Firstly, what is the concept of personal branding?
Personal branding is defined as the process whereby people and their careers are marked as brands. And while previous self management techniques were about self-improvement, the personal branding concept suggests instead that success comes from self-packaging.
I am not sure I agree entirely with that definition. I think it is less about people and careers being marked as brands than the process of someone creating themselves as a unique, identifiable, desirable package.
My marketing and fashion background and strong personality mean that I am both interested in creating – and easily able to start developing – myself as a personal brand. Like any brand, it is about the way people perceive you. In essence, we all have a personal brand, whether we cultivate it or not. Because people perceive us certain ways – as the loud one, the bossy one, the quiet one who you think could go postal, the organised one, the crazy one.
So rather than let people perceive us, and therefore treat us, in ways we don’t like, how about cultivating, crafting a personal brand?
Discover Your Brand
What do you want to do? What is your mission? What are your values?
You will need to define these before you move forward into crafting your brand.
You will also need to find a niche to operate in. This might be setting yourself up as the expert online in pink gemstones. Your name and your domain name need to be combined to help brand this niche.
Create Your Brand
Once you know your niche, there are elements you need to create that represent you as a brand in this niche.
You will need to look at items including:
- Business card – this should feature your personal brand statement as well as your contact information and corporate logo
- Portfolio – a great way to showcase the work you’ve done in the past, and convince someone of your ability to accomplish the same results for them in the future
- Blog or website – people who blog will have a stronger asset than those who don’t because blogs rank higher in search engines and develop your reputation as an expert
- LinkedIn profile – use it to connect with existing and new contacts, search for jobs and advertise yourself. Definitely a growing corporate tool in Australia
- Facebook profile – this doesn’t mean the drunk photos from the weekend.
- Twitter profile – a great tool to link with people in the same field as you, promote yourself, learn from others and become a valued contributor to your follo
- References – collect references and positive comments from colleagues – these might be as simple as a thank you email or as detailed as a specifically written reference. Make sure they are relevant to your niche.
- Wardrobe – your personal style is tangible and is extremely important for standing out from the crowd. For me, this is easy. I do this naturally – whether it is my shoes, my hair or the whole outfit. I dress so that people can engage with me, ‘how do you walk in those shoes’ and remember me ‘I remember meeting you, you were wearing that spotty skirt’.
Live/Love your brand
It is a time consuming thing, to create your personal brand because you can’t just create and leave it. You have to live and breathe it every day. Engage new people, update your social media tools, dress like you are just about to meet your new future.
And if you don’t love your personal brand, it just isn’t you.
This post was first published on LinkedIn.