Personal Brand? Isn’t that for politicians, wannabes and the likes of the glitterati you say? Not so. Take a look around you. Personal branding is everywhere. It’s the reason you get your morning cappuccino from one cafe rather than another, the explanation for why you prefer one bar over the next one, why you don’t shop at that shop and why sometimes you are inexplicably drawn to a person, place or that random item you never intended to purchase when you’re out shopping. And if it has that kind of impact, shouldn’t you be taking a look at yours?
Why Bother With Personal Brand?
With the strides in neuroscience over the last ten years we know that it takes less than a second for us to make up our minds about who someone is and what we think they stand for, yes an entire second. So you may as well give yourself a head start and consider your branding. If you’re looking for a new role, professional contacts or you’re heading up a new team or business, attention to personal branding can give you a head start. Isn’t that manipulation you ask? Well, no. Think of it as using your smarts and shaping the first impression in that one short second to let people know what you’re all about rather than leaving them to their own (possibly erroneous) devices. A strong brand will stand you in good stead. Here’s how to make a start.
Building Your Brand
Where to start? Worry not we’ve got 3 surefire tips to help you on your way.
Be yourself. Carve time out to consider your strengths and what makes you unique. Known as your unique selling proposition (USP) this will form the basis of your branding. By all means take a look at the brands of others in your field to see what works and what doesn’t but don’t try to emulate them, you’ll come across as fake, exhaust yourself in the process and just succeed in blending in with the crowd. Sorry Oscar Wilde, imitation isn’t the sincerest form of flattery, in personal branding terms, it’s just biege. Ask trusted friends of colleagues what they see as your strengths. Take the VIA Strengths Assessment http://www.authentichappiness.org as a starting point, it will rank your signature strengths based on your answers. Now you’re armed, take the information you’ve gathered , use it and build it into your brand. Don’t be shy, this is the time to really drill down on your own uniqueness.
Create a Platform:
A website is crucial for social proof if you are going to establish your personal brand. Consider what you want it to say and how you can make it stand out from the crowd. In order to build your brand you need to be found and an online presence is key. Your website should present a positive image of who you are and what you do. It tells the story of ‘you’ of why you’re doing what you’re doing and highlights everything that you came up with in step one. Which leads us nicely onto step 3
Become a Thought Leader:
When you’re building your brand in your chosen field go out of your way to help others. Find forums, social media groups (e.g. LinkedIn groups, Twitter questions or Facebook groups) and help people by answering questions and queries on your specialism. Write articles, blogs, guest blogs, speak at events and stretch yourself by taking every opportunity that comes your way to talk about what you do. Establishing yourself as an expert and thought leader translates into helping others to find out more about your passion. Create value for others, think about what you can give rather than what you can get. Be professional, be friendly and always treat others with respect it will help you to build a valuable network and build your social proof.
Want to know more about personal branding? Check out our 5 Tips To Rock Your Personal Brand Podcast.