You Are Your Brand
Personal branding is the process of developing a "mark" that is created around your name or your career. You use this "mark" to express and communicate your skills, personality and values.
We all can be a brand and cultivate our power to stand out and be unique. This uniqueness draws people to our product, our services, or even just our message. Your personal brand should be about who you are and what you have to offer.
It used to be that creating a personal brand meant you had a bunch of business cards made up - and if you were really creative, you hired a graphic designer to create a logo for you. But, with the development of social media and an increasingly individualized society, the brand you build around yourself is perhaps the single most important way you can stand out in your spheres of influence. If you're just beginning to think about your personal brand, it's crucial that you understand that personal branding is the means by which people remember you.
It's more than a trademark or a stunning logo: it is how you present yourself online and offline to potential clients and customers. Your brand image is what you create to help build your business. Your personal brand centers around you as an individual.
Why Personal Brands Are For Everyone
Personal brands should be important to everyone. Personal brands are not only for the entrepreneur that owns their own business. It is the secret sauce that can make you stand out of a stack of resumes or proposals.
If you don’t develop your own personal brand, others will do it for you. Developing your personal brand is the proactive way of controlling your career development and how you are perceived in the marketplace.
A strong personal brand will impact your ability to get the right jobs, promotions, clients and increase your ability to attract talent and capital.
Tips that can help you in creating your own personal brand:
1. Build Your Platform
If you are going to have a personal brand, you will need a website to create your virtual platform. Your website should be your name. You will also need social media accounts that represent your brand. You will use these platforms to share your voice.
2. Identify Your Uniqueness and Strengths
Think about the characteristics and strengths you've built in your career. If you are stuck, think about that "one thing" that everyone says you rock at. If you're still stuck, ask others.
3. Own Your Space
Once you’ve identified your uniqueness and strengths, perfect them. Learn all that you can and become the expert in that area. You can never stop learning. Read, absorb and teach.
4. Share Your Knowledge
It’s not enough to learn it; you have to teach it and share your knowledge by helping others. Do this through videos, social media and writing, both online and offline. This is where you prove you know your stuff and gain exposure from doing so.
5. Be Yourself
Find your own style. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing and just follow the crowd. Use your style and uniqueness to attract the jobs and clientele that you desire.
Find your own style and create a new set of footprints for others to follow in.
6. Identify Your Values and Set Your Priorities
It’s important to have a clear picture of your personal and professional goals, both short and long-term. This will help you to not only identify the most important things to spend your time on, but will also have something to align new projects with. Use your values and priorities as a compass that guides you both in action and in your decision-making process. This will ensure you stay on track.
7. Craft Your Personal Brand Persona
It will help in creating your brand. Your persona can be created by:
Identifying your emotional appeal. What are your personality features? This can be as easy as saying you have a crazy sense of humor or that you are obsessively organized. Take a few moments: why do you think people are attracted to the brand of you?
Describing yourself. When it comes to your brand, who are you and why do people enjoy working with you?
Identifying your specialty. What do you do and what do people want you to do for them?
Use these exercises to create a strong personal brand persona that you can always refer to when it comes to creating materials that support your brand.
The Bottom Line
Building a personal brand takes time and effort, but it’s worth it. The need for a personal brand will continue to increase. It’s the one thing that no one can take away from you, and it can follow you throughout your career. It’s a leadership requirement that lets people know who you are and what you stand for.
Well-Known Examples of Personal Branding
For example, take the last presidential election. The names Trump and Clinton bring specific images to mind, but these images were only partly connected to the parties the candidates endorsed. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are examples of people who have mastered the art of connecting their names with their business and passions. Both built a solid personal brand.
However, personal branding is not just for politicians. According to a Nielsen Consumer Survey, only 33 percent of buyers trust messages from a brand, while 90 percent trust messages from an individual they know.
That means that if you own a business, you have a much better chance of winning people's trust if you bond with them first as a human being.
Defining Your Personal Brand Means Knowing Your Audience
If you're looking to define your own personal brand, first you need to consider the kind of impression that you want to build and the market you want to target. Where do the two intersect? What does each look like and what does each want? What problems do they have? If you can build a solid personal reputation as someone who cares and truly wants the best for their clients, you'll succeed.
It's Not About Selling
Also, remember that personal branding is not about selling. It's about making yourself available to others—clients and peers. Make sure you have active accounts on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Balance your social media presence with business-related updates and personal updates. That way, others will see you as an established professional, but also get a sneak peek into your personal life and what makes you tick. No one needs to know what you ate for breakfast, but a picture of your vintage Bender guitar posing next to a promotional poster will likely create some buzz.
It also makes you human.
Work the Offline World
Personal branding isn't bound to the internet. When you leave your home and interact with people around town, make sure you maintain a positive and professional appearance in keeping with your brand. Carry business cards with you at all times and keep an eye out for potential clients. People love to support local businesses and other professionals. If you make a good impression, they'll be more eager to look into your services - and hire you or refer you to someone who will.
Sherri Elliott-Yeary, CEO of Generational Guru is an award-winning speaker, professional business consultant, and published author who energetically engages international audiences with her practical strategies for attracting, growing, and retaining top talent and loyal customers from every generation. Sherri brings over twenty years of hands-on experience to support you in designing generational solutions that address:
Cross-Generational Leadership Challenges
Generational Blind Spots in Sales
Effective Recruitment and Retention
Marketing to Millennials
For more information, please contact Sherri via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or text/call her at 469-971-3663.