The main aim of branding is to help the audience associate the speaker with a unique set of characteristics. Although it is a principle taken straight from the marketing books, it is not to be taken lightly.
As a professional you may want to be associated with very specific values, for instance honesty, integrity, decency, seriousness, etc. You may also want to project particular skills, for instance computer literacy, information literacy, media literacy, etc. Every presentation you prepare, every single slide you compose, every image you choose, every bit of information you include bear witness to who you are.
This image in the audience’s mind works in two ways: it creates a sense of shared purpose among the audience members and it sparks thoughts and feelings about you. You definitely want to be on the winning side when this happens.
Branding needs to be nurtured. It happens over time and increases with your reputation and acceptance. And of course with hard work! The more you work on these principles the greater your branding recognition will be. There are at least four principles to observe:
#1 Define your goal. Who are you professionally, socially and personally? How do you fit into the greater scheme of things? Why are you involved in presenting and what is your core message?
#2 Be consistent. Are you displaying the same professionalism from talk to talk? Are you serving the same values equally? Are you developing credibility and trust with your participants?
#3 Be authentic. Are you true to your beliefs and ideas? Are you reliable and accountable? Are you credible and trustworthy? Are you making your presentation memorable and extraordinary?
#4 Be personal. Are you basing your talk on personal experiences and memories? Are you close to your audience without talking down to them? Are you eliminating confusion and adding value to your content?
Remember! The most important aspect of speaking in public can be your capacity to create, to endure, to transform. Participants will always judge you, yet at the end of the day you will also have to accept who you are. Be prepared!