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Show them your best side

Perception is 99% reality.

Don’t agree?

Just think about how much judging you’ve already done today. What do you think of the latest round of Bake Off Contestants? Why did you choose Mural instead of Miro? Which email did you respond to first this morning?

In our age of “make me care and do it fast”, how we’re perceived is fundamental to what we achieve in every area of our lives, so much so, that it’s been given a name – personal branding.

Personal branding in its simplest form, is how others view and describe you. People with strong personal brands are compelling. They make you feel something. Think Jeff Bezos, Kanye West and Meghan Markle – each tells a unique story and like them or not, their brands leave an impression.

What if you’re not famous though, isn’t personal branding just a bit of a fad? Not at all! Personal branding lets candidates differentiate themselves from the competition, bringing who they are to what they do and how they do it.

Creating your brand both on and offline, helps you get noticed and keeps you in mind, which means that opportunities are more likely to find you. So, how do you go about creating this best version of yourself, to share with the world?

When companies build a brand, they work through their customer’s thought process and aim to influence it at every stage. The basic questions are just as relevant on a personal level.

1. Have I heard of you?

When did you last Google your name? The good news is, in our last quick survey of candidates, 84% of you have run a search on yourself. Were there any surprises in the results? The internet and social media may have blurred the boundaries between personal and professional branding, but what you share is still a choice.

Apple being innovative and Tiffany blue boxes promising luxury didn’t appear overnight but are now established brands because they consistently reiterate their values to the waiting world. For the buying public, there’s no risk in these purchases. Can the same be said of you? Make sure you’re known for all the right reasons.

Aim to build influence, which in turn helps you reach your intended audience. Make positive moves every day to enhance your brand, but keep it consistent and relevant to those you aim to impress. Want to be taken seriously by a big corporate, then make sure any online photographs have you dressed appropriately and that your name is associated with compatible organisations, charities and events. Authenticity is key, so your brand must be an honest representation or you’ll quickly be found out.

2. Do I know what you do?

Your personal brand should be defined by your passions and your ambition. Think about your strengths, your values, your purpose in life and build your brand to make an impact. A good way to start is an old-fashioned SWOT analysis.

When we search for a product, we’re likely to look at the company website but also at the reviews and forums giving a more honest opinion, so don’t underestimate the value of third party validations in strengthening your brand. Ask for feedback. What traits do your colleagues, manager, neighbours value most? 77% of candidates who took part in our survey, have requested feedback from colleagues in the past. This is an essential element to know how they’d describe you.

Knowing or better still, choosing your niche, lets you see where to focus your efforts. Look for market opportunities and audiences that aren’t properly served. Who would most value your skills? Your personal brand should be as specific as possible and fuelled by your excitement for a particular topic. Make sure you’d buy from yourself by knowing how others perceive you and tailoring your brand accordingly.

3. Do you meet my needs better than anyone else?

“These days we’re all hyper aware consumers, which holds true even when the product is a person. Choices abound, so shaping perceptions makes it easier to attract the right audience. How are you different from your competition? What’s unique about how you do what you do? Some choose to wear a particular colour, dress in a certain style or adopt a specific approach. Whatever it is, choose to be an entrepreneur of your own career and consciously create your brand.”

Supporting others in their goals before asking for anything in return is a great way to gain positive brand recognition. As soon as you deliver value and take the attention off yourself you instantly become more interesting and this could be as easy as making an introduction or recommendation (the secret to LinkedIn’s initial success).

4. Do you deliver on your promises?

As the saying goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. You might have a brilliant online presence crammed with content and social media engagement, but if I meet you and fail to be equally impressed, then all the hard work has been in vain. Personal branding above all else must be authentic and consistent. Earn the respect of as many people as you can (even if you only network with one person a day) to make sure that the experience of meeting you matches expectations.

In the words of George Bernard Shaw “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

Personal branding means choosing who you want to be and how you will be remembered. It takes time and commitment, but if you don’t do it, someone else might just decide for you.

NAVIGATOR

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Our Community

As well as working in close collaboration with our clients, and the online marketplaces, we are active members of groups that have been established to combat illicit trade. These include the Scottish Anti-Illicit Trade Group, the European Intellectual Property Office, The Scottish Business Resilience Centre, the Anti-Counterfeiting Group, and the China Britain Business Council. Members of our senior management sit on the boards of ACID (Anti-Copying in Design), the Scottish Ministerial Trade Board, and the European Union Intellectual Property Office’s Observatory Panel for SMEs, amongst others.

Each team member nominates good causes or charities that are supported on both an individual and corporate basis. Wherever possible, we support the employee’s involvement whether through time or fundraising events.

Our Environment

We deliver purpose-driven work from an extremely welcoming environment near the City Centre. We actively encourage the responsible use of resources, from using public transport to reuse, recycling, and, of course, a minimal impact office environment. We have benefited from the advice of the Energy Saving Trust and Resource Efficient Scotland. Our waste contractor also provides us with a monthly report on volumes and types of material and the carbon emissions avoided through recycling.

Over 80% of our employees can walk or cycle to The Lair and, pre-pandemic, 10% were using public transport as their normal daily commuting mode. Without doubt, online meetings will replace considerable miles, going forward, saving resources, time and energy. Where possible, when possible, the train remains our preferred option. 

