Did you ever think you’d be contemplating the idea of creating a personal brand? Or even know that personal branding was a thing? Probably not. Yet, here you are, hustling your way to the top and wondering exactly what you can do to hurry that along. And good for you!
Wanting to wow at work or build a business is something special. It’s inspiring to be so excited about your career and want to do well. So, it’s only natural that you want to get ahead in your own way. Choosing to own your personal brand is such a fun and powerful way to do that.
But how exactly can you make it happen and what exactly is a personal brand?
It can sound a little pretentious, can’t it? Deciding that you want to brand yourself. But in reality, it’s pretty smart.
Building a personal brand is something that can help you to showcase who you are and what you do to potential employers or customers. And, in essence, it’s just like a business brand.
A personal brand showcases who you are, what you’re about and tends to encompass your values too. It communicates everything you’re about and how you can add value. It’s all about you and your story. It’ll show your strengths and help you to build both your reputation and trust, as well as communicate what’s unique about YOU to companies, businesses and customers.
So really, it’s something quite special indeed.
So now you want to know exactly what you need to do to create your own, don’t you? Let’s take a look at how you can do that by working through these seven somewhat small but very effective steps.
The first step is always going to be to get to know yourself. Creating a personal brand really requires you to drill down on everything about yourself. Your personality, characteristics, interests, strengths, but also anything you have a flair for.
Think about what makes you different. How do you stand out? It’s okay to get creative here – encouraged, in fact. Write down words, phrases, ideas – anything that represents who you are professionally.
While your mind is buzzing with everything you love about yourself, it’s time to define your goals. Think about the things that you want to be known for. Because that’s the thing – your personal brand isn’t really about who you are today, it’s centred around who you want to become.
So think ahead. Where do you want to be in five or even ten year’s time? What do you need to do to get there? And, more importantly, what skills, traits, or experiences will you need? This can then all feed into your brand.
It’s also vital that you think about your audience. Who is it that you’re projecting your brand to? Who are they – are they HR manager? Business owners? Thought leaders and experts? And where do they hang out? This seems like a strange question, but go with it…
As you start to think about promoting yourself, you’ll need to choose the right avenues. And, of course, that means knowing where your audience will be. Will you want to promote yourself on social media? If so, which platforms is your audience likely to use? Do you want a website too?
These are all important parts to be thinking about as you’re pulling your brand identity together.
At this stage, you might want to think about create a physical brand for yourself too. And this is where things get fun. Because if you’re creative (and we’re going to assume that you are), nothing beats playing around with designs! And this doesn’t have to be a daunting task to take on.
Using a platform like Canva (aff), you can easily pull together a super pretty brand design and logo that really represents who you are. You can even find free fonts here from Font Bundles to really tailor the look of your logo. Feel free to get creative and choose colours and fonts and an overall look that showcases your personality and what you’re about.
So you’ve worked out who you are, you’ve set your goals and created a physical representation of your brand and now it’s time to network. One of the most enjoyable parts of creating a personal brand is being able to put yourself out there. Even if you’re an introvert, this part can be so exciting.
At first, you’ll feel like you just don’t want to bother any or talk about yourself – but it doesn’t have to be about that. Instead, connecting with others on social media, joining forums and groups, even going to events – it can all be fun for you. You’ll meet some wonderful people, make some incredible connections, and get your personal brand out there in the process.
As you’re doing that, you’re going to want to keep on building your online presence. When it comes to social media, you’ll want to be selective. If you know what you have the time and you’re used to a range of platforms, have at it. But, it’s often smarter to choose just one or two and really dedicate your time to growing your online presence.
Be it Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or wherever, make sure that you’re interacting with others, creating content consistently, and being patient. Because traction will start to build up, but you have to keep at it and give it time.
After all, you never know who’s watching your content. You could easily be headhunted or get a new client when you least expect it!
And, as you come to the end of this exercise and actually start to put everything into practice, there’s something essential that you need to keep in mind.
You ARE your brand!
At all times, you are your brand. And that means that you need to live and breathe it. Don’t let the mask slip or try to be something you’re not. Instead, you need to just be yourself and make sure that the image you’re putting out there is consistent.
This is the most authentic and quickest way to build a personal brand and make sure that you are getting in front of the key hiring managers and business owners you want to notice you!
Do you have a personal brand? Or have you ever wondered how to build your own brand identity? Share your experience with the SOCIÉTÉ community in the comments below.