Good branding is vital for businesses but is it so when it comes to an individual? Good personal branding can be a valuable asset when done correctly.
It’s especially vital when striving to achieve your goals, such as when considering a career change, looking for a promotion, or building your network.
Marketers develop tactics for marketing their brands, products, and services, but individuals forget to create similar strategies to sell themselves.
The post will give you the top secrets of personal branding and how you can create an outstanding one for yourself.
Definition of personal branding
Personal branding is the process of creating an image of yourself, building your reputation, and marketing yourself to the world. A personal brand is basically the story that people tell about you when you’re not in the room.
Whether you like it or not, everyone has a personal brand, you included. This feels uncomfortable, right? Other people have a lot to say about your work, but the question is, what adjectives do they use on you? Are they positive or negative descriptions? When you search online, what do people say about you?
The answers to these questions will help you to improve your brand. Still, you might choose to leave it to chance which can be detrimental.
The importance of building your personal brand is that you tell your story exactly as you want it said. You’re working to present yourself as a leader or expert in your field. Aside from knowing your products and services, you want to connect with your clients too.
The world is full of outstanding examples of individuals who have successfully built their personal brands. Some of them are Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, Beyoncé Knowles, and more. There are also thousands of successful business persons, bloggers, YouTubers, artists, and more. These individuals have a huge online fan base purely because of their personal brand. They have nurtured a personality that makes them trustworthy, approachable, and memorable. Their business is built around them, and so the two are inseparable.
The following are ways of building your personal brand.
Why are you building a personal brand?
Clearly, everyone needs a personal brand to be successful. However, you should have exact reasons why you want to create a strong brand for yourself. Here are some examples:
Freelancers build their personal branding to tell the world that they exist, to build trust and credibility so that clients who need their services can contact them. A strong personal brand drives clients to them, so they don’t have to spend a lot of money and time looking for them.
Entrepreneurs build their business brand by highlighting their overall purpose, values, Unique Selling Point (USP), and tangible elements such as the website, colors, logo, and business cards. On the other hand, personal branding is important for the business owner, just like business branding is to an organization.
Take, for instance, Richard Branson, who has built his personal brand and has over 11.6 million followers on Twitter, while his companies, such as Virgin Atlantic has 630,200, Virgin Media has 349,300, and Virgin Galactic has 475,300. In other words, Branson has a big fan base than his properties, and so he uses his personal brand to drive potential customers to his businesses. His personal profile reads, “tie-loathing adventurer, philanthropists and troublemaker, who believe in turning ideas into reality.“ Whether these companies fail or not, this entrepreneur’s personal brand will continue.
Successful entrepreneurs and celebrities have a huge following because people want to know their story, why they established their business or doing what they’re doing in the first place, and their talents. So, cultivate a strong personal brand, and this will take your business far because it will allow you to build strong relationships, which will result in greater exposure.
Manage your performance, image, and exposure
Nowadays, great ideas and working hard are not enough. Actually, no one will recognize you for that. However, your performance, image, and exposure can collectively help build your personal brand.
Performance is key if you want to be noticed. Your results should be of unquestionable quality, portray a good image to the public, while exposure entails creating awareness of who you’re and what you do or stand for. Therefore, you should deliver top results, have a fine image, and people should know that you exist.
Create a personal brand framework
As much as you want to tell your story, you should understand a few things about your personal brand identity so that you can tell it as it should be. Write down what you want to be known for as well as your strengths and attributes that make you stand out against your rivals.
- Understand your purpose or what you’re trying to achieve. Is it to solve a problem in society with your products and services or professional success?
- Bring out your core values or what you stand for. You should be able to tell your target audience what values shape your personal and professional life. Some of these values are dependability, discipline, respect, integrity, innovation, and creativity.
- Highlight your functional and emotional benefits to your target customers. This is where you pronounce your unique strengths such as public speaking, coaching and mentoring, marketing, writing, etc. State your hard skills such as engineering, teaching, nursing, and soft skills like open-mindedness, self-motivation, independence, and quick thinking. Next, provide supporting evidence such as degrees, awards, accolades, client testimonials, prominent media mentions, or appearances.
- Reveal your tangible branding elements. A brand has its name, slogan, logo, corporate colors, and fonts which you find on its social media profile, website, signage, and so on. A person should have tangible branding elements as well. For instance, if you build a business out of your name, you should make sure you have business cards, a website, and a logo. Other offline personal branding elements are how you speak, walk, groom, the car you drive, the sports you support, where you live or hang out, and more.
