When people ask, “What is personal branding?” all kinds of definitions can come to mind. Personal branding is not just about selling, image building or promoting yourself. That is more in the line with personal marketing. A personal brand is a combination of attributes- personal and professional- that is communicated through behavior, deed or action which influences thought-processes in the minds of others. Basically, it is how one is perceived in the world. Your personal brand is about knowing who you are, what you want, doing what you love and developing yourself on a regular basis. In today’s world, having a strong personal brand is an important asset to have and if not managed correctly, it could have long lasting repercussions on your career and in life.
So how do you create and maintain a strong personal brand? Ask yourself the following questions:
1. What aspects of your work and life do you enjoy the most?
2. What is your area of expertise and/or unique skills?
3. What are your personal attributes?
4. What aspects of your background, education or experience differentiate you from your peers?
5. How do you want to be perceived?
6. What do you value?
7. How do peers, colleagues and managers perceive you and your strengths (and weaknesses)?
Once you take time to think about and answer the above questions, you will begin to formulate your brand vision. Now this process takes time and shouldn’t be rushed. Self reflection is deep and can be scary, so approach this process in a gentle and loving way. When you do this work, it will put you one step closer to creating a brand called “You.”
The next step in creating your personal brand is the creation of a brand statement. A brand statement is a strong core statement that helps you to stand out amongst others and tells who you really are. An example would be: “As an experienced Global Brand Marketing Executive with over 10 years of experience, I have engaged in cutting-edge marketing technologies that helped global retail and entertainment companies achieve aggressive revenue growth through strategic marketing and branding campaigns. Some of the top companies I have worked with include GDC Stores, Big Studio Entertainment, New Co Apparel, and Action Mobile Entertainment, an online mobile content provider.”
You can also use parts of this brand statement to create your brand story or elevator pitch when discussing your qualifications and experience.
How do you maintain your personal brand? Well, there are lots of ways; but here are a few:
1. Be proficient enough in your field to be seen as an expert within your industry.
2. Be a resource. Answer questions, look to help others, offer your wisdom freely.
3. Be available. Get on panels and offer to give speeches at industry events.
4. Be online. Make sure you have a website and/or blog. Also social networking is a MUST: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.
5. Be approachable. Enough said.
6. Be visible. Go to trade shows, conventions and networking mixers. Talk to as many industry leaders as you can, but more importantly, listen.
7. Be you. Always stay true to your personal brand. Your personal brand will be tied to the ideas you are expressing. If you are mean and nasty, you will lose credibility and your personal brand will suffer as a result.
By creating, maintaining and staying true your personal brand you will always be perceived as strong, authentic, and confident. You will also create a life that is fulfilling and attracts the type of people and opportunities that are just for you.