Building a personal brand

Gregor was recently asked by leading law firm Harper Macleod LLP to share advice on building a personal brand for clients and employees. Here’s what he had to say…

People buy from people

During this time of flux, people will use this period of business interruption to reassess where and how they spend their money.

Regardless of whether or not you work for a respected company with a stellar reputation, it’s vital that the people within that organisation build their own personal brand.


In the past, we’ve heard people claim “PR” doesn’t work because their name was mentioned in one article and it didn’t lead to an avalanche of calls or social media doesn’t work because it didn’t produce a single enquiry. These things take time and reward patience. The more you show up and consistently deliver sustained storytelling on any platform, the more likely you are to begin to reap the rewards.

Be different

If everyone else is posting their team Zoom calls to demonstrate how they’re navigating the Covid-19 crisis, break through the white noise by doing something different. Posting what everyone else is doing is the easy thing to do, but if you think about what makes you different, what are you doing that nobody else is doing, that’s where you’ll make an impact.

Shout about success

In Scotland, we’re not very good at shouting about ourselves. If you let people know about the impact you’ve made for a client, then it’s likely there are many other people who would want a similar impact made for them. If you don’t tell them, who will? Showcase the success you’ve had and focus it on the type of work you want.

Borrow from the best

Make sure your social channels aren’t echo chambers. Cultivate a genuinely diverse group of connections across every platform and make use of any time spent scrolling by taking note of what resonates with you. How can you then tweak that in order to speak to your growing audience?

Don’t be constrained to one platform

If your competitors are on LinkedIn, you should be on that channel, but the blend between work and life has never been more obvious than on social media. If you promote your personal brand across the social media landscape you will tap into different audiences and showcase different elements of your personality on each platform.

Add value

Your expertise is hugely valuable. For example, I’m not a lawyer, so the most simple pieces of legal advice will be valuable to me. When I then need a lawyer, I’m more likely to want to pay back the person who provided free, digestible advice on their channels. Become the go-to voice in your area by sharing your expertise on social media and by cultivating a network of journalists who will come to you for comment when they need expertise in your area.

Demonstrate your values

When you buy from someone who doesn’t represent your values, it causes friction. Showcase your values through the voluntary work you do, the clients you work with and your tone of voice. Think of your ideal client. That will say a lot about the values you already hold dear. Keep that dream client in mind with every decision you make and remain authentic above all else.

Be authentic

Your line of work may be viewed with a certain stereotype (don’t shoot the messenger, PR certainly is …). Let your authenticity shine through. If you’re warm, be warm, if you’re funny, be funny. Don’t be what you feel you should be. If you’re not funny, don’t try to be. It will cause friction. Be yourself and have faith that your authentic self is what people will want.

Five simple things you can do today:

  1. Just as you would if you were starting a company, determine your personal mission, values and purpose.
  2. Objectively look through your last year of posts on social media and ask yourself honestly, would I buy from this person?
  3. Create a spider diagram and break down all the issues on which you can speak with authority then match them up to topics currently in the news agenda.
  4. Look at someone you view as a competitor and analyse their public platforms. What can you learn from them and where is the opportunity?
  5. Spend half an hour scrolling through all your social channels. Take a note of anything that makes you stop and think and then break it down into themes.

After you do all that, you’ll have the basis of a strategy for designing your own personal brand.

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