4. Update and enhance your online presence

Now you have an idea of how people should view you, it’s time to start shaping their perspectives. In today’s digital world, it’s usually a good idea to begin by refining your online presence. After all, most of your customers will probably be looking for your services online. 

Look at your social media strategy. Do you have a consistent image across all of the social media networks you use? Are you using your social posts to show thought leadership, by commenting on industry trends and relevant news? How do you share your value with customers?

Make sure you invest heavily in optimizing your LinkedIn profile. Even if you have your own website or online portfolio, most customers will check out your LinkedIn account for insights into your experiences and educational credentials. 

Once you’ve nailed your social strategy, think about creating a professional website. Having your own website gives you an opportunity to share all of the extra information your customers might need about your small consulting business. 

You can write a comprehensive about page, discussing your story and experiences in your niche. You can also share case studies and testimonials that demonstrate the outcomes of your work. Plus, you’ll have a great chance to invest in content marketing with a well-established website. 

5. Develop thought leadership

Personal branding for consultants is all about showcasing and validating your expertise. That means you’re going to need to constantly demonstrate thought leadership. After all, your customers want to hire people who understand their field better than they do. 

An easy way to get started is with content marketing. Your personal website is a powerful tool for sharing insights with the world. You can create blog posts that drive your website to the top of the online search results for specific keywords, like “brand design” or “B2B selling”. 

Plus, you can boost your visibility by writing guest posts for other authoritative sites in your niche. You can even connect with customers by sharing content through social media and email. 

Share information on the success of your business so far. Explore trends and give unique opinions on your market. 

Other ways to build thought leadership as a consultant include:

  • Speaking at industry events and conferences: Who’s more credible – an unheard-of person with years of academic experience, or an innovator who frequently appears to talk at industry conferences? Look for opportunities to speak at events in your niche.
  • Creating educational content: As a consultant, you’re also a teacher. Consider creating webinars, online courses, and videos that explore topics your customers might be interested in. Don’t just provide basic information – dive deep into each topic.
  • Collaboration: Contribute to press interviews, work with other thought leaders in your niche on videos, and consider participating in podcasts. You could even work with a writer to create an authoritative book on your niche. 
Personal Branding For Consultants

Personal branding tips for consultants

It takes time and effort to become a personal branding expert. If you’re not a personal branding specialist, you probably won’t become a household name in your industry overnight. 

However, there are ways you can boost your chances of success:

Build your network

Relationships matter – particularly in the consulting business. Find ways to connect with authorities in your field. Join social media groups, attend industry events and meetups, and cultivate meaningful connections with influential figures. 

A strong network will help to validate your credibility in your niche. After all, we tend to judge people by the company they keep. Plus, networking will help you find new potential clients to serve in your industry, opening the door to more income. 

Get extra support

You can’t be an expert at everything. That’s the whole reason you have a job as a consultant. People need to tap into the support and expertise of others to achieve their goals. Consider working with personal branding consultants, or the top personal branding experts for extra assistance. 

You can also work with freelancers and agencies on branding steps like creating a personal logo, or designing marketing campaigns. 

Expand your education

There are tons of great resources out there that can help you master personal branding for consultants. Check out some of the best books on personal branding, or follow thought leaders in your field to draw insights from them. 

You can even take online classes to get a fresh perspective on everything from content creation and search engine optimization, to building your own website and brand design assets. 

Get your image right

A great brand image is important for virtually any kind of company, but it’s particularly crucial for consultants. No-one’s going to trust someone who has low-quality photos on their website, or wears tracksuits to industry events. 

Invest in headshots to help position yourself as a true professional in your field. Work with experts to design an amazing website, and remember to dress for success. 

Be consistent and proactive

Inconsistency is poison to personal branding. If you want to earn the trust of your potential clients, you need to be consistent in your marketing, messaging, and the image you present. Make sure you’re not showcasing a different identity on different social channels. 

At the same time, be proactive about protecting the brand you build. Use social monitoring tools to keep track of how customers talk about you. Measure your reputation and brand equity with NPS (Net Promoter Score) surveys, and listen to consumer feedback. 

3 Examples of personal branding experts

Still confused or nervous about building a powerful personal brand? We get it. While the benefits of a strong personal brand are phenomenal for consultants, it’s easy to make mistakes. A good way to get started on the right track, is to learn from the best. 

Here are some great examples of the power of personal branding, from the experts. 

Personal Branding For Consultants

1. Leanne Legasse

Leanne is a HR consulting and coaching expert, focused on helping companies to increase employee engagement. She constantly demonstrates credibility and thought leadership in her field. 

Not only does she have her own website, featuring case studies and customer success stories, but she appears at industry events too. Plus, she creates amazing content, like guides on employee journey mapping, designed to support her customers. 

Leanne even shows off her industry credentials on the front page of her website, using social proof to earn trust. Plus, she often highlights great reviews and testimonials from companies she’s worked with. 

You can find plenty of inspiration for your own personal brand on Leanne’s site.

Personal Branding For Consultants

2. Nicola Kastner

Award-winning event marketing strategy consultant, Nicola Kaster is a master of personal branding. She’s even designed her own logo to make her really stand out from the competition. 

Niola showcases reviews and testimonials on her website, and shares regular thought leadership content with her fans. She even has a fantastic “resources” page, full of downloadable tools and reports that customers can access for free. 

The great thing about Nicola is how she demonstrates her value through constant references to her expertise and reputation. She’s also very clear about the work she does, and the specific customers she wants to target. 

Personal Branding For Consultants

3. Aaron Ward

Digital marketing consultant, Aaron Ward also uses amazing personal branding to his advantage. His website showcases some of the companies he’s worked with in the past from the moment you arrive, demonstrating experience, authority, and expertise. 

Plus, Aaron shares an authentic insight into his life, his experiences throughout the years, and even the challenges he’s faced on his “About” page. Aaron’s website is brimming with reviews, testimonials, and valuable thought leadership content.

He also has a fantastic presence on social media, and his own YouTube page, where he creates educational videos that highlight his skills. He even has his own range of online courses, increasing his value for potential customers. 

Becoming a personal branding expert

Learning how to master personal branding for consultants is crucial to the future of your business. Ultimately, your brand is the key to ensuring you can attract and convert customers, and retain relationships with your existing clients. 

Of course, building an amazing brand isn’t easy. Discovering how to position yourself in your industry, connect with clients on an emotional level, and preserve your reputation is tough. 

If you’re struggling to build a powerful personal brand, it might be worth reaching out for some extra help. Find a personal branding coach, or your own personal brand consultant to help you. Alternatively, reach out to Fabrik, for comprehensive support with personal branding.

We can give you the step-by-step guidance you need to develop a strong brand, whether you’re creating a new image, or perfecting your messaging strategy. 

Fabrik: A branding agency for our times.

Alyssa Omandac
Content manager
Alyssa Omandac
Content manager
Alyssa is a regular contributor to Brand Fabrik, covering topics from the role of social media in marketing and branding to the importance of search engine optimisation, self-promotion, and building one's own personal brand.

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