We all know how important branding is when it comes to business, but have you ever thought about building a personal brand that tells the story of who you are?
Creating a personal brand may seem like a grandiose or self-indulgent exercise. However, the harsh reality is that if you do not create your own brand, other people will do it for you based on whatever information they can glean about you from friends, colleagues, social media and internet searches.
Taking control of your personal brand puts you in charge of the narrative and allows you to present yourself in the best possible light in an oversaturated marketplace. It will boost your reputation and elevate your credibility as well as help you to build trust with others in order to reach your personal and professional goals.
What is a Personal Brand?
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos once said: “Your personal brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
A personal brand encompasses everything that affects how people view you and respond to you. It helps communicate to the outside world the values, beliefs, goals and deeper purpose that describe who you are and guide your choices. In short, it represents all the unique parts that make up your personality, experience and ambitions.
Investing in your personal brand will bring long-lasting benefits to both your personal and professional life as well as help open doors for you in the future. It will also enable you to make decisions that are in line with your values and save you wasting time on activities that do not resonate with your brand identity and deeper purpose.
Personal branding takes work and time, but it is a great way to help you stand out from the crowd and attract attention from potential employers, clients and collaborators. Here we outline just a few of the reasons why it is a worthwhile journey to embark on:
1. it helps you define your ‘Why”
Your ‘why’ is the deep seated set of beliefs, values and passions that drives you to do what you do. It is also what makes you different to the millions of other people in this great wide world.
The first step in personal branding is defining the values that sit at the core of who you are as a person. Some examples of core values might be: Dependability, Honesty, Creativity, Positivity or Service to Others. For a good and wide-ranging list of core values, check out The Confidence Gap by Dr. Russ Harris.
Secondly, identify your passions – what are the things you most enjoy, both in your personal and professional life? These two steps will help you pinpoint where you want to invest your energy and the path you want to follow.
2. It helps you relate to other people
A powerful personal brand is as much about your audience as it is about you. Think carefully about the people you want to connect with, both on a personal and professional level. Keep in mind that you can’t be everything for everybody. It is impossible to build a brand that serves and pleases everyone.
Do not be afraid to reveal your more vulnerable side or sharing past mistakes that have shaped who you are today. Authenticity is a key part of personal branding so don’t think that you have to emulate someone else or erase your flaws in an attempt to be ‘perfect’. Being honest about who you are helps people relate to you and builds trust between you and your audience.
3. it helps you reach your goals
Creating a strong and authentic personal brand will boost your chances of securing interviews, being promoted and winning more clients for your business.
In today’s competitive business world, first impressions are crucial. When you meet someone new, be it in real life or over the internet, you only have a seven second window to make a positive impact.
There is no room for error if you want to stand out in an interview, business meeting or even on a first date. Having a personal brand will help you maximise every opportunity that comes your way by amplifying your strengths and all the good things you have to offer.
4. it puts you in charge of your digital footprint
We really cannot overstate the importance of social media in establishing your personal brand identity. As part of your brand building, you should have a thorough clear out of your existing digital footprint. Be ruthless, and make a note of any photos, comments or posts that are not in line with your personal brand values.
Once you’ve audited your digital footprint, it is time to take action to put things right. This might include asking friends to remove inappropriate posts or unflattering photos, tightening your privacy settings or deleting old comments that are not in line with your brand values.
5. It strengthens your visual image
Whatever industry you are in, your visual image is important. It’s not about following the latest fashion or maxing out your credit cards on designer clothes. It’s about ensuring that the way you dress, speak and carry yourself is in line with the messages you wish to convey.
Spend some time formulating a signature style that suits your working environment. Our Principal, Philip Sykes, has made a bespoke suit with matching tie and pocket hanky his signature look when delivering coaching sessions to his clients. Does he wear it off duty when he’s at home with his wife and young son? Of course not, but the smart suit has become (a visual representation) synonymous with his role as a leading etiquette coach.
Don’t forget to pay attention to the details; choose your accessories carefully and invest some time in your personal grooming. Your outward appearance dictates how people see you and being purposeful about how you present yourself will strengthen your brand identity.
It is important to remember that building a personal brand requires time and effort. Transparency and authenticity are essential to help you set yourself apart and ensure that your brand is consistent, clearly defined, and in line with your short and long-term goals.
If you want to make 2021 the year that you master your personal brand, sign up for our Personal Branding Workshop.