In today’s world, it’s important to take your personal brand seriously if you want others to take you seriously. Standing out from the crowd has become more difficult with the demands of our fast-paced society, but knowing yourself and being ready to promote your good qualities and experience will help you. Try out these tips for understanding the importance of personal branding, defining your own personal brand, and marketing your brand for greater business, career and life success.
Understanding the Importance of Personal Branding
Your personal brand helps you to:
1. Prosper as a free agent. Your personal brand is your reputation, and is enhanced by your image. It’s the way others see you based on what you project and what others’ experience of you is. If you’re like a lot of people, you may switch jobs or employers regularly, and may be considering opening your own business on a part-time or full-time level. Your personal brand is an asset you can take with you wherever you go.
2. Chart your preferred direction. Your brand will help you to establish goals, priorities and action plans. Even while taking care of daily obligations, you’ll have a bigger picture in mind by sticking with activities that enhance and build your brand while staying true to the principles that comprise that brand.
3. Serve others. Self promotion can go too far, so it’s easy to think that branding is somehow vain or self-absorbed. In reality, your personal brand shows the positive impact you can have on other people and the world around you – and only with focus can you achieve all the potential of your personal brand.
Defining Your Own Personal Brand
These tips will help you create an outstanding personal brand:
1. Take an inventory. Take a good look at yourself. Write out your strengths and weaknesses. Identify your passions. Think about what you’re good at and what you like to do, and focus your activities on enhancing your strengths to give you a positive jump start. You can work on your challenges as well, but consider giving yourself that initial positive boost by achieving success first.
2. Distinguish yourself from your colleagues. There are plenty of talented and dependable people in every field. Pinpoint your unique selling point. Maybe you’re a gas station owner who maintains the cleanest bathrooms in town – or perhaps you’re a technical whiz who is also a gifted public speaker and can explain / enhance your knowledge in addition to sharing it with others.
3. Talk about benefits. Help your target audience by tuning in to radio station WIIFM – What’s In It For Me? Explain how you can benefit your audience by putting your expertise and knowledge to bear on their behalf.
4. Summarize your mission in 10 seconds or less. Be prepared to capture people’s attention quickly. Let them know what you do in 15 words or less. You can tell you’re on the right track when they ask for more details.
5. Ask for feedback. Survey your family, friends, customers and colleagues to find out what they think of you and your abilities. Show your appreciation for constructive criticism so they’ll keep sharing it with you – even thought it can sometimes be hard to hear, remaining open to feedback may help you figure out what you can work on, as well as what you’re good at.
6. Stay up-to-date. Review your personal mission statement every six months. Make new action plans so you’re always getting closer to your goals, and stay on track by checking your direction.
Marketing Your Personal Brand
Use these strategies to expand your reach:
1. Increase your visibility. Post fresh content on your website or blog regularly. Stay active in social media and connect to others with similar experience, missions and audiences that you can reach. Look for opportunities to teach classes, give presentations, or write articles in your field.
2. Build buzz. Collect samples of positive feedback you get in the workplace. Assemble testimonials from happy clients and encourage them to make referrals. Word of mouth is often more effective and certainly cheaper than paid advertising, and being able to tell potential clients about other people just like them who have had a good experience with you builds credibility.
3. Tell your success stories. Craft brief anecdotes about your accomplishments that showcase your skills, outline benefits delivered, and make you proud. Rehearse telling them so you sound natural, and then TELL the stories. Don’t be a best-kept secret!
4. Monetize your contribution. Numbers sound convincing. Try to quantify the value you can deliver in dollars and cents where possible. For example, if you’re pitching your IT services to a small business owner, discuss how much money they can save by signing up with you for monthly maintenance visits that reduce the risk of expensive repairs and downtime.
5. Put together a dream team. It’s difficult to go it alone. Cultivate your network. Help others to market their brand and they’re more likely to do the same for you. Team up with complementary partners. Exchange services like cooking meals for a friend who cuts your hair, and consider writing testimonials for each other and share the connection with customers so that you both benefit.
Branding used to be for cattle and big corporations, but now everyone is in on the act. Take charge of your personal brand to achieve more business and personal success and guide your life in a direction that is meaningful for you.