You may already have idea about what branding means but what about Personal Branding?
It’s an aspect within my career that I’ve always known about however never really took seriously until a mentor pointed out its importance and it’s certainly a topic they don’t teach you about in school!
When you think about branding, ideas like advertising, marketing and logos generally come to mind… right? Well, yes but what about you? What makes you want to work with certain colleagues at work or at school? Personality is part of this, however personal branding is also a huge part!
What many people don’t realize is that whether they like it or not, they are their own personal brand! In order to learn more about this aspect within my own full time career in Learning & Development (Human Resources), here’s what I’ve found on creating the best personal brand for yourself… This doesn’t just apply to a corporate world, but in any industry or even daily situations in your personal life – college, university, family – anything really!
- Start thinking of yourself as a brand
No, you don’t have to create your own logo or wear a uniform (as such), however if you had people sum you up in five words – what would you want those words to be? Professional, Forward-thinking, polite, creative, great style – the list goes on and really depends on you and the industry you’re in. Once you reflect on this and decide, you can get strategic with how you create your personal brand.
- Be authentic & understand yourself
Your personal brand should reflect who you are personally and professionally. Understand who you are, what you stand for, what your individual values are, strengths and weaknesses etc. People will connect with you and want to be associated with your personal brand if you are authentic and true to yourself. It can be hard to identify and pave your own pathway, but when you do people will notice. In my own career, I’ve learned the most about myself by observing others and experiencing behaviors which I don’t identify or agree with. If you’re finding it hard to understand yourself, try reflecting on things about people you don’t like and think about why.
- Online Presence
This is another aspect I was in denial with – how could my social media (such as Facebook) be part of my personal brand- it’s no one’s business! Well, right to a certain extent. In today’s day and age, what is the first thing you do if you want to know about someone? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. I’m guilty of this and I’ve made first impressions based on photos or status’s I’ve seen from profiles. If you don’t want something to reflect on you as a person – don’t post it, don’t share it, and don’t like it. It’s hard at first but beneficial in the long run. LinkedIn is a great tool and is basically your online resume, so keep this up to date and invest in a good head shot for your profile. It’s not a forum for photos of you and your bestie at the club – keep this professional and authentic to you and your industry – or the career pathway you want to have in the future. LinkedIn is one of the biggest forums for companies, individuals and recruiters to headhunt potential candidates.
- Dress for success
As much as I hate to admit, we are in a superficial world and appearance to a certain point is needed. I work in a corporate setting, and dress accordingly (I also love wearing black and I find this really easy as it’s like my own personal uniform) – you may work in retail and need to wear the product your selling, or maybe you wear a uniform each day? Whatever it is, I would suggest understanding what you’re comfortable in, your own style and also what is suitable in your industry. It may be as simple as wearing mascara each day or even neat shoes! As superficial as this is, your appearance can go a long way to first and lasting impressions of your personal brand.
- Find ways to produce value
Find ways to add value to audience by creating or curating content which is in line with your brand. Maybe you have a blog and provide tips aligned with your industry or personal values? Maybe you share your favorite articles, blogs or digital media which matter to you and align with your personal brand? Be true to yourself and what you think is producing value.
- Associate with other strong brands
According to Forbes, your personal brand is strengthened or weakened by your connection to other brands, starting with the three C’s: company, college (university) and colleagues. They suggest looking at avenues to promote and enhance your brand via contributing and engaging with these aspects – it may be contributing to a newsletter, being part of a group for people within your industry. Communication and networking is another great way to get your personal brand out there and connect with others!
This has been a tough one for me! But hey- if it’s good for Madonna and Lady Gaga in their careers, maybe they’re onto something! It’s never easy to accept that maybe something isn’t working, however it is worth at least considering and taking others advice about you or maybe improvement points they may bring up in conversation. Take this on (swallow), accept and decide how you can use the advice to improve and reinvent your personal brand. It may be as simple as working on things one step at a time – maybe you want to focus on being more punctual (yes, that’s me) or to network more? This is entirely up to you if, when or how you reinvent your personal brand.
Hopefully these steps help you in finding what your personal brand is and how it can help you each day within your career and personal life!
What has worked for you?