Remember, long long ago, before the Internet? The concept of a personal brand did not exist among regular businesspeople. The closest anyone could get to a ‘personal brand’ was to have a killer business card.
Today, however, people are not that nameless anymore. Social media has changed our world, and having a personal brand can have far-reaching consequences.
In this blog, we first look at why you should even have a personal brand, and then we highlight a few ways of how you could improve on it.
What is a personal brand?
Your personal brand is your story. It is what makes you ‘you.’ It is the combination of your personality, skills, and experience.
It is how you promote yourself and how you want the world to see you. You don’t have to have a personal brand, of course. You can ignore it or let it develop without your input.
Why would I want to have a personal brand?
Your personal brand helps you stand out among others. It is what makes you unforgettable. If you want to be considered influential in your specialised niche, it is non-negotiable. You must have a personal brand that highlights your strong points and your passions.
People these days do not believe conventional advertising anymore. One study showed that more than 80% of millennials would rather believe people that they feel they ‘know’: those personal branders.
World-wide this means that businesses started to market themselves differently. Personalizing their business leaders is an ongoing trend. Steve Jobs and Elon Musk did so very successfully.
It is a cultural shift, and it is helpful to stand out. Whether you are just starting in the business world or a seasoned manager, a personal brand is for everyone.
Read more definitions of personal branding here:
Seven top tips on how to build your personal brand
1. Be you — always
Customers are everywhere. You can’t have a ‘professional’ and a ‘home’ version of your personal brand. How someone encounters you at the local MacDonald’s must be consistent with how he sees you at your business.
Your lifestyle and your brand must be one. Your personal brand must be authentic. It must state ‘this is me’ and ‘this is what I believe in.’
Think of it like this: your personal brand is not merely a manifestation of your job, but also your ideals.
How do you ‘pay it forward?’ Are you a thoughtful leader and a mentor to others? Show the world in your day-to-day endeavors. If you are not genuine, your audience will know.
2. Decide on your message
Who is your target market? This is the people you want to reach.
Say, for example, you are very new to the job market. Your personal branding would revolve around your skills and personality so that someone will hire you. Your target market is potential employers. Focus on the message that you want to get across to them and create content about it.
For more seasoned aspiring personal branders, the focus can be much more specific. What is your specialized niche? Stick to that message to make you memorable with your target audience. Narrow it down and focus. People will remember who you are much easier.
Read more here about how to define your personal brand:
This tip goes hand in hand with the previous one. It is easier to get recognized if you stay true to one message -online and offline. Inconsistencies in your personal brand can very quickly derail the whole train.
What is the overall message you want to get across to your audience? Think about it every time you post something online or interact with them.
A creative way of creating consistency is to have a mascot or a catchphrase. It will not work for everyone, but it can be a fun way of creating consistency across all your messages.
4. Keep your private issues private
Exercise judgment whenever you post something online. You should never post or share something that you are not comfortable for everyone to see.
Privacy settings on social media are not infallible. Keep it in mind while building your brand. One misstep can cost you years of hard work.
5. Carry that business card
Nobody said to chuck it away!
A business card allows you to network with somebody new when the opening presents itself. Design a set of business cards that set out who you are and how to contact you. It is crucial to your branding to have it professionally done.
Find more tips about killer business cards here:
6. Stories are powerful
People want to hear engaging stories. One of our top tips to improve your personal branding is to create a story that will inspire and engross your audience.
You can write your story and set it free through written content, or you can engage with your audience through video. It is a very personal way of communicating. It is easy these days – everyone has a smartphone!
Part of storytelling is the fact that if you do it in a way that your audience remembers you, they will also tell your story. It is public relations by word of mouth!
Read more here about the power of storytelling in personal branding:
7. Failure is part of the package
Did you know that Michael Jordan, one of the greatest baseball players ever, was once cut from his high school team? While moving up the ranks, he missed game-winning shots 26 times. He failed over and over – and in the end, that is why he succeeded.
You need to have at least one big failure for your personal brand to rise. You learn from it. You push past your comfort zone. The best personal brands come from trial and error – over a long time.
Let these successful people that failed at first inspire you:
Building a personal brand is not a stop-and-start game. It is a lifelong project that will change and develop. There are no rights and wrongs in creating your own brand – let the world be your oyster.
We hope that these general guidelines helped you to start thinking about your personal brand.
It won’t be created overnight. You must actively promote yourself by interacting with your target audience through social media, a website, videos, blogs, and more. In the end, it is all about creating a positive impact.
Read more here about creating your personal brand: