You are the Brand
Have you ever googled yourself to get an idea of what will pop up through the search engine? Nowadays, as many of us exist online with a reserved seat on diverse social media platforms, we have developed an online reputation that defines who we are; our personal brand. Posting personal narratives, beliefs and inspirational quotes, sharing our celebratory moments or pictures of our lavish meals, trips and gatherings is part of our so-called personal branding. Apart from our e-selves, we also exist in reality and that’s why personal branding matters a lot at work, in our relationships and lives. Hence, we expose our self-brand to different audiences daily, be it current or prospective employers, colleagues, friends or even our bank loan officer. In these contexts, we have to tell a story about ourselves in the most eloquent and vigorous manner, providing living proof of it. What we say should be authentic and accurate while our actions should match our brand, online and offline.
Defining “Personal Branding”
So, what about this new buzzword that we all need to embrace to succeed and thrive in the modern world? As this definition suggests, personal branding is “the effort to communicate and present your value to the world. A true personal brand revolves around what other people say about you. Personal branding revolves around what you say about yourself.” You are your own marketeer and you decide your identity in different social settings. Through personal branding, you express who you are, what you stand for, your unique attributes and why it’s worth choosing you. A key action of this process is to open up yourself to the world by expressing your passions, skills and interests.
As in the business world, the more attractive, yet authentic your brand is, the more people will trust your product or service. To sell something, you need to create a story that appeals to potential customers inviting them to come and see it, try it, buy it and eventually return for more purchases. Therefore, cultivating personal branding is not a brief exercise, but rather, a continuously improving process. Through one’s knowledge and experiences, their personal brand will grow and develop over time; like any material brand that changes and evolves throughout the years to become the most beneficial, unique and unforgettable brand in the market. Memorable personalities make a good impression and receive others’ approval. In the bestselling book “How to win friends and influence people”, Dale Carnegie says: “Three-fourths of the people you will meet are hungering for sympathy. Give it to them and they will love you.”
Why Is Personal Branding Important?
Personal branding is a way to elevate yourself in a constantly evolving and highly competitive world. You represent a brand, consisting of your character, manners, talents and interests. A brand that is thrown out in the market and has to succeed and stand out from the crowd. Additionally, personal branding gives you more and more opportunities at work. With a strong personal brand, you could land your dream job after nailing an interview or you could earn more money, get a promotion and enhance your career. You could be an excellent businessman and entrepreneur, too. Being an employee with a strong personal brand at work will give you a competitive advantage in how you treat people, especially clients, and how you network with colleagues and other professionals.
As mentioned in a relevant Forbes article: “Companies should encourage employees to build strong personal brands because it’s good business. When employees are allowed to represent their company at conferences or events, they are not only developing themselves but also providing the organisation more exposure. Employees can help acquire new customers and retain existing ones when they are viewed as trustworthy thought leaders.” Another benefit of personal branding is that you could build your own business empire or even work freelance. Setting off with a true and respectful identity, people will trust you and buy what you offer. Therefore, whether being a boss or a worker, one should know how to communicate who they are and their values to the outside world.
Mastering Personal Branding
The How-To rules for building an inviting and unique personal brand.
Do Research on Yourself First
Before sharing your personal brand or, in other words, introducing and presenting yourself to the world, do an introspection. Ask yourself: What are you passionate about and what makes you unique? Also, ask others to describe you in three words and see how they perceive you. It is essential to assess and develop your current brand by checking on your reputation and self-awareness.
Tell an Interesting Story
People love listening to interesting stories, getting inspired and being flooded with emotions. In the marketing world, ambience equates with the surroundings and the atmosphere that lead to customer satisfaction. Take the time to build an ambience – or reputation – around your name that is positive and relevant to the people around you.
Focus on your goals and what makes you unique. Decide who your target group is, what you want to say and what you want to achieve. Focus on this key message. Being specific on how you define your personal brand, makes it easier for others to remember and trust you.
Whatever you say and do, make sure that it’s original. Engaging with people and giving them an insight into your reality creates a meaningful bonding experience with them. The more genuine you are, both online and offline, the easier for you to manage your personal brand. Stay true to yourself, serve your values and people will see your worth.
Consistency is key in creating content, especially for content that revolves around your name. Your brand and your voice should match your actions. With today’s social media frenzy, consistency allows people to see your uniqueness and associate you with your brand. Sending mixed signals about who you are is a red flag that will eventually alienate you from your desired audience. Hold onto your communication, appearance, voice and poise.
As we all know, the easiest and fastest way for people to find you and get to know you is through social media. They have become kind of an extension of ourselves and consequently, they are part of our personal brand. For this reason, make your online presence noticeable but with caution. Remember that whoever checks you online, might be a future employer, colleague or partner. Hence, charm them and make them want to meet you in person. Apart from sharing content, social media is also a good way to start networking because a strong personal brand is nothing without someone to engage with.
So, Brand Yourself and Be Iconic
To sum up, personal branding is all about what you are doing to be iconic as a person. Iconic means being memorable, characteristic of something particular and recognised for distinctive excellence. Being you in a way that inspires and influences people. Hence, whatever you do, do it well. As Oprah Winfrey once said: “Let excellence be your brand. When you are excellent, you become unforgettable. Doing the right thing, even when nobody knows you’re doing the right thing will always bring the right thing to you.”
If you are ready to take control of your public image or skyrocket your business, check the “Personal Branding” course offered through Unicaf’s Professional Development Courses. Learn how to define, develop and control your image, build rapport through personal branding, use social media effectively and manage a brand during a crisis.