Whether you’re an employee, a sole proprietor, or a business owner, you need to know how to brand yourself. Your personal brand is the key to professional advancement. It is your identity and how you want to be known. With a strong personal brand, you’ll have more career opportunities, stand out when promotions roll around and be more successful at guiding your career.
It’s no longer sufficient to simply do great work and wait for others to give you the recognition you deserve. Many platforms allow you to promote yourself, your company, and your products and services. In other words, you don’t need a PR agent to create a positive brand perception in the digital age. All you need is to develop and execute a plan.
Luckily, the process is both rewarding and fun. Here, we’ve outlined the steps for you so you can get started right away.
It’s obvious when you’re an entrepreneur or when you’re in sales or marketing that you must pay attention to your personal brand. But really, your title or job description doesn’t matter. Personal branding is necessary for everyone who aspires to achieve more.
But guess what? Whether you work on your personal brand or not, you have one. It’s like your appearance; it goes where you go. You cannot be invisible. If you reach into your closet, grab a dirty pair of sweats, rake your hands through your hair, and call it good enough, people at the business meeting will notice. It’s not the impression you want to make.
Of course, that’s an extreme example. But think about it this way. If you neglect the opportunity to engage with others, build your reputation, and develop a unique style, you might as well be that person at the dance with grubby clothes and unkempt hair. If you’re not making a good impression, you could be making a bad one. Or perhaps it’s just a forgettable impression.
Why wouldn’t you put your best foot forward when there are so many ways to build your personal brand?
A personal brand is not about ego. It shouldn’t be distasteful. It’s a way to differentiate yourself from other professionals and help you stand out from the crowd. It’s also a way to get to the front of the line, narrate your own story, and elevate your chances of success.
If you believe in what you do and the value that you add, you’ll want to take every opportunity to build your personal brand.
When you have a strong personal brand, you get the right kind of attention. In addition, a personal brand can help you achieve the following:
Gain traction and lend credibility and significance to your ideas. You can develop your unique point of view and hone the delivery and consistency of your messages.
Highlight your unique value proposition and show others the skill sets you have. This helps differentiate you and establish your market position.
Share stories that make you and your company more relatable. This builds trust among your audience and demonstrates your values.
Position yourself as a thought leader. Your name and your company will become associated with the unique thoughts and innovative ideas that you publish. As you network with other industry influencers, you’ll become one of the key players.
You’ll likely discover many more benefits to building a strong personal brand. But, like all good things, building a personal brand takes time. It’s something that you’ll need to carefully nurture over the course of your career. So it’s essential to get it right.
Remember that creating your personal brand is an iterative process. That doesn’t mean that it’s something you’ll change every six months. But it does mean that you will continually revise your strategies as you grow and evolve. With that in mind, the best way to start is to jump in with both feet.
Before you build your personal brand, you must decide what you want to be known for. Describe for yourself how you want customers, colleagues, and business associates to describe you and what makes you different.
Given how you have defined yourself, decide where you want to be in the next 2, 5, and 10 years. Make your goals bold and compelling. You will not be motivated to achieve mediocrity.
Ask supervisors, colleagues, mentors and family members to describe you in a few words. This is a discovery process to determine your strongest capabilities. If it differs from how you see yourself, you’ll have some important decisions to make. For example, how will you change these perceptions to align more closely with your goals? Or is it that your goals should change to leverage what others see in you?
Now that you’ve done the legwork, take stock of where you are. What are your strengths? Where are the opportunities? Take into consideration all of the information you’ve collected to create your mission statement. Your mission statement should be shorter than the classic two-minute elevator speech.
Here are some examples from business people you may know:
"To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be." — Oprah Winfrey
"To have fun in [my] journey through life and learn from [my] mistakes." — Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group
"To use my gifts of intelligence, charisma, and serial optimism to cultivate the self-worth and net-worth of women around the world." — Amanda Steinberg, founder of DailyWorth
Think about your target audience and who you want to reach. With social media channels like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, there are so many ways that you can publish your content. Make sure that you have a complete profile on each platform, remembering that your mission must come through. Of course, you can also go the traditional route, such as publishing books and journal articles.
This will be a lifelong process. These are the articles, books, videos, podcasts, audio recordings, websites, social media pages, photos, infographics, and even companies and brands that have your name attached. You can create content yourself or you can hire someone to create it for you.
Bonus tip: No matter how unusual you may think your name is, someone with a significant internet presence may already be using it. If this happens to you, and even if it doesn’t, consider making your name more unique. You can easily do this by using a nickname or adding an initial or middle name, real or made up.
You’ll want to put together a plan so that you are consistently publishing. Google your name regularly to make sure that you are promoting the image that you intend. Of course, don’t forget that you still need to network, attend relevant conferences, increase your knowledge, and meet new and interesting people.
Have fun with it. Now is the time to create the best possible version of yourself. Then, put your plan into action and watch the benefits accrue. You can never overestimate the power of a strong brand. It will help you focus on your goals and the steps required to achieve them.
SetSchedule strives to create communities of professionals who are looking to connect with their prospects more efficiently, using technology and when possible for free.
Message has been sent!