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What is Your Personal Brand?
Your personal brand is how you promote yourself. It is the unique combination of skills, experience, and personality that you want the world to see you. It is the telling of your story, and how it reflects your conduct, behavior, spoken and unspoken words, and attitudes.
You use your personal branding to differentiate yourself from other people. Done well, you can tie your personal branding in with your business in ways no corporate branding can possibly succeed.
Professionally, your personal brand is the image that people see of you. It can be a combination of how they look at you in real life, how the media portrays you, and the impression that people gain from the information about you available online.
You can either ignore your personal brand, and let it develop organically, possibly chaotically, beyond your control, or you can help massage your personal brand to depict you as the person you want to be.
Why Would You Want a Personal Brand?
Your personal brand can be vital to you professionally. It is how you present yourself to current and potential clients. It gives you the opportunity to ensure that people see you in the way you want them to, instead of in some arbitrary, possibly detrimental, way.
It gives you the opportunity to highlight your strengths and your passions. It helps people believe they know you better, and people have much higher trust in those they feel they know; even pubic people they have never met personally.
Why is Personal Branding Important?
You need to create a strong personal brand if you want to be considered influential. Your personal brand helps you stand out from everybody else. You can use your personal brand to demonstrate your knowledge and skills about your areas of expertise.
In many ways, your personal brand is what makes you memorable. It is your personal brand that helps you stand out from the thousands of other people like you.
Millennials, in particular, have a distrust of advertising. 84% of millennials trust neither the advertisements nor the brands that create them. Yet, they are prepared to believe people they feel they “know”– even the business people behind the brands they detest so much.
This has meant a major rethink about how businesses market themselves. Indeed this is one of the reasons why influencer marketing has become so successful over recent years.
Considerations for Building Your Personal Brand
Creating a personal brand requires extensive self-reflection and introspection. It helps if you know yourself – which surprisingly few people do. Most people find it extremely difficult to describe themselves, although they often find it easier to explain how they want to be.
If your ultimate aim for personal branding is to improve the performance of your business, you first need to ensure that you know who your target customers are. You want your personal branding to match your targeted clientele.
This isn’t new. Business people have been doing this for many years, long before the internet. Think about the image that Hugh Hefner portrayed for virtually all of his adult life. He probably never heard of personal branding, yet he let himself become the face of the Playboy empire and lived the lifestyle that the readers of his magazine envied. He could not have lived his type of lifestyle, however, if he helmed a more conservative company, targeting more politically correct customers.
Ultimately you want to build a reputation as somebody who cares about the types of people that make up your potential and existing clients. It’s crucial to find, listen and engage with your potential clients. This is where a media monitoring tool like Brand24 comes into play, which can help you monitor, be present and responsive 24/7. A crucial part of your personal branding is to make sure you come across as being human, with the same issues and problems as your target market. The only difference is that you can show that you have found a solution to some of these problems – which you are willing to share with others.
You don’t want to come across as being like a stereotypical used car salesman – even if you are in the automobile sales business. Cynical consumers see businesses as being all about selling. The whole purpose of personal branding is to step back and deemphasize selling.
Techniques to Build Your Personal Brand
Don’t forget the offline world. Your personal brand needs to encompass all the places where your customers could encounter you. Old-style business cards are just as crucial to your branding, as your social pages are. Just remember to keep your theme consistent on these.
Carry business cards with you wherever you go. This is as relevant now as it was forty years ago. Take out a card whenever you see the opportunity to network with somebody new who matches your target audience.
Ideally, you will want your personal branding to encompass all of your public life. So this even covers how you dress whenever you are in a public situation. I couldn’t imagine Donald Trump wandering down the street in old jeans and a tee-shirt, any more than I would expect a rock star to go shopping in a fancy suit. You want your whole public image to match the persona of your personal brand.