You might have heard about personal branding, it is a concept that has been all over the web for a few years. How does it affect us normal folks and what can we do to make the most of personal branding? This article will briefly explain what it is, what you should be doing and what you can expect from it.
What's personal branding all about?
Personal branding is business of marketing your brand. Basically how you create your identity, how you reach out and project yourself to the world. Your brand is all about who you are, what you do, how you can help others and inspiring whoever sees brand to contact you.
Personal branding is where you and your career or business are bundled together into one. Compare your personal brand to that of public personas such as celebrities and politicians – they beam out their brands on a daily basis, typically to help them achieve the goals of selling more records or getting more votes.
All interaction you have with other people make up your personal branding. Having a meeting, making a phone call, sending an email are all activities that demonstrate your brand. Offline and online, you only get a few seconds for a first impression so you will want to get it right.
And why do I need a personal brand?
You already have one. What you need is to maintain it and make sure it projects what you want it to by staying consistent and continuously improve it. You will want to take control of your brand because you want to be noticed and stand out from the crowd. It will help you to be seen by current and prospective clients, business partners, employers, investors and so forth. You want people to remember who you are and what you can do for them.
Your online brand identity
First impressions count, also online. It's free and very simple to sign up for online networking sites and they are great tools for promoting your brand. Any typical professional will have a profile with Linkedin or Facebook, some will have lots more than this. As long as you use and maintain your profile in the right manner, you are on to a winner.
Try googling your name and see what happens. Now consider that others (prospective customers for instance) do the same. Are you happy with what they see? If you were a client, you would probably want to see a supplier with a professional profile on Linkedin and other platforms.
We already know that headhunters are all over LinkedIn like a cheap suit. Guess what, they also cross reference you on Facebook, Twitter, Google Profiles and other sites to see that you are not simply putting on a corporate act. Make sure the brand you project is consistent and well positioned, it will help you to get that raise, promotion or even a new and better job. Just like having 20 recommendations on LinkedIn weighs in your favor, one ‘wrong’ photo on Facebook can be a complete dealbreaker and leave you regretting ever signing up for that service.
I have long been prolific on LinkedIn and used it as a tool for expanding my network and to do research on people and companies. I have a large and growing network which has supported me when building this site and even coming up with ideas for posts. I set up this blog to share my ideas and ultimately to promote myself. Setting up a blog is optional and perhaps not the first step you want to take, although if you have the time it is definitely worth looking into. I promote this blog across a few platforms (mainly LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter) and try to have exactly the same brand on all of them.
Now it's your turn
Make sure you are consistent with everything you communicate to the world. This includes how you speak, your emails, online presence, your resume and even how you dress. Will your prospect customer be surprised or even disappointed when they meet you for the first time? You have to make sure you are one and the same across all channels and you will then come across as genuine and trustworthy. Share information about yourself, tell stories and inspire others. Add some personality to your brand, we all know it’s easier to sell on emotions than facts. When you think you are finished, anyone should be able to locate you online and find out what you do and what makes you special. If this isn’t the case, you need to put some more work in.
You need to be aware of your personal brand and you should ensure that you are projecting the right image of yourself. By being consistent and congruent, online and offline, you will build up your image and people will notice and trust you. As long as this is a positive message, you will improve your chances of having a great career/building your business/making friends/whatever your goal is.
What is your experience of personal branding?
For more, check out Personal Branding from the Inside Out, a series of workshops in the UK.
Image Credit to MR.