Why do you need a personal brand? Is it relevant if you already have a well-paying job, that you are passionate about with a company whose values align with yours? Do you even need a personal brand if you don’t have an intention to start out on your own? What does a personal brand even mean? Gary Vaynerchuk has a simple answer to that question:
“Your personal brand is your reputation. And your reputation in perpetuity is the foundation of your career.”
Hence, regardless of whether you are employed by a reputed company or have a set career path, you need to be aware of your personal brand and develop it as you progress in your career. Your personal brand communicates who you are, what you stand for and how valuable you are not only to your company but also to your professional and personal network and your society. There are an enormous amount of articles on the web on how to develop your personal brand. So, inspired by there articles, I put together a list of 5 basic things you need to be aware of while creating and developing your personal brand.
1. Your personal values influence your personal brand
A job position may not include requirements such as respectful to colleagues, calm personality, keeps a cool head during a crisis, compassionate, kind, etc. However, people always prefer to work with people with positive personal values. People spend the majority of the week at work, hence it is important that the work colleagues are people who are pleasant to work with. So, decide who you want to be known for – the grumpy, pessimistic colleague who gets panic attacks the moment something goes wrong, or the sympathetic, optimistic colleague, who rolls up his sleeves and is ready to go the extra mile. This will be your foundation. Also, this picture you have of yourself is not set in stone, but it evolves as you progress in your career and life. Thus, it is important to work on yourself to be a better version of yourself every single day. This may call for regular me-times, or spending more time mindfully with your loved ones, or going for therapy if there are unresolved issues within yourself. Do whatever you have to do, to be the person you aspire to be and never stop wanting to learn and improve yourself on an intellectual level.
2. Your personal brand creates a feeling in people
To quote Gary Vaynerchuk again: “Brand is about how someone feels in the moment when they interact with you or your business.” Reputed companies such as Apple, Porsche, Louis Vuitton, to name a few, don’t sell a product, but an experience and a feeling associated with this experience – their brand. Hence, you should always focus on the long game when you are promoting your brand. Don’t rush into anything, don’t impose yourself on potential customers and definitely don’t seem impatient or greedy for quick sales. Take your time to get to know your potential customers and business partners first, listen to them, talk about things other than the business that you are passionate about, create a personal bond with them. That way, your brand will leave a similar feeling as well.
3. Be authentic, unique, and absolutely yourself
Your personal brand is exactly that – personal. It is your own. So do not be afraid to be yourself and use your uniqueness as strengths. You don’t want to be the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs! You want to be you! Because being you is easy. It comes to you naturally. You don’t have to keep up with all the charade that you have put out there or worry about keeping track of them. As long as your natural instinct is not to create a totally negative image of yourself, proudly be yourself and make that an integral part of your personal brand.
4. Live your brand
This point closes the loop on the previous one. Don’t just reserve your brand to your professional environment – live it every day in all aspects of your life! In today’s digital era, where social media plays a very important role, it will be very hard to live a double life. So be sure you develop a personal brand that you can live every day. If you live your brand, then it helps you to stay consistent. When you are consistent, people start recognizing your brand without seeing your face or seeing you in action. Now, if we take this one step further and apply it to your business, then if you live your brand and spark a certain feeling in people, they will start recognizing your brand without seeing your logo or your product. What better way to promote your brand than being recognized like that? So, live your brand, on your web page, on your social media, when you are attending networking events, when you are giving keynotes, when you are out with your friends….make your personal brand an essential part of yourself.
“You don’t have to choose between building a personal brand and a company brand. You can build both simultaneously.” – Tyler Basu
5. Let your brand tell a story
Once you start evolving your personal brand into a business brand, associate this with a personal story. People always connect with people and there is no better way to connect with someone than with a personal story. Allen Gannett, author of The Creative Curve explains it best:” The most effective personal branding strategy these days is to build a true narrative.” A personal story will help your target audience to connect with you on an emotional level and help you leave a positive impact. So when developing your brand, think about what led you to start your business, what inspired you and why did you decide to follow this path instead of another one. That is your story – share that with the world.
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