It may sound odd creating a ‘personal brand’ but in reality, we all already have a brand, just some of us are deliberate about cultivating it. And deliberate is what you should be because creating your personal brand can only help you succeed.
What is a personal brand?
Essentially, it’s how the world sees you. The all-important perception. ‘Don’t give a rats’ attitude may really be ‘you’ but it won’t help you succeed in a corporate job if that’s your field. An artist, for example, may get away with this type of attitude but even then it would deliberately permeate their artwork either through subject matter, or how they dress which, if positioned correctly, would become their personal brand and set them apart – be the thing they are known for.
How do you build a personal brand?
You start by asking yourself key questions:
– What are your values?
– What is your purpose – what value do you add, what drives you?
– How would you like others to perceive you?
– What is your passion – this is closely linked to your purpose?
– How would you describe yourself? What do you stand for?
– Can you identify your uniqueness, and do you express it?
– Can you define your role in society, in the workplace, as a parent, sibling or friend?
– What are your goals?
– How do you give back in the world e.g. charity, donations, volunteering?
Answer these questions as honestly as possible to craft an authentic personal brand story.
How do you use a personal brand?
Your personal brand should be a part of all facets of your life. Your brand is the way you talk, dress, converse, interact with employees, bosses, clients and customers every day. And most especially, it’s on your social media profiles and interactions – posts, likes, comments, follows etc. In today’s world your brand is on show 24/7. It’s easy to segment your life – Mr Nice Guy at work but on social media you’re posting ‘I hate Monday’s’ or ‘When is it the weekend!’. This erodes your personal brand showing that you’re disgruntled at work…. It’s even gotten people fired. So be careful about what you post and how you interact.
In the process of defining and building your personal brand, a good exercise is deleting any posts or comments on your accounts that do not align to the image you want to project to the world. Remember that your brand must be authentic to be effective and add value.
Also do your own SWOT analysis looking at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to your brand – those negative social media posts for example.
Living your personal brand:
Now that you have your brand story, and know how you want to position yourself in the world and be perceived by others, and you’ve cleaned up your social media accounts, ensure your brand (remember: your values, who you are, what you stand for, goals etc.) are shared consistently on your CV and social media descriptions especially LinkedIn. Then look at how you dress, your language (perhaps you have developed some bad habits like swearing or repetitive use of phrases) and be deliberate about changing those aspects of yourself if they don’t already align to your personal brand. It’s a conscious decision to create and foster your own authentic brand that adds value.