Less vain, more gain: 5 tips for personal branding success

Profile Picture of Amanda Williams
Amanda Williams
September 23, 2021
A pink flamingo stands on one leg, surrounded by white geese

Australian readers would be familiar with ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’, an unfortunate cultural phenomenon surrounding the idea that you shouldn’t outgrow or outshine your peers (or fellow poppies) in any way, writes Amanda Williams, media expert and founder of Yellowpanda agency.

In Australia, personal branding is something that people aren’t 100 per cent confident enough to embrace yet. With a common draw to humility, we cut down the “tall poppy” and fail to embrace the challenges others have overcome and view their achievements as a threat to our own.

Most clients who begin their personal branding journey with me at Yellowpanda Agency are hesitant to start for this very reason; with the belief that it’s egocentric to share your story and success with others.

Someone that opened my eyes to the truth, was the highly accomplished and captivating Jessica Zweig. We first met on Instagram, but I was lucky to meet the award-winning personal brand expert and author from Chicago on a professional mastermind retreat in 2018.

Unapologetically herself, and a radiant light in any room, my friendship with Jessica has given me insight into how community, self-confidence and sheer determination is the backbone to success.

Try these five self-promotion tips for more swagger less bragging

1. View others’ success in a positive light

Psst! I know, easier said than done, but I urge you to put a pin in the comparison. Believe it or not, not everyone is in direct competition. My advice would be to focus on where you’re going and how you’re going to get there, not to waste time worrying if someone is doing better than you are.

Building a strong network of like-minded individuals is a good way to spread positivity in your community. With the opportunity to empower one another and support each other to achieve great things, you minimise the unnecessary trend of bringing others down.

2. Embrace integrated marketing and use relevant channels to reach different audiences

My clients can vouch for the fact that I always say, sometimes for something to click, you need to wave it in front of your audience 10 times before they even register that it’s there.

As Jess stated, “marketing is (a mixture of) art, science and psychology”. If you want to be a thought leader, there are many ways you should be communicating with your audience other than via your Instagram account. This can be in the form of a blog or podcast – but it shouldn’t be through social content only. Don’t be ashamed or anxious about how others will perceive you – if you’re doing great things others should want to celebrate that!

PS. If you feel like you are cut down by friends rather than encouraged to continue growing, your inner circle may be more toxic than you realise.

3. Personal branding should be consistent, constant, and clear

If you’re not confident in yourself and don’t know why someone should follow you, why would they? Repeating a message is only going to be successful if it follows the three C’s above.

When discussing why 1,000 people attended Jessica’s online masterclass, she highlighted the importance of knowing the value you bring and nudging the right people about it. When you build your personal brand, you’re building a legacy. This outlives any metric and can take longer than you expect to resonate with the right crowd. Whether consciously or subconsciously, you’ll feel the compound effect of a consistent and clear brand message in turn!

4. Don’t expect instant ROI or a quick win

Adding to the previous point, success doesn’t happen overnight – no matter what it looks like from the outside. I often say to my clients, it could be 6 months before you feel any momentum from consistent hard work on your personal brand. But as previously mentioned, you need to be confident in your message, and your content needs to be valuable in the eyes of your audience.

Your narrative and its surrounding content can’t write itself and that takes time (sometimes a lot longer than you expected). It is impossible to expect an instant win without creating something worth the success and influence. After all, what’s a thought leader without insights? What’s insight without deep understanding and meticulous planning?

5. Trust and friendship get you through bad days (you’ll have them)

Believe me, I know trusting others with your business baby can feel overwhelmingly scary. But as you scale your business, you will come to the realisation that it’s impossible to do all the work yourself without it.

That’s why it’s so important to 1) have friends – like Jess – that celebrate your successes with you, and 2) find other authentic people to join your professional journey. They say friendship is a two-way street, well it is in business too. You need a community of people around you who can support you through the bad days!

My chat with Jessica Zweig about her book, Be., and her journey of success can be watched in full here.