- Compare your personal brand with your competitors or individuals in your chosen field. At this point, you must be honest with yourself and clearly state what makes you unique and why a customer should choose you over others. In company branding, these features are called Unique Selling Point (USP) and are crucial in this crowded business world. For instance, do you have a unique skill that others don’t have? In personal branding, you have to place your USP where everyone can see them.
Evaluate your story as of today
So far, you have learnt how to build your personal brand and the story you want to be told. The next step is to assess how it’s being told today in order to find out how you will improve it. The following are ways of finding out how your story is being relayed.
Google: The search engine platform allows you to search anything and everything. That is the reason why companies use Google and social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more to learn about candidates before hiring them. When you type your name on Google, you will see several search results beginning with Facebook and then the LinkedIn page.
Next, move to the Google images and find out the photos displayed there. Are they what you would want your target audience, investor, or any other professional contact to see. Change the image if it’s not professional. Worse still, does your name or photo show up at all, or is the search engine results crowded with other individuals with a similar name? You have a lot of work if your name doesn’t appear on Google.
Social media: Millions of people visit social media networks every day. You must also have a social media account where you go to engage with your target audience. Facebook is one of the popular social media platforms, so it’s crucial to scrutinize the story you’re telling there. Scroll down and see what your posts are talking about. Is it about some injustices? Does it have drunken photos of you and your buddies in a club or flirtatious group selfies?
When your potential partners, clients, investors, supplies, or employers see your social media updates or photos, what do they think about you? There are many ways of handling a questionable personal page on social media. This includes setting a separate business persona profile, limiting your current Facebook profile to restrict what other people see, or narrowing your posts and photos to yourself by changing privacy settings.
The other common profile is LinkedIn. Because this is a professional page, most of the updates here are work-related. However, it could be having some issues as well. For instance, is your profile up to date? Do you have some recommendations, and if so, what message is coming through them? What type of content do you comment on or like? A LinkedIn profile that has negative updates, inactive or out-of-date, gives a poor impression about you.
In other words, you should evaluate all of your social media accounts and find out what your prospective customer or employer will think of you when they search your name on Google and view your profile online.
Ask others: While it’s important to know what strangers know or think about you, it’s also good to hear how your friends, colleagues, clients, and business associates describe you. This will help you see whether they will be comfortable recommending you to others. Try as much as possible to be authentic and take up a position or role that you can effectively play. Don’t try to be who you’re not when building a personal brand; it works well when a person is authentic.
Physical appearance: Stand in front of a mirror and look at yourself from head to toe. What do you see? Do you have piercings and tattoos on some parts of your body? How invisible are they? Next, look at your clothing and accessories. Are they acceptable to your target audience? Your physical appearance will influence their first encounter with you. Therefore ensure that their takeaway is the best.
Bring out your new story
You have now completed your evaluation and identified some changes to your present brand, and the next step is to publish the new story of your life. At this stage, you want to take into consideration what you say and how you say it.
Begin by creating an appealing look and feel about yourself; utilize the same brand voice across the board. Use both words and actions to convey your personality. Put a professional photo in your LinkedIn profile. It should be taken in a neutral background, under good lighting, and wear a smile. Customize your headline, elaborate on your work experience, get recommendations, add key skills, and write a compelling summary.
You don’t have to appear on allow social media platforms. So choose carefully where you want to be active based on your business type and industry. For instance, your bio on Twitter should capture your story as it has done on Richard Branson’s profile. Ensure your tweets are consistent, and you can do this by sharing industry articles.
Keep your private life off your Facebook page if you want your professional connections to respect you. Complete your ‘About’ section and link it with your website. Use a high-quality cover image and profile picture. While you may want your personality to shine on Facebook, ensure that it’s built with a professional tone and one that your mother will be proud of. Do the same with Instagram and other networks.
Have a personal website because it can help you build your personal brand. However, it doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should look professional and attractive. Publish high-quality content regularly and consistently engage with your audience. You can also showcase your client testimonials here in order to attract more business from new clients.
Always stay in touch with your current contacts, attend conferences, seminars, and other events, look for speaking opportunities and publish your content on your website and other high-profile websites. Also, look for ways to add value or mentor others, and you will realize that other people will be ready to coach or work with you.
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