Why Should Researchers Create a Personal Brand?

Our scientific work can potentially reach a larger number of people if we know how to communicate and promote it.
Personal brand
The internet, technological advances, and globalization make it necessary for professionals, including researchers, to build a personal brand. (Photo: Getty Images)

Although business cards, faxes, and printed resumes were the most efficient way to offer our professional services and connect with colleagues from other countries during the second half of the twentieth century, it has become indispensable for professionals to build a personal brand in the digital era.

Researchers form part of this sector. They can use websites or social networks such as LinkedIn, YouTube, X, or Instagram to disseminate their work, connect with academics from other universities, seek grants or sponsorships, expand their network of collaborators, and even promote their ventures.

But how do we build a successful personal brand and what tools can we as researchers use to create it? That’s what the workshop given by TecScience experts during the Tec Science Summit was all about.

What Is a Personal Brand?

Your personal brand is defined as the image that other people have of you in the professional environment based on the values you project at work, your skills, your personality, and the emotional footprint you leave.

“Building our personal brand requires constancy and time; it’s not about our identity as individuals but about the sum of all the expectations, images, and perceptions we create in the minds of others when they see or hear our name,” explains TecScience art editor Camila Ordorica.

Although it’s a long-term endeavor, building a personal brand will help you stand out from the competition, position yourself in the labor market, make your work visible, develop your personal image, generate greater sales of your products or services, and open up opportunities for funding and developing new projects.

How Should I Start Developing My Personal Brand?

TecScience experts recommend being clear about two things: story and visual identity. The first point asks us to take a deep look inside ourselves to identify our values, our abilities, who we are, and what we can do.

Being clear about our story and aligning it with the values we want to convey will enable us to connect with our audience more effectively; we could define this as the “heart” of our personal brand, which requires two other components: “expression” and “storytelling”.

We should bear in mind that personal branding goes beyond our laboratory. Everything we do communicates something: our clothing, the language we use, and even our tone of voice. This is what “expression” refers to.

Storytelling, on the other hand, involves communicating what we want to share clearly and fluently both in the texts we publish and in our social media posts and in any interviews we give.

So, our story should come from the “heart,” take “expression” and “storytelling” into account, and should be aligned with the second component: a visual identity.

Visual identity refers to the image we choose to post on our social networks (should we wear formal or casual clothes? should we wear a lab coat?), the profile name we go by (just our paternal surname?), and the color scheme we use when posting.

When disseminating our work, it’s also important to document it with photographs: we should be very clear about how to take the pictures and the angle of the shots. We should also be sure about what kind of message to include on social media so that the photos are aligned with our “story”.

What Tools Could Help Me?

Visual identity can be a challenge for those of us who are not designers. However, there are many free tools that will help you develop your personal brand, such as Canva, which lets us edit photographs and create infographics and even presentations, and Adobe Color, which provides inspiration when choosing a color scheme for your social networks.

If you would like to find out more about this topic, we recommend the following books: Tribes by Seth Godin, Tu marca personal by Hubert Rampersad, Y tú, ¿qué marca eres by Neus Aqués, The Hero and the Outlaw by Margaret Mark and Carol S. Pearson, and Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller.

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Ana Cristina Achoy