The Linguist

The Linguist 56,4 – August/September 2017

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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GET THAT LOOK Planning a colour palette and overall style 24 The Linguist Vol/56 No/4 2017 FEATURES Alba Sort looks at personal branding in a digital age T he rise of digital has brought substantial changes to the way language professionals market and sell their services. Improved internet connections worldwide, and the boom of freelance sites, have increased competition. At the same time, online searches have become pervasive. The chances are that your potential clients and partners will type your name into a search engine to find out more about you before they get in touch. Both changes are fuelling the importance of personal branding. It used to be the case that you had a professional reputation; your clients knew how you worked and would tell others about it. But to stand out in today's environment, you need to 'supercharge' your reputation. A personal brand does just that: it helps you differentiate yourself from your competitors and enhances the perception that others have of you. The difference is subtle but significant: a brand communicates the value you offer in a punchy way, adding sharpness to your unique set of skills, values and experience, and making you more memorable. The good news is that today it's easier than ever to build a personal brand. But before you start, you need to do some thinking. Consider what your brand stands for: what do you do and how do you do it? What combination of talents, knowledge and expertise do you bring to the table? Think about your ideal client. Who are they and what problem do you solve for them? How do you add value to their lives or businesses? And don't forget your competitors. What makes you different from them? What do you better than anyone else? The answer to these questions will give you your brand statement, which is useful for many reasons. A brand statement can help guide your business, so you never lose sight of your vision. It gives you clarity when you present yourself to the world. You can add it to your CV and social media profiles to ensure you stay consistent across all channels and mediums. You can also use it as your 'elevator pitch', and when networking, to ensure that you never falter when someone asks you what you do. CRAFTING A STORY Your brand doesn't exist in isolation; it should reflect both your values and your personality. Your values are your internal compass and determine your attitudes, choices and actions. What is important to you? What gives you a sense of direction? Is it loyalty, compassion, respect, innovation, reliability, intuition, leadership, independence, stability, freedom? Your brand personality is closely linked to the way you communicate. Think how your clients, peers and professional contacts would describe you. Are you bubbly? Razor-sharp? Creative? Motivated? Thorough? Direct? Next, you need to craft your brand story. Explaining who you are, what you do and why, with honesty, transparency and coherence, can help you appeal to others. How did you get started? Why do you specialise in certain areas? Was there a turning point? Who have you worked with and what did you do for them? What have you learnt along the way? Human beings are hardwired to love storytelling, so a solid narrative will make you more memorable, and act as a reminder of how uniquely positioned you are to help your clients. You can use your brand story on your website, and whenever you have the chance to engage at a deeper level. Remember, people buy from people – people they know, like and trust – and a strong story can help you connect with your target audience. WORKING WITH STYLE Once you've set the groundwork for your brand, consider your brand style. A good start is to be consistent in the use of fonts and colour palettes, but other things matter as well. What's your tone of voice when communicating with your audience? Are you serious, cheeky, self-deprecating? Don't force yourself to sound 'corporate' if you're a hippie at heart. Your voice should be WHAT'S YOUR BRAND?

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