Do You Consider Yourself a Brand?
Taken to the most basic level, a brand is a name that stands for something. The most successful brands are those who make a personal connection with its customers and consistently deliver a great product/service. Think Apple, Google, or Disney. When you think of individuals who are considered brands, what names come to mind? Martha Stewart, Donald Trump, any number of celebrities and professional athletes. But would you consider yourself a brand?
A recent article in Forbes, Personal Branding Is A Leadership Requirement, Not a Self-Promotion Campaign, says that you should.
Personal branding is a popular concept at the moment or rather, a ‘commoditized’ term”, as the Forbes article states, but what does it actually mean?
Once upon a time, your personal brand easily could have been summed in your job title. I am… a Software Engineer at Sabre. I am… an attorney at Chowdry and Associates. I am… President of the PTO. Professionally, the brand of the company you worked for preceded your personal brand and could exist separately from your personal life, hobbies, or interests However, in our modern, tech-savvy society where jobs are constantly in flux and our lives are interconnected through social media, people are looking beyond your title and questioning who you are… really.
1. Define it.
Founder of the Personal Branding Blog, Dan Schawbel, once defined personal branding as: the process by which we market ourselves to others.” In other words, personal branding is more akin to your reputation and what you have to offer. How do you want to be known? What is your area of expertise? What are you offering to the world?
The first step in creating your personal brand is to define yourself based on these questions and come up with a single word or phrase that expresses you and your unique abilities. This is probably an extremely difficult task since there are so many things that make you who you are. It helps to start with a great deal of self-reflection. Take the time to think about your personal values, skills, and passion. From there, consider what differentiates you from the rest and how you would like others to perceive you. The key component is determining how you plan to bring value to your clients, customers, or potential employers.
Like it or not, you already have a personal brand. It’s in the way you are perceived by those around you. If you are feeling particularly bold, you could always ask others for their honest opinion of you or seek the advice of trusted mentors on what skill you should be actively developing.
2. Build it.
Once you have defined your personal brand, you have to build it. This means actively seeking the right opportunities to showcase your talents in the best way possible. Social media presents a perfect platform to build a personal brand, but not all networks are equal. It helps to understand how to utilize LinkedIn versus Facebook versus Twitter to your advantage. Beyond social media, leave an impression that will make people will remember you well, be careful not to burn bridges, and manage your time and resources well.
3. Be Consistent.
The way to maintain your personal brand is consistency. If you want to bill yourself as the go-to-guru on happiness, but you consistently lose your cool and treat others poorly, perhaps it’s time to reassess your talents and expertise.
Are you working on creating a personal brand?