You might have heard about personal branding; it is a much-hyped concept that is all over the web at the moment.
How does it affect us regular 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.
What is personal branding?
Personal branding is how you project yourself to the world, and how you create and maintain your image. Your brand is just as much about your profession and career as your background, what type of person you are, your interests, and any interesting facts.
Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room” – Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon
Personal branding is essentially very similar to company branding; for example, the golden arches of McDonald’s or the Apple of, hmm, Apple have become instantly recognizable as part of those companies. This is what you want for yourself; you want to stand out from the crowd and be memorable.
Personal branding is where you and your career are bundled together into one. It’s the way you market and promote the image of yourself. What you do, what you are all about, and above all, what you can do for others. Compare your personal brand to a rock star’s image, something that needs to be maintained.
All interactions you have with other people make up your personal branding. Having a meeting, making a phone call, and 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.
Do I need a personal brand?
You already have one. You need to maintain it and ensure it projects what you want it to be, staying consistent and continuously improving 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, and so forth. You want people to remember who you are and what you do.
Your online brand:
First impressions count, also online. It’s free and straightforward to sign up for online networking sites, and they are great tools for promoting your brand. Any typical professional will have a profile on LinkedIn or Facebook; some will have lots more than this. As long as you use and properly maintain your profile, 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 possibly other platforms.
We know that headhunters and HR people are all over LinkedIn like a cheap suit. Guess what, they also cross-reference you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, 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 can be a complete deal breaker 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 doing research on people and companies. I have a large and growing network that has supported me when building this site and even coming up with ideas for posts. I set up Undercover Recruiter to promote myself as well as the blog. Setting up a blog is optional and perhaps not the first step you want to take, although if you have the time, it is worth looking into. I promote this blog across a few platforms (mainly LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter) and try to have precisely the same brand on all of them.
Call to action:
Make sure you are consistent with everything you communicate to the world. This includes how you speak, your emails, your online presence, your resume, and your dress. Will your prospective customers 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 unique. 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.