Our People

Our people are our most important asset, and their mental well-being and happiness are core to our success. We love our diverse workforce, actively embrace flexible working (even pre-pandemic!) and encourage a healthy work-life balance. We have been recognised as one of the most diverse SME workplaces in the UK and are holders of the Scottish Business Pledge which exists to promote a fairer Scotland. We have also just been included in the 2021 Culture Leaders Top 25 – an accolade of which we are very proud!

We are a fully inclusive and nurturing employer and, despite being in tech, the majority of our team are women, leading to accolades in the Computing Magazine Women in IT Awards and the Amazon Growing Business Awards. We currently represent 15 nationalities and speak 20 languages. Age is no barrier, and we recruit for attitude, providing and encouraging appropriate learning and training for each and every role.

We are also proud members of IP Inclusive, a network of professionals working to make the intellectual property industry more diverse.

Our Purpose

Our aim is to combat illicit online trade by identifying and removing counterfeits for sale. Counterfeits not only damage brands, their reputations, and revenues, but can cause significant harm to the end customer – whether as a fake toy or a fake medicine – and the consequences can be life threatening.

Counterfeiting is a significant economic and social issue.

The OECD reports that counterfeit and fake goods make up more than 3.3% of the world’s global trade. Those involved in the trade of counterfeits have been linked to people trafficking, prostitution, and drug dealing.

As such, reducing illicit trade is about much more than brand protection but also about human rights, safety, and social equity.

And this is what we do, every day.

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Communication Advisors

We’re a passionate and professional team who thrive in issue-rich environment and we’re looking for Senior Communication Advisors, Communications Advisors and Communications Executives to join their fast-growing team. 

You’ll have previous agency experience at Senior Account Manager or Account Manager level and be passionate about delivering excellent results for clients. You might be a specialist in PR and media relations who produces compelling editorial content across a range of topics and sectors or you might be a public affairs expert who understands the policy landscape and helps clients build influential relationships. Whatever your specialism, you’ll be an excellent writer, full of creative ideas, with proven client management experience and the ability to provide expert advice our clients.

Your key duties will include:

  • Supporting the key account lead with day-to-day client liaison, providing strategic counsel on day-to-day account matters when required
  • Active involvement in planning and delivering global PR, marketing and digital campaigns
  • Managing content programmes, including mapping out content themes, spotting industry trends and story angles, writing copy when required which may include opinion articles, web and social
  • Building strong media relationships, creating pitches based on your story ideas and delivering content in-to suit the client’s target media and securing opportunities
  • Planning and running client’s social media programmes, and management of their channels
  • Continuously identifying opportunities to grow brand awareness and profile our client’s businesses within their target sector through events, webinars, thought leadership
  • Producing comprehensive and timely reports on client activity 
  • Supporting in the development of client proposals to help grow or win parts of the business


In addition, to be considered for this role, you must be able to demonstrate:

  • Proven background in account handling and direct client liaison – 4 years’ minimum
  • Experience in an agency setting focusing on B2B communication or PR
  • Strong communications skills, verbal and written
  • A background in delivering creative, digitally led B2B communications such as LinkedIn campaigns
  • An innate understanding of earned media, with the ability to create stories and generate coverage across traditional media, digital and social
  • Experience working on content management programmes, with an awareness of the changing way business audiences consume information and an appreciation of search, paid and wider customer marketing activity, and how it all fits together
  • A history of working with clients in a variety of sectors is welcomed but experience in the tech and energy industries is advantageous.

Communication Lead

We’re a passionate and professional team who thrive in issue-rich environment and we’re looking to add a Communication Lead to our fast-growing team. You’ll be a trusted advisor to clients across several sectors in all aspects of communication, external affairs, marketing and issues management. Coming from an agency or consultancy environment, at Account Director level or above, you’ll report directly to the Managing Director and be responsible for a small and busy multi-disciplinary team. You’ll have first-class project management skills, be solutions-driven and excellent commercial acumen too. Alongside the senior team, you’ll work to drive the strategic growth of Aspect.

Your core duties will include:

  • Working with the MD to develop and deliver growth strategies 
  • Attracting and retaining profitable clients across a range of sectors 
  • Leading the creation and execution of strategic communication programmes
  • Inspiring, leading and developing multi-disciplinary teams
  • Developing strong relationships with clients, colleagues and associates
  • Producing high quality pitches and proposals to secure new business 
  • Curating, nurturing and managing a team of talented associates.

You’ll be a skilled communicator, interested and knowledgeable about the key issues shaping the external environment. In addition, to be considered for this role, you must be able to demonstrate:

  • 7+ years of senior leadership experience within an agency or consultancy
  • Experience in Energy, Renewables, Financial Services or Life Sciences would be very desirable
  • Outstanding writing skills and the ability to engage and excite an audience
  • An impressive track record of client attraction, retention and growth 
  • The ability to thrive fast-paced environment managing multiple projects simultaneously
  • Strong influencing and leadership skills to motivate and inspire those around you
  • Excellent planning, evaluation and project management skills
  • To develop new processes, systems and ways of working to drive performance

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OPTIMISE

CVs and interviews will take you to Level 2. Our behavioural profile will take you to Level 3, vital to identifying future potential.

LEVEL 1

Appears to...

  • Appearance
  • Expressiveness
  • Manner
  • Presence

LEVEL 2

Can do...

  • Knowledge
  • Acquired skills
  • Training
  • Experience
  • Education
  • Credentials

LEVEL 3

Will do...

  • Capability to learn
  • Aptitude
  • Attitude
  • Self-motivation
  • Stability
  • Persistence
  • Maturity
  • Temperament
  • Behaviour patterns