“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos
Your personal brand is essentially your professional reputation, publicised.
In this crazy century, every individual has become the writer, editor, and creative director of their own publication.
The internet has made the wisdom of company branding apply to individuals.
If you don’t treat yourself as an entity with a brand, your reputation is unlikely to go past your friends and immediate colleagues.
If you want your reputation to extend into the industry, if you want your reputation to precede you, start building a sharp, impressive personal brand today.
Why is personal branding important in the biopharma industry?
Personal branding is important in all knowledge work, and no less so in science-related industries. The reason can be summed up in two words…
In the biopharma industry, expertise is a valuable currency. If you can demonstrate a deep understanding of your field, employers and customers alike will give you a second look.
For those of you looking for employment, specifically, biopharma is a candidate-driven market.
Firstly, an applicant’s expertise is a huge part of considerations. If that expertise can be demonstrated with a quick Google search, you’re in good shape.
More broadly, the industry is experiencing a surge of change in technology and new emerging markets. If you can show you’re on top of it, you’ll shine.
Biopharma is a small world where being an active voice is enough to be noticed, and being a heavy contributor to the discussions might get you well-known.
“It is not about who you know but about who knows you.” – John Purkiss (author of How To Be Headhunted and Brand You)
What’s the most efficient way to build a personal brand?
The essential factors to a great personal brand are as follows:
- Craft your online persona.
- Know how to tell your story.
- Become a contributor to a network.
- Become a publication.
1. Craft Your Online Persona
To optimize your brand, you’ll need to make yourself (a) understandable and (b) trustable in as little time as possible.
The surest way to do this is to identify and occupy a piece of “mental real estate” in the minds of those who find out about you.
When you occupy a slot, you’re the first one someone thinks of when they think about that niche.
The size of this “real estate” correlates with how difficult it is to fill.
For example, if you wanted to occupy the “biologist” slot you’ll have to compete with Darwin.
Occupying the slot of “German pipette-tip manufacturer” is considerably easier. Narrow your slot until the competition is feasible.
What mental slot do you want to fill? What do you want to be known for?
How to Optimize Your Social Media Profiles to Look Credible & Professional
Once you’ve decided what you want to be known for, it’s time to adjust your social media profiles to reflect your focus.
Use the bio section to communicate who you are, what value you bring to the table, and why.
Think of your social media profiles as landing pages with the potential to send customers or employers to things you want them to see.
On Twitter, for example, you can add one external link under the bio, a great place for your personal website. You can also add clickable URLs within the bio itself (using a link-shortening service like Bit.ly, Rebrandly, or open-source Polr).
Pro Tip: Many social profiles allow you to pin content to the top of your feed. Use pinned content to point to content you’ve published that best demonstrates your expertise in your field.
2. Know How to Tell Your Story (The 10-3-10 Story Toolkit)
Be prepared for any eventuality with three distinct versions of your story:
- The 10-second “elevator pitch”
- The 3-minute narrative
- The 10-minute conversation
The 10-Second Elevator Pitch
This is the only one you should script precisely. If you can keep it to one sentence, all the better.
Try this template on for size:
I help [customer/employer] with [problem] by [what you do].
This is a tried and true elevator pitch. It can be used by business owners and employees alike. If you’re a research scientist working for a large corporation, for example, you can say:
“I help [name of the company you work for] develop better pharmacological agents by researching [specific field in which you conduct your research].”
Include your elevator pitch in your social media bios, or even your email signature, to give anyone who finds you an easily consumed, zoomed out view of who you are, what you do, and why.
The 3-Minute Narrative
A good story is based on purpose, progress, and challenge.
Why did you take the path you took? Where were you when you started the journey that lead you here, and what are the major challenges that got in your way?
Type out your 3-minute narrative once, and don’t worry about remembering what you wrote. It’s not a 3-minute monologue! Getting your story out of your head and onto paper or screen is enough to organise your past in your mind. From then, it only takes practice.
Lastly, polish it up and add it to your “About” page to help visitors get a great background on you and be drawn into your story.
The 10-Minute Conversation
This version of your story consists of a loose collection of bullet points.
The purpose is not to waffle on about your past, but to start a conversation about where you have common ground with the person you’re talking to.
These points can consist of fun or interesting anecdotes from your past, your biggest inspirations, your regrets, and your dreams for the future. Anything that might help you make the most of a ten minute conversation.
Use your talking points to find commonalities with whoever you’re talking to and how you might be able to help each other in a professional context.
These bullet points can make great starting points for interesting content, particularly any that relate to where your field should go in the future. Get the conversation started online through articles or groups and forums related to your work.
3. Become a Contributor in a Network
Once you have a cohesive and focused online presence, it’s time to start reaching out and building your network.
Become a recognisable face in the right circles.
First, always follow the golden rule of networking – add value wherever you go.
Enter any community you find with a positive, giving attitude. Before long, reciprocity will kick into effect.
Keeping in mind the “mental real-estate” you want to occupy, look for online communities that relate to that slot.
Online communities could include:
- Groups of direct peers
- Potential customers
- Potential employers
- Interest groups surrounding your niche
Look for these groups first on Linkedin, the go-to platform for professional topics. Next, check out Quora, a site where the “culture” for users is one of thoughtful discussion and expert advice. You can also look for Facebook Groups, Subreddits, or Twitter hashtags that are related to what you do.
4. Become a Publication
Social media rockstar Gary Vaynerchuk is known for saying that, in the modern landscape, every one of us is a media company.
Content creation might seem time-consuming, but there are gradations of effort in content production. Not everything you put out there should be the most time-expensive kind!
Remember these three content categories: Creation, curation and documentation.
Includes articles, videos, and podcasts, etc.
It is, of course, the most time-consuming and effortful category, and crucial for establishing yourself as a thought leader.
Anyone with a rocking personal brand creates fresh content on a regular basis.
Don’t panic, though. It doesn’t have to be daily. Weekly is preferable but every other week or even every month is absolutely fine.
Your frequency doesn’t matter as much as your consistency and the quality of the work.
Over time, your ever-growing backlog of content will serve as easily-accessible proof of your expertise and competence.
Curation consists of collecting content from across the internet and sharing it with your followers. Once someone establishes they like how you think, they’ll welcome finding out what content you endorse.
I’m sure you’re already keeping up to date with industry news and researching things online to help with your work. Anything that’s related to the “mental real-estate” you want your personal brand to occupy is fair game and a great way to fill the time between your fresh content.
People love to peek behind the scenes.
If you’re struggling to think of what to write as fresh content, begin by documenting your journey. Is there anything about your working process that you could share with a picture or a paragraph of prose?
It’s common, especially at the start of a career, to think that you don’t have enough to say about your niche. Fine! You don’t have to speak with authority you don’t think you have.
Instead, educate yourself until you have that authority and document the process.
How Much Do You Need to Produce to Stand Out?
Luckily for you, the Pareto Distribution is on your side.
Nielson Norman Group reported in 2006 that 1% of internet users produce about 90% of the content. The reason? The vast majority of users consume content without contributing at all.
Any amount of consistent engagement and content will put you in the 1% of internet users.
Step Into The Limelight
It’s time to be heard.
Start small. Your brand will evolve over time as you do.
One of the most common concerns with personal branding is not wanting to pigeon-hole yourself. Maybe you’re not doing what you want to do for rest of your life. That’s okay! Proving yourself a valuable voice in whatever niche you occupy now will still set you up for future success in your next iteration.
If you’d like a team of marketing professionals to get behind your personal branding efforts, Labiotech is here for you. Book a call with our team for friendly advice and to find out how Labiotech Reach can help you make a huge impact with your career.