10 Strategies for Building Authentic Personal Brands: Insights from an AFETT Panel Discussion

On May 23rd, AFETT asked me to be one of the panelists on the discussion called “Brand for You.” Focus on helping women build their personal brand. There were roughly 10 questions, but because the discussion was so engaging, we did not get a chance to go through all of them. This is me, answering from my perspective, which I think is pretty unique given the fact that AFETT is the Association of Female Executives of Trinidad and Tobago, and I was the only man on that panel. I think my perspective is a unique one given the fact that I’m a man.

So I want to go through many questions, state what the question is, and then give my answer, my perspective. Feel free to share your perspective on it in the comments.

Here’s the video version of this if you’d like to listen versus read – 10 Strategies for Building Authentic Personal Brands

What does personal branding mean to you? And why is it crucial for female professionals and entrepreneurs?

My thing is, your personal brand is incredibly critical in today’s world. The thing that I wanted to say initially, and I said it later on, was that personal branding is something every single person should learn now, not later, not next year, not 2025, or 2026. You should learn it right now because it is the most important thing to set yourself apart. Whether you’re a professional or an entrepreneur, it does not matter. It plays such a huge factor in today’s economy, and the fact that we all have our digital devices means that having that personal brand goes an extremely long way. It is critical and a top priority to learn the basics and essentials because it helps you with your voice when you’re speaking. It goes a long way. Here’s a full example –

How can women ensure that their personal brand reflects their authentic selves while still appealing to their target audience?

If you are being 100 percent authentic, it will naturally appeal to your target audience. If you have to pretend to be someone else for your audience or for those you want to work with or pay you for your services, then you are not going to have the best authenticity in branding. This question is probably the most important one because I believe people can tell when a brand isn’t true. I laugh when people see me in yellow all the time and say, “I always see you in yellow.” This is literally just me. I am like this 24/7, 365 because this is me. Authenticity develops through consistency. If you have decided to work on a personal brand, are you showing up like this every single day? Can someone get an essence of your brand at any time? If not, then you are not truly authentic.

What types of content resonate best with audiences when it comes to posting or branding? And how can we consistently create valuable content that aligns with our brand message?

Let’s answer the first part. What types of content resonate best with audiences when it comes to personal branding? I would tell you it’s video. If you can authentically put yourself out there in video, it is the fastest way to build trust and authority with strangers. It is one of the best ways to build empathy in the brand, and it is unmatched. Pictures cannot do it. Pictures no longer paint a thousand words; video does.

The second part, how can we consistently create valuable content that aligns with our brand message? If I know what my brand is and what I want it to do, the last thing to think about is the buyer, the person who buys the brand. Ask them what they are looking for when they see a person or a brand that represents the values they hold close to themselves. Then you’ll understand what types of content you need to create to get that message effectively across.

How important is storytelling in personal branding? How can we craft compelling narratives to communicate our brand message effectively?

I may tell stories through content, but I don’t think I’m that good at communicating. Maybe because sometimes my grammar is bad. However, I think if your message is authentic and true, it will be a compelling narrative. It could be anything about the different journeys and experiences you have along the path as an entrepreneur or a professional. Authenticity should be the foundation of your stories, making them effective with your audience and communicating the brand message effectively. For example, one of my favorite content creators on fashion, Chantal LaRoche of CLR Code, tells simple stories about where she got her clothes from, which is compelling to her audience. Authentic stories that showcase you will always appeal to the values of your audience and match your authentic personal brand.

In what ways can platforms like LinkedIn and other social media channels be utilized effectively to enhance one’s personal brand?

I showcased my t-shirt, and content is the differentiator.

If you want to understand how platforms can be utilized effectively, you need to commit to creating content for 90 days. Test and see which platform has the biggest impact. You could look at views, DMs, and likes to determine the top priority. The real answer is how committed you are to showing up on those platforms. Create content consistently for 90 days. By focusing on creating content before creating a personal brand, you’ll find and understand your authentic personal brand. The first few pieces may be awful, but as you continue, you’ll find your rhythm and voice.
Here’s my video on this – 90 days of content

How can women use networking and relationship-building strategies to expand their brand reach and attract opportunities?
Networking is incredibly powerful. If you’re building a personal brand, physical visibility comes into play. Ensure you’re out in places where the network can bring you the most. For example, I have a coffee circuit where I visit coffee shops weekly because it generates business. Networking and relationship building are important. Determine where your audience is and show up there for one-on-one interactions. This sparks discussions about what you do, supported by your digital visibility through social media.

Watch this video on physical and digital visibility

What are some effective strategies for women to market and sell their services without feeling overly promotional or salesy?

If you have a business, you need to sell. You created the business with an ideal audience in mind, so have the conversation to determine if the desired outcome aligns with what your product or service offers. It’s just a discussion. Create content to support your business. If you dislike selling, hire someone to be the face of your brand or use influencers to do the selling for you.

What are some common challenges women face when it comes to building and promoting their authentic personal brand, and how can they overcome them?

The biggest challenge women face is their own insecurity and fear of judgment. Self-doubt and consistency are major obstacles. Focus on showing up consistently and authentically.

How can we adapt and evolve our personal brand over time and stay relevant in a rapidly changing landscape?

Do a self-audit every quarter to ensure your goals, target audience, and outcomes remain relevant. Pay attention to your audience’s evolving values and adapt authentically. For example, Amazon expanded by listening to their buyers. Personally, I evolved my brand by wearing African kits during training sessions, making it recognizable to my audience.

How can we track and measure the effectiveness of our personal branding efforts, and what key metrics should we focus on?

Focus on the desired outcome of your personal brand, whether it leads to business or opportunities like speaking gigs. Track the opportunities you receive and engage with your audience for feedback. Building a community through engagement is crucial. I use https://www.shieldapp.ai/ to analyse the performance of my content on LinkedIn.

These are my perspectives on the 10 points. Let me know what stood out to you and if these questions helped you better understand how to create your personal brand. If you have additional questions, drop them in the comments or the blog. I’ll be happy to answer them.

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