It is your unique combination of skills and experiences that make you who you are, and what others will recognize you for, so effective personal branding should differentiate you from other professionals in your field.
Effective personal branding is of pivotal importance, especially if it is essential to advancing your career. Therefore, one should be aware of what it is that you are communicating that may be preventing you from breeding a successful career.
Two critical factors result in effective personal branding: authenticity and credibility.
Authenticity and credibility arise when consistency occurs between what you say and what you do. Like any brand, your own will also come with expectations and should clearly communicate your values, skills and personality. Personal branding is about leaving a mental and preferably indelible impression in the mind of others, which positions you and makes you stand out from the crowd. Continue to adjust your brand strategy to match the changes in your life and objectives. You’ll need to communicate yourself to others in a simple and easy-to-understand manner –making yourself heard in the midst of all of the information and messages they receive every day.
Think of a few people who you feel possess a strong personal brand and ask yourself the following questions:
- Why did you choose these people?
- What do you find strong about their brands?
- What are you learning from them?
You should take into consideration people you want to be connected to—selecting your target group, your channels and the frequency of your self-marketing is very important in the direction you would like to go. Also, keep in mind that many years of branding work can be easily destroyed with one adverse action. It is crucial to continuously nurture your brand regularly in order to stay connected with those who can positively impact your brand. Some people choose to hire a brand or PR (Public Relations) managers who can assist in the upkeep of their personal brand and also provide them with exposure.
Impressions, Imprints and Expression
If you want to convey your message to your audience, you need to operate within these three dimensions.
- Impression – what people experience when they first meet you.
- Imprint – what you leave behind after the conclusion of a conversation.
- Expression – what everybody says about you and how individuals perceive you as a person.
If you are having a hard time mapping out a personal brand strategy, then try to establish an overview of what you do well and identify areas that require improvements. Additionally, write down what people say about you. Take some time to discuss your image with people you trust or who you feel will provide honest feedback. Asking someone you have a close personal relationship can be misleading and bias, so attempt to find people who are not afraid, to be honest with you, however, they must know you reasonably well.
Once you’ve found your chosen “brand advisors,” you can start by asking them what kind of impression you believe you’ve made when you first meet them. Try to be as objective as possible and do not take the feedback personally. A first impression is formed in the first 15 seconds, so knowing what kind of impression you make on others is essential to brand and or rebranding yourself.
Find your audience
Why should people listen to you? What makes you and your message worth listening to? Where is your audience? Who are they? And where can they be found?
Being creative and paying attention to the location of your target group is crucial. Try to communicate in places where your audience is present. Once you find where your audience is located, create a plan of action for the topics (subjects) and messages you want to communicate with them.
You should be able to share with your audience three explicit messages about who you are, what you stand for, and how you can help them, but you can only communicate these messages once you’ve gained their attention and trust.
The internet is an obvious choice to find your audience and communicate your message. Social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter makes interacting with your surroundings considerably easier. A few years ago getting in contact with many people within a short period was difficult or, at the very least, very expensive. The internet offers you the opportunity to create a free or very cheap branding platform. All you have to decide on what you would like to say, how and when.
Your personal network will also be helpful in gauging your new audience. People like to see that other (credible) people are recommending you. Therefore, you should ask for a testimonial when you have finished a project for a client. Make it a habit. These testimonials can be from your teachers, fellow students, colleagues, bosses and clients who know your personality and work ethics well.
Feature Image Credit: Getty
I am a motivational speaker, philanthropist and author, with approximately 200-plus global talks per year. I advise major companies on topics such as sales and service and customer loyalty, strategic relationship-building and change management, employee motivation and the MORE