Award Winning Essay

My award winning essay is featured in the latest Inside Strata Magazine. Read it here.

Is having a personal brand important in strata?

When we think of a ‘brand’ we immediately think of products and businesses, but today almost every individual has a personal brand. Whether you are a Strata Manager, a Principal, a Supplier, or work in strata, you have your own brand. Not many of us consciously work on our personal brands, but they exist nonetheless.

The question no longer is if you have a personal brand, but if you choose to guide and cultivate the brand or to let it be defined on your behalf.

In a world of digital information we need to make a choice to embrace it or not. This could mean the difference between success and mediocrity or even failure. There are so many individuals and businesses who are not even aware they are being talked about online. Have you ever searched for a company’s website or social media page only to realise they have neither? The resulting impression is usually they're either not legitimate or way behind the times. Worse is if you do find something and the website is outdated and irrelevant or their LinkedIn profile is old and uninteresting.

Do you know why you were not successful in your latest bid for a strata management contract? Your presentation went well, the committee seemed happy with your professionalism and you were able to answer questions knowledgably. But after the presentation, the Chairperson ‘Googled’ your business name and found this:

“There are likely worse strata management companies out there, but they are definitely below average for what you're paying for and I would recommend to certainly do your homework and shop around.” And this:

“They are the most unfriendly, hostile, rude, disrespectful Strata Management team I have ever had the misfortune to encounter.”

Little did you know that you lost the contract because of what was being said about you online.

This may not be a true indication of your business but carries a powerful message for the reader. People are time poor and are looking for personal recommendations or even third-party peer reviews to help make decisions. If they had Googled your business and there were pages of references to your business, including a professional website, social media references and current published articles, then the outcome may have been different.

Working on your business and your personal brand online will influence the success of your business and personally. It is time to take control.

Following are tips on how you can build a personal brand online and be recognised positively in the strata industry. Don’t wait for someone else to determine your destiny. Your personal brand needs to be cultivated by you.

To start the process it is important to think of yourself as a brand. What do people associate with you when they see you or your name? What is the general perception of your personal brand? We see this with public figures such as politicians and celebrities. Do you want to be seen as an expert in strata where you are recognised as being trustworthy, ethical and approachable? An expert strata manager, an expert lawyer, an expert building manager. If so, you need to build this profile both offline and online and stay consistent in both environments.

One way to build authority is to have articles published. There are excellent opportunities to be published as an expert in strata including the Look Up Strata blog and SCA WA publications. Offer to answer questions, to initiate discussions or just write an information piece. Once you understand how your brand should be perceived, you can start to be more strategic. What makes you unique and how do you want to be remembered? A Real Estate Business in Darwin would wear pink pith helmets not only to open homes but to networking events and business functions. Everyone remembered them and below the hat they also offered exceptional service. The pith helmet represented exceptional service. The perfect brand recognition.

Next it is important to audit your current online presence. Have you googled your name?

You can’t mold perception of your personal brand without first understanding your current status. Google yourself. What do you find? If you don’t find anything then you have a blank canvas to start building your personal brand. Cultivating a strong personal brand is just as much about being responsive to what is being said as it is about creating new content.

Having a personal website for yourself is one of the best ways to rank for your name on search engines. It doesn’t need to be too complicated. It can be a simple one or two page site with information about you and your expertise, linked to your social platforms. You can always expand on the website over time. Making sure the ‘keywords’ on your web page resonate with who you are and what you do, will ensure the right people are visiting your page. For example, if you are a strata manager, say so. Currently if you Google ‘strata manager Perth’, there are no individual strata managers listed in the search results. What an opportunity.

We have made a great start to establishing you as an authority in strata. You have found yourself online and managed this presence, built a personal branded web page and social media channels and started to write some unique content. Now it is time to be purposeful in what you share. There is so much content available online, you just need to make sure you align yourself with content which has authority. For example the SCA may release a media release on the new legislation in WA for strata which you can repost through your networks. The perception for your followers is you are on top of the latest news and have an understanding of the changes coming through.

Your personal brand is strengthened or weakened by your connection to other brands. Find and leverage strong strata industry brands which can elevate your own personal brand.

Every tweet you send, every status update you make, every picture you share, contributes to your personal brand. Once you understand how you wish your brand to be perceived, you can start to be much more strategic about your personal brand. The most important point is to stay consistent with your messages. Don’t confuse your audiences on who you are and what you represent.

When you meet a potential business partner, prospect or committee Chairperson - after the first meeting they will look you up -- and when they do, you want them to find your personal brand conveyed through a polished online presence.

Don’t miss the opportunity to build your personal brand and win business.

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