Updated: Dec 11, 2021
Of all the people of all the industries of the world, hospitality professionals understand the importance of a good first impression.
They're also aware of the effort and importance of standing out from the competition.
As more graduates’ graduate and less retirees retire, the talent pool gets larger, and the competition gets harder. Most jobs are online, as is the hiring process and how we show-up and stand-out today has changed. Personal branding is quickly becoming almost essential for career success and progression.
Firstly, what is personal branding and what is the point?
It’s a planned effort to create and influence the public’s perception of ourselves. Positioning us as an authority, expert or simply an accomplished professional in our industry. It involves finding our professional USP’s (things you want to be known for) and then building a reputation on this. The goal being to elevate credibility, differentiate from the competition and to achieve career or business advancement through a range of tools and tactics.
The fact is, despite its connotations of being a tactic used by influencers and the corporate elite - many of us are engaging in personal branding daily. Each post about our professional success or our positive news shared on LinkedIn (or other channel), every comment and opinion, when we tidy up our profiles, share glimpses into our personal and professional lives – it’s all part of personal brand building.
What was once reserved for those in the public eye (meaning the Conrad Hilton’s of the world who had the resources of a PR / ad agency to put them in front of the limited mass media channels and audiences) is now available to all of us, since we all have access to our own channels to audience.
In hospitality it can be relatively straight forward define our USP and what we want to be known for. We have our departments of specialism and decent statistics to back up our success such as occupancy, ADR and budget figures. We’re much better placed for this than other industries so we should take advantage of it.
If we look at the way recruitment has evolved in the past 10 years, it makes sense that personal branding has gained huge momentum in our corporate life. Previously we applied via mail / email / drop our CV in. Then we’d have a face-to-face interview, a few more meetings and extensive referencing. Less people applied for the jobs simply because it was advertised less widely (in lieu of online) and limited usually to geographical locations.
Today, one job can be uploaded on to countless hospitality job pages globally in one click, meaning thousands of applicants and talent competition not just locally but internationally. We apply online in most cases, send a digital copy of our CV and often a link to our LinkedIn Page.
Head-hunters find us online and a similar process applies in reverse. Most interviews in the past two years have been done online and recruitment decisions have been based solely on an online profile and video conferencing.
The key is that at each stage, we have countless opportunities to showcase our professional skills, expertise, experience, and highlights on our profiles and through the other channels available – all through having a clear and engaged online presence and personal brand.
Here are some pro tips to consider for your own personal branding:
Is your positioning clear? Do people know what you’re a specialist in within your last five posts on LinkedIn / within the first nine posts on Instagram / in the titles of your most recent blog posts?
Aesthetically, is your profile, the bio information, layout and use of images a memorable ‘personal brand’ experience? For example, if somebody reads your CV or website and then heads to LinkedIn, is the consistency ensuring that you’re remembers against the other more memorable personal brands?
Does the content that you post provide value, insight, and expertise, or is it just a brag fest and a blatant sales pitch? People know when they’re being marketed too, and they know what a subtle boast is. Boasting is good, but to achieve credible status in your field, it must be balanced.
Are you showing up frequently, or just posting something once every few months? You don’t need to be online daily to achieve a quality personal brand, but some thought as to what you’re sharing, when and how often goes a long way.
Is the content varied? We use something called content pillars in corporate marketing, this divides your topics into a couple of ‘pillars’ related to your professional profile and goals, and you alternate the content shared based on this.
Are you using a variety of content types? Links to online articles or blogs, photographs, videos, article features, documents, info graphs and so on. Think of the current societal attention span – micro-seconds to catch their attention. Make the content eye-catching and bite sized.
Are you sharing your successes? Turning successful projects into case studies and info graphs? Asking people for recommendations and so on?
Are you nurturing your network? Staying in touch, sharing content that interests them and so on?
How far do you want to take your personal brand? Could you have a personal logo, colour scheme and signature font? Could you have a professional photoshoot or even create your own little website?
Systems like Canva make it easy for anybody to turn their words and notes into a professionally designed piece of content, or to create their own logo and a watermarked picture. Those with the budget even have this done for them professionally with a strategic content calendar planned and rolled out.
They key in all of it is to consider who is your ‘target market’, whether that be employers, industry leaders, media and so on. Then create a brand, strategy, and manageable content calendar around that.
Marketing Advisor - London Rock Partners
Marketing Consultant | University Lecturer | Hospitality Specialist - Katie King & Co.
About London Rock Partners
Born in a post-pandemic hospitality landscape, London Rock Partners is a new approach to hotel management. They go beyond the tried and tested to deliver a standard of innovation to which the industry aspires.
Guided by their innate understanding of hospitality, they draw inspiration from the prospect of ‘what if?’ and 'what next?' to ensure consistent over delivery to clients.
London Rock Partners provides a full range of service hospitality solutions including:
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