Decades of advertising and mass media have made the concept of “branding” seem as natural as quenching your thirst with a refreshing can of Coca-Cola or placating screaming kids with a meal at McDonald’s. It’s just something companies do to shape the perception of their product. But a quick peruse through social media tells us that branding isn’t just for businesses that want their drinks and Big Macs associated with happiness. People do it, too. It’s called “personal branding.”
In a nutshell, personal branding is the ability to showcase yourself—your talent, skills and aptitudes. In a world where competition can be fierce and opportunities few, having impressive personal branding can often give your career a head start.
The Benefits of Personal Branding
The benefits of proactively developing your personal brand are worth the effort. Well-crafted personal branding elevates you as an authority in your field of choice. Remember that your expertise attracts opportunities. Marie Kondo has established a name as a world-renowned tidying and organizing expert. Her knowledge in this field has opened opportunities for her. As the creator of KonMari Method, she is now a well-published author, speaker and the star of a Netflix series. Being regarded as an expert in your field also helps you win more and earn more. Companies and clients see the value that you can bring into their organization. And this gives you an advantage in negotiating for better rates and compensation.
Developing your personal brand will help you achieve clarity. Focus and clarity help you weed out the irrelevant options. Simon Sinek is known for his unshakeable optimism and advocacy for purposeful leadership. He has achieved his personal branding because of the consistency of his message across all his social media platforms.
Lastly, personal branding has become necessary in the age of social media. Potential employers or clients may look at your social media posts and statuses. Taking conscious steps in developing your personal brand gives you an overall direction on how you like the public to perceive you.
7 Steps to Developing Your Personal Brand
Here are a few tips to remember when developing your personal brand:
1. Know who you are and identify what you are good at.
The very foundation of personal branding is taking stock of your skills. Once you’ve done that, then show the world that you are exceptionally good at it. Keep in mind that there are other people out there who may be doing the same thing.
2. Tell your story authentically.
No one else knows you better than you know yourself. Be true to who you really are and showcase your personality. People are generally quick to notice if you are inauthentic.
3. Grab your audience’s attention and make sure to keep it.
This step involves knowing your audience—what language they speak or what medium they’re used to giving their attention to. Determine what medium will best capture their attention when developing your personal brand and your platform. Remember that various platforms—Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, whatever—have different types of audiences.
4. Articulate your relevance.
This step means letting your market know that you offer a benefit that has potential value to them. Perhaps, as a budding graphic designer, you can showcase your sample work in your social media pages. That’s one part of personal branding.5.
5. Imprint your personal brand by ensuring that you stand out from the rest.
Your passion will propel you forward. Your passion will manifest in your energy. This energy is your personal brand. Oprah Winfrey, the ultimate personal branding guru, once said, “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”
6. Build and deepen relationships by earning trust.
When people trust you, they will keep their connections with you. And the way to earn people’s trust is by living with integrity and by being consistent and reliable.
7. Improve your craft and anticipate future needs.
Developing your personal brand includes constantly sharpening the saw. The world is changing at every turn. New technologies are emerging, and new information is being discovered daily. Make sure that you ”future-proof” yourself by improving your unique skill set.
Developing your personal brand should not be left to chance. You must take an active stance in crafting a brand that truly represents you. You already know who you are—your skills, capabilities and potential. The next step is to show the world what you can contribute.