As we move away from B2B and B2C ways of doing business, and into the human-to-human (H2H) marketplace, your own personal brand can be just as valuable as the brand of the company you represent.
A personal brand is very much like a regular brand. It can include a name, symbols, colour, emotions, language, and much more – it’s what sets you apart from others. Your brand should communicate your values, your talents and your passions.
Having a strong personal brand allows you to build better connections, shows the consistent value you bring to the table, and positions you as a trusted person of authority in your field of expertise. It also indirectly makes your employer look good for having you on board.
Like a consumer knowing exactly what they are going to get when they walk into their nearest Starbucks, your clients and coworkers should be able to expect a consistent experience when working with you.
So how do you build your personal brand equity? We’ve put together some tips to help you get started.
Assess your current brand status
Although you may internally know what your personal brand is, and think that you are communicating it clearly to people around you, you may be surprised at how differently others perceive you.
If you’re unsure of whether your values, talents and passions are being communicated to clearly, ask a peer for help. Start by writing down the top five things you think others consistently experience from you. And ask a close friend or colleague to do the same. Do they match up? If they are the same or similar, you are on the right track. If not, you have some work to do!
For those still not sure where to begin, author Bryan Kramer developed a Personal Brand Assessment based on research from a New York Times study. The short quiz will provide you with one of six personal brand types, providing you with a base to build from.
Know your audience and goals
A great brand knows what it wants to be and who it wants to speak to and your personal brand is no different. Are you looking to get a promotion at work? Move up in your industry? Build skills and expertise in another area? Start by taking some time to define what you are trying to achieve and who you need to reach and influence to do so.
Also be aware that your audiences and goals will likely change over time and factor that into your personal brand thinking.
Create “branded” content
The easiest thing you can do to begin strengthening your brand is to create content that reflects it. Start a new blog, venture into the world of podcasts, take pictures, draw — anything that can show off your strengths. If you’ve worked on any interesting projects, turn them into case studies to share your successes.
Everything you put into the world, via social media, is helping to build your brand — so think before you post! In this case, the medium is not the message. Rather than simply using an application to have presence, add value to your audience with the content you share.
But with that said, there are a number of social applications that are growing in popularity, and being used for more professional purposes, including Snapchat and Instagram. If the applications fit with your brand, they could be the perfect platforms to explore.
Look over your social media accounts, including both professional and unprofessional networks. What have you been posting about lately? What are you sharing, liking and commenting on? Would you want a stranger to build a persona of you based on these interactions?
When curating content, always think about how you can add value for your readers. Pull out an interesting quote, share your opinion or relate the content to something taking place in your own life.
Join professional networks and groups on LinkedIn and comment, on other’s blog posts or articles to start online conversations to meet others in your professional circles.
Growing your network by meeting new people and connecting with other successful brands face-to-face will in turn strengthen yours. Join professional associations in your field, attend alumni events where you went to school, and sign up for workshops to further your career.
Prepare an elevator pitch so that you’re prepared to discuss your talents and what you can bring to the table for future projects and professional relationships.
Your brand – the neverending story
Unlike the 1980s book and movie, your brand story actually never ends. It is something that has to be regularly worked on, adapted and fine-tuned throughout your life. It’s completely normal for people to grow and change, and your brand should be no different.
Above all, stay true to yourself. Personal branding is not about following the herd — you want to stand out from the rest, and will naturally do so by staying true to yourself and who you want to be.
What are some words that you would use to describe your personal brand? Share them in our comments section below!