Whether we like it or not, we all have personal brands, and some of us use them to build our influence and expand our reach
In this time of fast passing fads, quickly evolving trends, and short attention spans, it is your personal brand that can help you stand out from the noise. Having this personalized online footprint is a crucial element of business strategy, but it needs to be clearly defined and differentiated from others.
Does everyone really have a personal brand? Yes.
A personal brand is an extension of who you are, and because everyone is different, it should set you apart from others. It is what makes you memorable and unique – it’s why you stick in peoples’ minds after you leave the room. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, is famously quoted as saying, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
Your personal brand is more than your reputation, however, because reputation lies in the external – in other people’s minds – and varies from person to person. A personal brand, which is inextricably linked to one’s identity, is therefore within an individual, encompassing one’s passions, strengths, and purpose in the world.
According to Glenn Llopis, best-selling author and chairman of the Glenn Llopis Group, developing your personal brand is essential for the advancement of your career and development as a leader. In fact, in today’s competitive world, having a unique personal brand can even get you hired for your next job. According to a Career Builder study of more than 2,100 hiring and human resources managers, “more than one-third of employers are less likely to interview job candidates if the companies can’t find information about the applicants online.”
Some reasons why your personal brand matters:
- It distinguishes you from your competition.
- It helps you build your credibility while letting your target audience know your specific characteristics.
- It allows you to leave your mark in the sector you represent by connecting with your audience directly.
- It assists you in building new relationships and in garnering the support you need in your industry.
- It lands you new opportunities, such as a better job, business partnerships, or offers from investors.
- It gets you noticed.
Personal branding is an ongoing process of establishing an image in the mind of others. So, how does one build a personal brand?
Tangible ways to build a personal brand:
- Develop your bio or a brand statement. Remember, your bio is not your resume. These are two different things with two distinct purposes. Your personal brand statement gives a snapshot of who you are, what you do, and what value you bring to others. Personal brand statements are usually three to four sentences long and clearly communicate the vision of your personal brand.
- Get on social media. It’s the 21st century and there is no reason to not subscribe to social media channels. Different social media channels are effective for different purposes. For example, if you are in the entertainment or lifestyle business, where visual elements are key, subscribing to YouTube and getting your brand videos up will expand your reach and visibility. Similarly, LinkedIn is great for networking and building your thought leadership.
- Talk about what makes you interesting. Most of us want to play it safe in the business world, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk about your personality traits or hobbies that make you stand out. In fact, some of the top CEOs and leaders openly tout their after-hours hobbies that make them interesting. For example, Richard Branson kite surfs, Marissa Mayer is a serial baker, and Warren Buffet and Bill Gates are Bridge partners. Sharing more personal things about you, such as your hobbies and talents, helps you connect to others and humanizes your brand.
- Identify your core values and put them into action. For example, do you care about social causes? If so, find opportunities to volunteer at a local organization that support and advocate for these causes. Actively looking for platforms that you identify with helps you connect with like-minded individuals, and supporting societal causes helps you stand out.
- Attend industry events. There are many benefits to attending industry events. The one obvious reason is to expand your network. The more you expand your network, the more you position yourself for opportunities.
Whether you’re looking for a job, building opportunities for your brand, or getting the attention of investors, personal branding is more important now than ever. When building your personal brand, stay authentic with your audience, consistent with your message, and true to who you are and what you represent. After all, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.
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