What is personal branding all about?
Above all, personal branding is an ongoing process. It can be seen as the art of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the minds of others about the product called ‘You’. Numerous factors are involved in this process. In essence, it is about the association people have with your name and how you represent yourself. For example, every tweet you send on Twitter, every status update you make on Facebook, every picture or post that you share and also even every word you say in social company form part of your personal brand. It is a fusion of several daily actions as well your association with organisations and other people.
Personal branding is a leading career strategy topic in today’s business world and is a vital tool that can help you flourish in today’s working environment. Of note, social media provides a high degree of visibility that can help you attract business opportunities by playing to your strengths and communicating your expertise to a selected target audience through online channels. Yet, in every way, your personal brand is about building trust and dependability which results in peace of mind and referrals that ensue as a result of your past successful dealings with others.
The ideal outcome is to become known for that very thing that encourages recruiters, key clients or employers to come to you.
“Getting discovered and differentiating yourself uniquely is where personal branding comes in.” – Andrew Ford, CEO of Social Star and personal branding expert.
Building an effective personal brand is achieved through what makes you different from others and brilliant at what you do. It is about using what you already have to make yourself relevant as well as memorable.
Attributes that comprise who you are, life experience, your thoughts and attitudes and interactions with others can help you build the foundation of the story of your own personal brand. In getting to know the product called ‘You’ what are the characteristics that make up your personal brand?
Your personality can have a profound effect on what careers you are best suited for. Think of the characteristics that make up your personality in terms of how they affect the experience others will have when engaging with you. For example, are you organised, intense, funny or studious? List those words that best describe these aspects of your personality and ask yourself how you make others feel, how they would benefit by being in your company as well as what words others use to describe who you are.
In essence, your values are your operating principles. Apart from impacting how you feel, behave and react, when you are functioning at a level where you are aligned with your most important values you are confident, energised and available to others.
Interests and passions
Your interests and passions motivate you. This is why they should be used in defining your personal brand. Your passions also make you attractive and appealing to others. Hence, when you are clear about what really moves you, you can find ways to link these passions with what it is that you do and how you go about doing it.
Education and Work Experience
Regardless of your level of education and work experience everything that you have done in the past can be useful in a number of different ways. A module from a course that you did not fully complete or even skills gained while working at a part-time job can be transferred into a corporate marketplace.
Identifying the strengths and qualities that will power your presentation and messaging is of critical importance. Everything from your style, tone of voice, body language to how you communicate via email or how you speak over the phone should be assessed. Seek openings to demonstrate your skills in these areas to others and build upon these strengths at every opportunity.
Look and Style
See your clothing, hair/make-up and accessories as your outer ‘packaging’. Regardless of your occupation or personality you should develop your own personal ‘dress code’ that will follow your unique look and tie in with your goals and personal brand.
Once you have developed a clear understanding of who you are, you can advance to the stage of deciding where you want to be. Consider where you see yourself in 3 to five years from now and what it is that you would like to be doing. Conduct a personal SWOT analysis and decide what you need to work towards.
Whose attention do you need to gain in order to open doors for you professionally? When seeking opportunities or career openings, who are those most likely to respond? This is your target audience, those organisations and people you will be customising your messages to. They are likely to be business owners, managers, potential business partners as well as other employers and stakeholders.
Inspirations and Influencers
Think of someone who you admire in your field and aspire to emulate. If a well-known leader’s inspirational mottos or advice inspire you, jot down these qualities or achievements as a way to benchmark yourself with respect to your own achievements.
Being associated with powerful brands or individuals who are well-known and popular in your field of endeavour goes a long way to helping you build your personal brand. Linking with such individuals is an extremely effective way to achieve success. Associations with powerful brands and people can land your book on the best seller list and get your name out in the world more effectively and a lot faster.