Firstly, please let me apologise. If you think you’re about to read a blog on personal best sporting achievements, then you’re in the wrong place. This blog is about personal branding which technically (if you get it right) is YOU, at your personal best!
Developing your own personal brand can have a significant impact on your career and on the work you do. It’s therefore so important to spend time on YOU!
So, what is personal branding? How can personal branding benefit you, and by default, your business? How do you create your own unique personal brand?
Let’s explore these questions and get on you on the road to professional success.
What is Personal Branding?
When I meet new people and tell them I’m a communications and personal branding consultant, I sometimes get interesting reactions. The communications part is fine but when it comes to personal branding, the conversation becomes highly entertaining…..
So, you’re a personal shopper? You help people to pick the right shoes for an interview? You tell people to shave or to iron their shirt for work? You pick the ‘corporate’ cufflinks?
With a polite smile, I say no and explain that while appearance is important, there’s a little more to it than that (although I’d love to help some people with their choice of shoes, wouldn’t you?)!
Personal branding is the identity (reputation) you establish for yourself based on a unique combination of talents, passions, values and expertise. It’s how you present (promote and position) yourself to your target audience (e.g. potential clients, customers and partners).
The best part of personal branding is that it’s all about YOU. Personal brands only work when they’re authentic, which means that you don’t need to worry about making anything up – you’ve already got everything you need. We all have a professional reputation whether we choose to nurture it or not.
Back in 1997, Thomas J. Peters, an American writer on business management said:
We are CEO’s of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called YOU.
I completely agree with Thomas, the brand called YOU, is so powerful for any professional. Only you can control it to make great things happen!
How can personal branding benefit you and your business?
As a business owner, you already know that building a brand is a vital step in your business plan. You need a way to set your business apart, and branding is the answer. But building a personal brand for yourself is equally as important (maybe more) than your product or service.
In our hyper-connected world, it’s how you establish yourself in your industry. It’s a way for you to make sure that your audience sees you the way you want to be seen — and, by extension, your business. By figuring out your personal brand and how to share it with your audience, you’ll start building networks and driving sales.
Taking time to define your personal brand will help you build strong name recognition and credibility in your industry. It’ll help you promote yourself and start building positive relationships. And for businesses of any size, that’s always a good thing.
By building your personal brand, you’ll identify ideal target audiences, separate yourself from your competition, and forge real relationships with customers and other partners. You’ll increase your visibility and presence. You’ll have a clear focus for your career, and you’ll be different.
How do you create your own unique personal brand?
Let’s keep things simple (plus I like little lists). Start with these questions and ask yourself:
• What are my skills?
• What am I passionate about?
• What are my values?
• How am I different – what’s my USP?
• Who is my target audience?
• Who is my competition?
Once you have the answers, it’s time to plan:
• What do you want to achieve (….really achieve)?
• How will you get there?
• How will you raise awareness of yourself – what social media channels do you need to utilise? What events do you need to attend for recognition/networking?
• How will you build your community – you won’t achieve everything on your own so who can you partner with?
• How can you powerfully share your brand story and be influential?
So, you have answers to the questions, and you have the start of a plan, you’re now on a journey to career success, but please remember:
• Embrace your imperfections – learn from your lessons and learn new things.
• Perfect your skills but remember practice doesn’t make you perfect. Practice makes you consistent and its consistency that ensures brand success.
• Trust in your values as they are your foundation.
• Be authentic – to yourself and to others.
• Stay motivated – things will go wrong. That’s ok. It really is ok – it’s how you react and adapt that matters.
• Take time to step out of your career/business and do something else you love – your most important business asset is your wellbeing.
• Go and be YOU!
Listen to Thomas, consider my advice and take the time to invest in yourself. You can give yourself that competitive edge, you can be more influential, and you can create an impact. All you need to do is plan for your future, have a purpose (just for you), and dream!
A personal brand without a dream is like an innovation without a purpose……
Please be a dreamer, please tell your own story and please make your personal brand, your personal best achievement yet.
Find out more about our approach to personal branding here.