How to be an authentic safety influencer

How rapper Eminem's lyrics inspire dynamic personal brand building

How to be an authentic safety influencer

When Aimee Arsenault thinks about personal branding, legendary rapper Eminem comes to mind. “If you had one shot, one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted, would you capture it?” muses Arsenault, “and that's what personal branding is all about.”

When Arsenault isn’t quoting rap lyrics, she’s running her safety consulting firm, Transmit Safety, which helps businesses streamline health and safety management systems through strategic planning, program development, auditing, and operational resources.

Starting a business from the ground up requires a certain level of marketing skills, and that’s how Arsenault developed an expertise in personal branding in the health and safety space.

 As someone who has spent close to two decades in safety, Arsenault knows branding doesn’t always come naturally to health and safety professionals, but she believes it’s an important part of building a successful career over the long-term.

You are your brand

“Workers are no longer staying in the same company for ever and ever. Workers are now moving from project to project from company to company. And so having a personal brand that is not associated with the company that you are currently working for, I think is a powerful tool.”

Part of learning to use that tool is communicating values and recognizing the difference between your company’s values and your own as an individual.  “If you have an internal value of safety, how are you demonstrating that value outside of your work scope?” asks Arsenault.

One of the most obvious ways a personal brand is communicated to the world is through social media, whether intentional or unintentional. Arsenault points out that potential employers, recruiters, hiring managers, and even clients will evaluate your online presence to gain insights about who you are, your values, and how you may or may not fit into the company culture.

“It’s a introductory kind of conversation to say, are you even going to fit right off the hop based on what you're talking about,” explains Arsenault, who says defining one’s own personal brand begins with asking tough introspective questions.

Building your brand

“One of the things about personal branding is to be authentic to yourself, and to really put yourself out and embrace who you are as an individual,” says Arsenault, and that means thinking about lofty existential questions like, “Who are you? What are your thoughts? What are your ideas? What are your insights on particular topics?” Arsenault says once you have the answers, then you can strategize about how you want to convey your brand identity.

This goes beyond simply having a presence on LinkedIn or Instagram. Developing a successful brand identity is about building connections with people. “Having a solid personal brand is really focusing on how you influence others in a meaningful and impactful way…in an authentic way” says Arsenault.

Living that life

Safety culture often focuses on finding ways to influence the behaviours of others. But people are not always going to be receptive to your ideas, “and that’s okay”, says Arsenault. She suggests not worrying about the people who don’t connect with your messaging, and instead focus your attention on those who do, “those are the valuable relationships that you want to develop and foster.”

Once you’ve created your individual safety brand, and have a plan for communicating it, then you must remain true to your values, in both your professional and your personal life. Using your brand to capture the moment isn’t easy, “there are times where you only have at most, seven seconds to make an impact.”

Arsenault will be trying to make her own impact when she talks about the topic of personal branding at the Women in Safety Summit in early March.  You can bet that when she has her moment, she won’t let it slip.

Aimee Arsenault won being The Top Female Safety Leaders in Canada. Learn more about the winners here.