“Branding demands commitment; commitment to continual re-invention; striking chords with people to stir their emotions; and commitment to imagination. It is easy to be cynical about such things, much harder to be successful.” – Sir Richard Branson
What Is Personal Branding? It’s a well-known fact that to be successful in business a company needs a strong brand. This is everything from their colour scheme and logo to their ethics and reputation. However, have you ever stopped to consider that to be successful in business you need to have a strong personal brand for yourself?
Developing a personal brand isn’t much different from the way you would build a company brand. Personal branding covers everything from how you dress and present yourself, to your ethics, opinions and reputation. This includes how you treat your employees and customers and, importantly, what they have to say about you.
Why is Personal Branding Important?
Again, similar to the way a company may use it’s branding for recognition and to differentiate themselves from the competition, personal branding has the same use. Ask yourself this…
What about you will stick in your customers’ mind and allow you to stand out from the crowd?
Consider how you want to come across to your existing and target audience. Whether it’s creative with a big personality, passionate yet modest or even just loyal and reliable, it’s important to establish what makes you, you. Once you know for yourself it will be much easier to get across to customers.
Why should your customers choose to stay loyal to you and your company?
Now that you’ve got their attention and have stood out from the crowd, why should your customers stay loyal to you? This could be thanks to strong ethics and dedication to the job, or it could be made clear from the way you treat your employees and any corporate social responsibility you participate in. Perhaps you’re a ‘green’ company or frequently making charitable donations. Whatever you choose to be a part of your personal branding, it’s important to show this to your customers and potential customers to encourage their commitment and loyalty.
How would you like others to describe you?
One way to tie the above two questions together is simply to consider what you’d like your customers and even friends or family to say about you. This could be as an official testimonial or through old-school word of mouth. By establishing a personal brand you can control what’s being said much more easily. Don’t think of it as ‘selling yourself’ but making it easy for others to sell you.
Whether it was consciously or subconsciously, you will have developed an opinion of someone at some stage based on their outfit/attitude/opinion. With this in mind, use your own experiences to inspire your personal branding and learn from others mistakes
How To Showcase Personal Branding
Have you tried Googling yourself lately? Give it a go and see how you feel about what comes up. You might find anything from old profile pictures to current active Social Media platforms, either way, it’s important to remember your customers and competitors have access to the same information.
Start showcasing your personal branding on the most obvious platforms such as LinkedIn and your personal Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – if they’re public. Hey, even if they’re private accounts, it’s better to be safe than sorry, right?
Make sure your profile picture, bio and work history are accurate and contain the information that you want to share most about yourself. Consider any updates you post or even any content from others that you engage with and how this might support, or go against your personal branding.
If you’re attending events, whether it’s as an attendee or with a stand, it’s important to be dressed appropriately and well presented. You never know who you’re going to bump in to, or who may spy you across the room!
It may seem obvious but remember to be charming and engaging to anyone you speak to, no matter where you are or how they treat you, and use every opportunity available to network and showcase your personal brand.
They say dress for the job you want, not the job you have and in a way, this is all based around personal branding. It’s about making your appearance, and ultimately mindset, promote your ambition and drive for others to witness.
As Sir Richard Branson states above, it’s important to also be prepared to ‘re-invent’ yourself. It’s too risky these days to set anything in stone so you must be fluid and flexible to times, and people, changing. That being said, no one wants to be known as ‘flaky’ so don’t re-invent yourself so often that you lack reliability and consistency.