Published on January 24, 2022, at 8:38 a.m.
by Amanda Williams, Guest Contributor.
I am anything but a wallflower, having grown up on a stage, performing around the world as an entertainer and even strutting down a runway in Paris for an international model contest.
Despite this confidence though (and to keep running with the floral theme), I have been the victim of tall poppy syndrome — which Bert Peeters defines as individuals who become targets for criticism as “a consequence of success, amassed fortune or fame” — at least the reverse kind I inflict on myself.
It was 2019, and I was at a fairly high profile (certainly well attended) digital marketing conference in San Diego, featuring one of the world’s most iconic self promoters, Sir Richard Branson. In that room full of very boisterous, very self-assured Americans — who didn’t need an invitation to announce themselves and their achievements — it felt like I was at the “Ego Olympics,” and every one of them was a gold medalist.
When it was my turn to “raise the roof” about myself, you would have struggled to hear a muffle.
It was then and there that I had effectively cut down my own poppy before it’d even had a chance to sprout. I didn’t want to be the only Australian in the room making a scene, because I would feel silly. But, upon reflection, I would have been the only one standing out!
As the creator of my own personal branding agency (Yellowpanda), I frequently encounter clients who struggle with figuring out how to promote themselves with confidence. Below are some useful tips for creating a personal brand and celebrating achievements.
View others’ success in a positive light
I know, easier said than done, but I urge you to put a pin in the comparison. Believe it or not, not everyone is in direct competition. My advice would be to focus on where you’re going and how you’re going to get there, not to waste time worrying if someone is doing better than you are.
Building a strong network of like-minded individuals is a good way to spread positivity in your community. With the opportunity to empower one another and support each other to achieve great things, you minimize the unnecessary trend of bringing others down.
The validation you might receive from a successful PR campaign is precisely that, and should be celebrated. If someone, or an organization, with any sort of authority thinks you’re worthy of praise, receive it. Also, congratulate your peers if they’re the subject of a media piece.
After all, the very act of pursuing media is to say, “Hey, I’m doing alright here … what do you guys think?”
Embrace integrated marketing and use relevant channels to reach different audiences
My clients can vouch for the fact that I always say, sometimes for something to click, you need to wave it in front of your audience 10 times before they even register that it’s there.
As one of my mentors in this space, Jessica Zweig notes, “Marketing is a mixture of art, science and psychology.”
If you want to be a thought leader, there are many ways you should be communicating with your audience other than via your Instagram account. This communication can be in the form of a blog or podcast, but it shouldn’t be through social content only. Don’t be ashamed or anxious about how others will perceive you — if you’re doing great things others should want to celebrate that.
Be consistent, constant and clear — it compounds!
If you’re not confident in yourself and don’t know why someone should follow you, why would they?
Repeating a message is only going to be successful if it follows the three C’s above.
When discussing why 1,000 people attended Jessica’s online masterclass, she highlighted the importance of knowing the value you bring and nudging the right people about it.
When you build your personal brand, you’re building a legacy. This mark outlives any metric and can take longer than you expect to resonate with the right crowd. Whether consciously or subconsciously, you’ll feel the compound effect of a consistent and clear brand message in turn.
In PR, one media mention often turns into two, which often turns into four, and so on and so on — this is the compounding effect.
Don’t expect instant ROI or a quick win
Adding to the previous point, success doesn’t happen overnight — no matter what it looks like from the outside.
I often say to my clients, it could be six months before you feel any momentum from consistent, hard work on your personal brand.
But as previously mentioned, you need to be confident in your message, and your content needs to be valuable in the eyes of your audience. Your narrative and its surrounding content can’t write itself and that takes time (sometimes a lot longer than you expected).
It is impossible to expect an instant win without creating something worth the success and influence. After all, what’s a thought leader without insights? What’s insight without deep understanding and meticulous planning?
Trust and friendship get you through bad days (you’ll have them)
Believe me, I know trusting others with your business baby can feel overwhelmingly scary. But as you scale your business, you will come to the realization that it’s impossible to do all the work yourself without it.
That’s why it’s so important to 1) have a strong support network of people who are there to celebrate your successes, and 2) find other authentic people to join you in your professional journey.
They say friendship is a two-way street; well, it is in business, too. You need a community of people around you who can support you through the bad days!
It’s not “cool” to be a tall poppy, at least not in Australia where the term has been popularized, but I say, just try and cut me down! I love nothing more than seeing my clients celebrated for their achievements, which they wholeheartedly deserve. To enjoy PR is to be a tall poppy, but I’m here to bloom.