What’s Your Personal Brand?
Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands. Many professionals spend hours on end thinking about the products and services we provide and the brands behind them, but what about your brand? Considering the increasingly competitive and connected environment in which we all operate, “the brand you build around yourself is perhaps the single most important way to stand out in your spheres of influence.”, according to veteran marketing consultant Laura Lake.
So how do you develop your personal brand and make sure employers, clients and colleagues know exactly what it is?
Identify Your Best Skills & Qualities
What are you good at? What are you passionate about? What would others say is your best attribute? Taking a moment to list out your greatest abilities and attributes really helps narrow the focus of your personal brand. People are complex creatures, but if you think of some iconic brands (Disney, Nike, Coke) they’re very straight forward and easy to understand. Your goal is to make it easy for others to understand your value clearly and quickly. By being in tune with your top skills and assets, you’re more likely to intentionally show them off.
Create an Elevator Pitch
Many times our interactions with other industry professionals are brief, at least in the initial stages of growing a connection. Make sure you optimize that window of time so the other person is walking away with a very clear idea of your personal brand. “This speech is all about you: who you are, what you do, and what you want to do (if you're job hunting).” says career expert Alison Doyle. Using those guidelines and your list of top skills and qualities, loosely craft a 30-second statement that accomplishes this. No need to rehearse it endlessly because authenticity is important (more on that later) but you do want to have something in your back pocket to make sure no encounter, however brief, is wasted.
Own Your Brand
Once you’ve identified your brand, embrace it. Being confident in who you are as a professional not only makes a stronger impression, but also instills confidence in others that you know what you’re doing. And don’t be afraid to be unique either. “Being able to demonstrate a point of uniqueness is your key to success in a competitive market.” (Entrepreneur Magazine) Being unique creates a greater sense of authenticity which is extremely important to people. Just like with a product that feels forced or fake, you aren’t going to buy into a person who presents himself/herself as anything other than genuine.
There are many ways to build your personal brand that go beyond these steps and it’s something you should constantly be working at and evolving. Whether you simply explore the suggestions in this blog or dig in deeper, developing your personal brand will ultimately bring you closer to every professional’s goal; spotlighting your expertise and highlighting your value.
About the Author: Lindsay Konlande currently serves as the Association Assistant for IREM Houston. Lindsay earned her Bachelor Degree in Communication from Texas A&M and has several years of experience in marketing, public relations and copywriting.