Year-end draweth nigh. You’ve completed another annum adding stones to the edifice of your professional reputation, and the pile is growing nicely. But now you have a moment to step back from your business, pause, breathe…and strategise. 

As aspiring industry experts, our task is to continually raise the level of perception surrounding our personal brands. Greater perceived value equals greater income. It also tends to increase the total volume of business that comes our way. 

In broad terms, we can effect this raise this in two ways. We can (and should) increase the value that we deliver to each client. At the same time, we can raise the level of narrative by which we speak to the world. Today, let’s talk about the latter option, and ask what you might tinker with in order to increase the level of your branding and public perceptions. 

There are always new and fresh ways to show your value to the world. Of course, it's unlikely that we can stay on top of every technological development, every new twist and turn in marketing or advertising. 

Fortunately, that's what other experts are for.

Here is a simple thing you can do in order to advance your positioning even further than you have thus far achieved: Ask your service providers how they might take you one step further. 

Who helps you to do what you do? 

Do you make use of a photographer? A website designer? A PR strategist or a marketing assistant, or perhaps someone who designs visuals for you? Do you outsource your marketing or advertising? 

This week, approach these professionals and pose a challenge to them. Ask them what's next in the ongoing drive to elevate your brand. Challenge them to find a way to take you to a higher level. Greater reach, or greater shine. Or both. 

Here's my example: I've been very happy with my personal website for the past year. But at present, when you log on to the site, it scrolls through a series of banners. It was high-time to replace those banners with video, and that's what my designer advised. By the end of this week, that's what you will see. 

What are you (unaware that you are) able to upgrade in your marketing mix? How about asking the professionals? Phrase the challenge this way: 'How could you make me look like the best of the best?' See what they come back with. 

Let the experts surrounding you apply their expertise to your brand, and you will remain relentlessly relevant. Keep doing so over time, and you could become the greatest in your game. 


Douglas Kruger is a global speaker and author of five business books with Penguin Random House SA. He has won the national championships for Public Speaking, through Toastmasters International, a record 5 times.

In 2016, in honour of excellence in his craft, Douglas was inducted into the Speakers Hall of Fame, by the Professional Speakers Association of Southern Africa. See him in action, or sign up for his free newsletter, ‘From Amateur to Expert’ at Email