What is Personal Branding?
Personal branding is all about how others see you; it is about how you’re perceived both online and face-to-face.
You may be looking to secure more business, or drive forward your career. Or, you may be passionate about a personal cause and want to create a platform from which to fly the flag.
Whatever your objectives, strong, carefully managed personal branding will help you stand out from the crowd, enhance your reputation and establish your expertise and credibility. It should clarify the value you can bring to others, create impact and new opportunities.
Take Jamie Oliver. He has a really powerful personal brand. He is the original cheeky bloke. He’s fun, a family man and you’d trust him. He’s passionate about food and is a social campaigner. Jamie Oliver is also hugely influential, attracting more than 10 million unique visitors to his website each month.
So, if you’re thinking about developing your personal brand, focus on what you want to achieve and what your goals might be. How do you want to be perceived in a years’ time, then three or five? And write it down.
But, it is all about integrity. You need to bring to the fore an aspect of yourself, which is true.
Do your research, or let others do it for you and get this done objectively. Good research will uncover the common themes, characteristics, words and phrases which make up your current personal brand. This may include your business interests, hobbies and charitable interests, through web searches, websites, social media, PR and media, as well as any speaking activities and images which relate to you.
What do others think of you? Do you have colleagues or friends, who would be willing to uncover their real perceptions of you? Because the way you think you are perceived, is not necessarily how you are perceived.
This research is essential to define your current personal brand before developing your future brand.
Define your future personal brand
Think carefully about how you want to be perceived in the future. This should include your characteristics, values and beliefs which will set you apart from others.
For example, you may have expert knowledge, which is useful for others, or a unique viewpoint you’d like to establish. Again, write this all down.
Developing your new personal brand
Now it is important to take a look at the words, phrases and the imagery needed to create the essence of your new brand. What are the key messages you want to get across, which will help shape your new personal brand? Who are your audiences and how do you reach them?
The channels you need to reach your audiences may include developing your personal brand through social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, speaking at events, networking at events, blogging and having your opinion heard on online forums.
Imagery will be very important. Do you need new photos to help support and shape your brand and messages? Would it be effective to develop some short, punchy video clips to really get your messages across to the right audiences?
Ongoing Personal Brand Management
To manage your personal brand, you will need to review and monitor its effect and continue to create fresh content, which re-enforces your messages and helps differentiate you from others.
Finally . . .
Your personal brand should highlight an aspect of you which is absolutely authentic. If you’re projecting something you’re not – believe me, people will realise very, very quickly.
By demonstrating your knowledge, expertise and passion, your personal brand will set you apart from others, and help deliver opportunities and results.
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