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Why Personal Branding Is Crucial for Professionals in Finance and Investment Banking

Being a professional in this industry can sometimes bring an unwarranted negative image. The perception of finance and investment banking professionals often attracts blame for issues such as the financial crash in 2008.

In order to overcome this stigma, professionals in the finance and investment banking industry should look towards increasing their personal brand and changing people’s mind through positivity.

The easiest way to do that is by engaging your audience and helping them understand you personally through the internet, especially social media. For example, instead of taking to Twitter to complain about current U.S affairs, Mary Beth Storjohann, a financial planner, has a unique approach to growing her business. She has developed an impressive library of content and she’s constantly open to new ways of reaching her clients. She currently has a book, a podcast and a blog. Her clients have labeled her their very own “rent-a-CFO”.

In addition to a positive online presence, you must also create a positive image in the real world. At work, the way you interact with clients and colleagues has a lasting effect on your brand. Theresa Hannon, founder of Theresa Hannon Financial Group Ltd. in Wheaton, Illinois sent thanksgiving letters to her clients, starting a Random Acts of Kindness campaign. She tucked $100 bills in letters to 90 clients asking them to perform a random act of kindness. Her campaign spread, conveying a positive message as well as building her brand.

While many of these things may not seem directly correlated with your line of work, a good reputation can be the difference between closing a career-changing deal, gaining new clients, or even securing a promotion.

Develop Trust Among Others

Recent studies have shown that trust is declining across all industries, especially in finance and investment banking. Therefore, it is important for professionals to be proactive and earn trust through the growth of their personal brand.

In order to succeed in an industry that requires personal interaction, you need to be seen as trustworthy. If you promote your brand as authentic, sincere, timely and organized, trust will follow. Additionally, gaining the trust of others will mitigate any potential risks associated with your profession such as effortless cooperation and developing relationships.

Andy Seth, co-founder of LotusGroup Advisors, said that building trust is a formula. He believes in the “Trust Equation” which states that “trust equals credibility plus reliability plus intimacy, divided by self-interest”.

When promoting your brand, be straightforward. Build the perception that you work towards fixing problems that arise and can be trusted to get the job done. If executed effectively, this newfound trust will potentially attract more business. People are more comfortable around those they can trust.

Create New Opportunities

Building your personal brand doesn’t happen overnight, but as you develop, a world of new opportunities can present themselves. In the finance and investment banking industry, these opportunities could include new business deals, mergers and acquisitions and the potential for growth.

Increasing your brand effectively will attract positive attention. If you are perceived as experienced and knowledgeable, the opportunities will come to you. Rather than you pursuing a new deal or promotion, you may be offered instead.

Additionally, increasing your online brand can bring recognition from other key players. Platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn allow professionals to connect and build relationships. Using your social leverage to link with journalists and media outlets can present the opportunity to reach out and change public understanding of finance and investment banking.

So, if you would like to grow as a professional in the finance and investment banking industry, developing your personal brand is a crucial step in right direction. If you are unsure about how to start the process, begin by hiring a personal brand specialist. With a brand specialist, you can ensure growth and development through various networks as well as improvement on a personal level.

5 THINGS YOU CAN LEARN FROM TALAYA WALLER’S TED TALK ON PERSONAL BRANDING

 

1. Technology has caused a major shift in influence. Today, one employee can have more influence, and also consumer trust than their entire organization.

2. People are tired of being sold. In business marketing, we have moved away from humanizing objects to influencing people with other people who they know, like, and trust. Individuals who want to build an influential personal brand can use the know-like-trust formula.

3. Everyone has a brand, but most people don’t manage it strategically, effectively, or consistently. Individuals who have a well-defined personal brand usually generate increased value for their company, whether they work for themselves or someone else.

4. Your personal brand is the most powerful tool you have to accomplish your goals. A branding strategy is essential to success in fundraising, growing a business, or changing careers.

5. Branding is no longer about companies trying to manage our perception. Today, it’s about people creating and sharing human experiences.

The future of branding is personal.

How Can Personal Branding Be Used Against Stereotype Threat?

The term stereotype threat refers to situations in which individuals are, or feel themselves to be, at risk of confirming negative stereotypes about their social group. It’s a well-documented phenomenon, particularly in academic and corporate environments. Studies show that these situations result in increased heart rate and decreased concentrations. Ironically, the fear of confirming the negative stereotype leads individuals to perform badly, thereby fulfilling the stereotype due to fear of fulfilling the stereotype.

There are subtle organizational mechanisms that create obstacles for women and people of color in the corporate and nonprofit sectors. Personal and institutional bias favors people in the dominant group, giving them the benefit of the doubt, often without realizing it. At the same time, those who are not members of the dominant group have to repeatedly prove themselves. One of the most insidious factors pushing women and people of color out of professional leadership positions is the near constant anxiety caused by stereotype threat. 

Don’t let yourself be defined by other’s perceptions of you; there is a way to take control of your image. You can use your personal brand to help you overcome stereotype threat. Start by identifying the stereotypes that others are likely to impose on you upon first meeting. For Asian Americans, that might be “meek” or “passive.” For women, that might be “pushover” or “flaky.” Now, figure out how you can turn those unflattering, and untrue, assumptions about you into an image that is true and works for you. For example, women are often dismissed professionally because their compassion is seen as a weakness when, in fact, having good people skills, such as compassion, is an invaluable strength. Know your value and lean in

Rewire your thinking from a fixed identity mindset to a growth mindset. People often get stuck thinking that they must simply play the hand they’re dealt. Rather than thinking about your identity and your situation as the result of circumstance and genetics, understand that your potential is infinite. If you want to be successful, you have to believe that you can be. What does this success you look like? Picture her/him and work towards that image.

You must fine tune the resonance between your brand and your reputation. This means identifying the gap, if there is one, and deliberately working to change perceptions about you. If any of the negative assumptions about you are true, tackle them first and actively work to change them. If you are a woman who is submissive at work, work on being more vocal, taking risks, and asserting yourself.

Disprove the stereotypes by showing up and being a whole person and not a label. The best way to disprove stereotypes is to replace people’s ideas of you with the real thing, with your personal brand. Speak your mind, offer unique solutions, and boldly stake out a position that works for you. You are actively redefining yourself. Make sure that you do not repeat the ideas of others. Bring something new to the discussion and, slowly but surely, perceptions of you will adjust accordingly.