With the ubiquity of social media, it’s more important than ever to have your own personal brand. Like a product brand, your personal brand tells us who you are and what value you provide. Remember, you’re not just your job title. Your personal brand is your reputation (an intangible asset) and it’s essential you take control of it, whether you’re growing your own business or searching for your next place to call “home.” These are 5 points you need to hit to set yourself apart.
Repetition. Repetition. Repetition. Your actions should be consistent with the personal and authentic image you’re looking to create. You’ll become known for something that you always do (or don’t do) and you shouldn’t stray too far from it. Being consistent with your words and actions shows that you’re reliable, and over time, builds credibility. It also makes you memorable. Inconsistency creates a disconnect that’s not conducive to branding. Note: much like you, your brand isn’t static. You and your brand will evolve over time.
Having unique traits is essential because you need to distinguish yourself from everybody else. However, use caution so as not to force individuality by trying to be something that you’re not. Instead, look for your natural qualities that are unique to you. Don’t create it; discover it. What is your passion? What is your expertise? What makes you different? Look for the qualities you don’t see in others.
Show us your personality! Wouldn’t you agree, the personality of a business brand is more important to us (at least momentarily) than its actual products or services? The same goes for your personal brand. Show us your personality as much as possible, especially when interacting with people online. Most grounded people want to be seen as a friendly, generous, helpful expert. Comment on articles and posts your read. Respond to comments and emails you receive. Spend your time connecting with others and learning from them. Cultivate your personal brand.
When you’re introduced to someone, do you remember his or her name? If yes, why? Because they made memorable impression on you. Making a killer first impression is the most important characteristic needed for personal branding. Even if you’re the world’s greatest thought leader, if no one remembers your name 10 seconds later, your branding has failed. Emphasize just a few of your key attributes or skills. Don’t try to cram everything in. These few things where you really excel will become linked to you in the minds of others. Remember, we want to be experts in our field, not mediocre across the board. Be brazenly different and defy the norm.
Throw subtleties out the window. Make sure that everything you produce shouts out loud what it is you do, what value you provide, and how you’re distinct. We shouldn’t have to wonder what you do and how you do it. Tell the world and us what we need to know about you in as few appropriate words as possible.
Personal branding is a relatively new concept and there isn’t one sure-fire way to guarantee overnight success. The best way to build your brand is to watch and learn and learn by doing. Identify your influencers – how do they brand themselves? Are they consistent, clear, unique, personal, and memorable in their messaging? Study what they do and teach yourself to adapt similar habits.
Have additional characteristics to add? We’d love to hear them.