[IMGCAP(1)]A personal brand is the single most important thing any professional will build over their career. It helps you become more marketable for promotions or job opportunities—but it can also help you generate more business by differentiating you and your firm in the marketplace.

Building your personal brand is easier said than done. Most professionals don’t spend nearly enough time on it but those that do tend to be more successful at business development. So what should you be doing? There is a trifecta of three activities every professional should employ to help build their personal brand.


One of the best ways to build credibility is to speak. It also helps build your awareness in a given subject matter and market.  Professionals should aim to speak periodically throughout the year in various forums. Those forums could include external marketplace forums like conferences, seminars or webinars, videos or podcasts. This could also encompass teaching at a university, facilitating panels, or providing technical education.


Leading is one of the fastest ways to elevate your status.  It puts you in a position to do several things. First, it keeps your finger on the pulse on what’s going on in the organization you lead. If the organization you are involved in is industry-related, this can be really powerful.

Second, it gives you access to other leaders in the organization and even to those outside that may provide a great amount of influence for you.

Third, it gives you visibility. As a leader, you are seen by everyone in the organization you lead as well as those outside it that may be influenced.

There are many different places you can lead. However, I recommend professionals consider two main areas. First and foremost is an industry-related organization. This could include an industry association, like a manufacturing association, or a professionals association, like the American Institute of CPAs.

The second area professionals should consider is a personal or charitable cause they are passionate about. Most often, leadership involves sitting on a board, but it could also include chairing a committee or event for the organization. Keep in mind, leadership means not just membership, but actually taking an active role in the organization.


The final element that’s critical in the trifecta is writing. Often times you either love it or hate it. However, it is a critical element. Writing offers similar benefits to speaking, but it has longer staying power because it can more easily be shared.

Writing today can encompass so many things, including writing articles for an industry publication, authoring white papers or developing articles for company newsletters. It may also mean guest blogging, blogging or micro blogging (think Twitter). Regardless of your preference, professionals looking to build their personal brand should be writing multiple times a year to help build their personal brand.

Building your personal brand takes time. But, a great personal brand can help you reap many rewards.

Sarah Johnson is the chief growth strategist with Inovautus Consulting, a firm that works with CPA, law and professional service firms to help them grow more effectively, and author of Practical Ideas for Growth, a blog dedicated to growing professional firms. Her counsel and strategies have helped move firms to the next level in their marketing and sales efforts. Connect with Sarah at 773-634-9902, sjohnson@inovautus.com, or www.linkedin.com/in/sjjohnson.