We all have a personal brand whether we are aware of it or not. Your personal brand is how the world views you, so it’s important that your personal brand be a strong, capable one that best reflects your true self – especially when it comes to the business world. It is important for you to establish your own brand and cultivate it rather than let it be defined on your behalf.
Your personal brand is made up of your beliefs and your strengths. Think of it as your personal core values. If you do a good job of branding and marketing yourself, people will begin to identify you with a certain area of expertise, subject matter, and the general qualities you want linked to your name. Once you determine the way in which you want your brand to be received, you can start to be more strategic about your personal brand.
Here are some of the areas that are important in building a personal brand and a few tips to help you build yours:
(1) Be True to Yourself & Your Word:
Your brand should reflect who you really are – your authentic self. Skip the falsehoods or who you want people to think you are especially in the digital age. You don’t want there to be a big discrepancy between who you are online and who you are in real life.
At the time of writing, people want to connect and they want to connect with other genuine people. And remember that actions speak louder than words to the people in your circle of influence, so keep your word and follow through with promises you make.
(2) Know How to Introduce Yourself:
Prepare a 30-second speech to introduce yourself to others. Think through the key things you want people to know about you and practice it so it comes easily. When networking, hit the high points of your story with a concise presentation. You want their take away to be the most important highlights about you and how you want them to remember you.
(3) Deliver an Exceptional Product:
Whatever it is you’re offering, whether it be a product or your own services, deliver the best possible version of it. You don’t want your product to be viewed as a one trick pony either. Plan to continually add value to your product and update.
(4) Have an Online Presence:
Set up a personal website that you can direct people to, it doesn’t have to be elaborate, it can be a simple site with your resume, links to your social platforms, and a bio with photo. Having your own site gives you a platform to build your brand from. It will also help rank your name on the search engines.
You can always expand the information on the website with time. Also Google yourself and setup alerts for your name on a regular basis. Know what is being said about you online. It’s not a bad idea to run a background check on yourself too to make sure your record is exactly what you think it is. Be purposeful and thoughtful on anything you share with others.
(5) Use Social Media as Your Platform:
Social media is ideal for giving people a platform to share their personal brand as long as it’s done consciously and consistently. Always reread and proof before you post, use proper grammar, punctuation and spelling, and use discretion when sharing photos.
It’s best to steer clear of controversy or emotional topics in general and certainly if it could discredit you personally. This includes reacting to other people’s posts as well as the ones you share.
Have your brand identity statement in front of you when posting and ask yourself if the post you are about to publish contributes to that identity. If handled well, social media is a great way to sell yourself!
(6) Keep Learning & Putting Yourself Out There:
Continue to be a student of your industry, accept speaking engagements, write thought leadership articles and participate in interviews. Don’t sit back and be idle, keep your edge by staying involved. Creating and building your unique brand is an ongoing process. Consider yourself and your career a work in progress.
(7) Don’t Entertain Gossip:
Always take the high road and speak positively about your peers and colleagues. Above all, be respectful of everyone. No matter the person’s position at an organization, treat everyone with equal deference.
(8) Know How to Handle Adversity:
The road isn’t always going to be smooth. If adversity strikes, take the lead personally. It’s extremely important to know how to handle bad situations. It’s also important to be honest and open with your team and those you work with on any issue of confusion or change of direction that comes up.
Once you’ve established your own personal brand, it’s time to share it with the world. Let the world know who you are, what your talents and core values are, and what you have to offer.
The road to unfulfilled career dreams and disappointment is littered with lists, dreams, and goals never shared with anyone. So it’s time to get your personal brand out there. Good luck!