Everyone is aware of the importance of good branding in business. Like Nike, its “Just Do It” slogan has become synonymous with the brand. Even without seeing the logo, you will know what it is. It sets the tone for how a company communicates and identifies itself with the market.
Branding is what the company stands for and it is what you can see in its products, employees, values and what it stands for. A successful brand stands out among its competition, increased awareness, more sales, and as a result, better customer experience.
Did you know that branding is not only confined to companies? Professionals can also share their expertise, skills, goals, and stories. In this increasingly digital world, having a personal brand is not a nice-to-have thing anymore. It is a necessity.
What is Personal Branding?
When it comes to personal branding, there are some things that you need to understand. First is that you should know how it works exactly, what you can get from it, and how you can build your brand.
Having an important name or being influential in a particular niche is highly coveted by those who want to capitalize on it. It brings a lot of opportunities, benefits, gratuities, and other perks. Personal branding is not strictly for influencers. You too can build your brand too, explains Ismail Kuden of KudenRugs.
But first, let us find out what personal branding is.
Here is a simple test. Try searching for your name on Google. What do you have in the search results?
If there is “nothing” then you need to stick around and learn how to build your personal brand because your name does not leave any online footprint. That means you need to differentiate yourself from the crowd.
That is what personal branding is. It can be defined as how you present yourself and create a brand around yourself instead of a business entity. When you develop a personal brand, you position yourself as an expert within an industry. It can help grow followers on social media which leads to securing a better job, selling more products in their business, and attracting better opportunities for their career.
Building a personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of planning and hard work before you can start seeing the results.
Unlike in the past, you don’t need an agent to get publicity. There is schmoozing or climbing the proverbial ladder of fame. Today, growing your influence is the other way around. It is easy to get attention and grow your online influence through social media, suggested Vasilii Kiselev from Top 3d Shop.
However, everyone is trying to get the same attention. There are many of you competing for the same attention. Just like a professional brand, you have to think strategically and appeal to your target audience.
Ten Strategies on How to Boost Your Personal Brand
1. Define who you are
To boost a personal brand, it should accurately reflect your personal and professional identity. To do this, you need to know who you are. Focus on yourself. Think about your strengths and weaknesses. Ask yourself the following questions.
What motivates me?
In which areas do I excel?
What are my qualities that earn compliments from others?
Which projects have I encountered difficulties with and asked for help from others? Which role depletes my energy?
What types of projects interest me more?
According to Chris Coleman of RV Talk, You can ask for help from your family, friends, and colleagues if you are having a hard time answering these questions. Ask them to describe you. When you are more aware of the different sides of your personality, you will know how to brand them.
Many people struggle to choose a specific niche because they don’t want to set limitations on themselves. Think of specializing because later on, your personal brand will change as your career grows. The best strategy is to concentrate on an area and let it grow over time.
2. Know what you want to be known for
In the words of Cheenu Lott from HaroPress, A personal brand goes beyond what you are today; it is a plan of where you want to go. Aside from understanding your existing skills and competencies, you should also assess your strengths and weaknesses as they relate to a particular industry or career you want to excel in next.
Before telling your story, work out what that story will be. It is important to have a deep understanding of your personal brand identity and personality. Create a personal brand framework with the following key elements.
Brand Purpose: This should answer your “why”. What are you trying to achieve?
Core Values: Brands are more value-driven these days. And your personal brand must be too. What do you want to stand for? What matters the most to your personal and professional life? Try to come up with at least five core values.
Benefits: A brand should be clear about the emotional and functional benefits it delivers to customers. In personal branding, it is the hard and soft skills that you can contribute. Examples of hard skills include coaching, mentoring, writing, public speaking, etc. while soft skills are open-mindedness, quick thinking, independence, and others.
Tangible Branding Elements: A brand has tangible elements like brand name, logo, colors, and fonts. For a personal brand, it should be the colors and design elements you use across your social media accounts, thinks ecommerce brand Snorkel-Mart owner – David Morgan.
David further suggests to set your personal brand apart you need to highlight what is special about you. Companies call it their unique selling point or USP. Your personal branding should drive your uniqueness and put your USP upfront.
3. Define your audience
You also need to define the audience you are trying to reach before crafting your brand. It can range from industry thought leaders to recruiters, companies, and individuals. You need to know your audience to craft a suitable story you want to tell. It will also determine the medium to launch your story.
4. Know more about your desired industry
As you start mapping out your career, you need to understand your desired industry. Look for experts in this role and follow them. Don’t stop there, find out where they contribute their thinking. Look for successful people and learn how they do it. Be a better version of them, thinks Teresha Aird of Offices.
She further suggests that In building your brand, your goal should be to differentiate yourself. You can’t reach the top if you don’t know who is already there.
5. Conduct informational interviews
As you prepare the list of companies you want to work for and the industry leaders who are your role models, try reaching out to these people for an informational interview. Ask the following questions to gain new insights about your desired field.
How did you enter the industry?
What are the steps you have taken to make the transition?
How do you see the industry in the next ten years?
How do you keep up with the trends?
Informational interviews are a win-win, you not only learn how to break into the industry but you are also sharing about yourself. This is already brand building.
6. Create an elevator pitch
While conceptualizing your personal brand, craft a 30 to 60-second story about yourself. This will come in handy when attending an event or informal party as it will be easy to describe yourself succinctly. Your elevator pitch should frame your strengths in the right light. Keep the points to the things you want to highlight about yourself.
7. Lift your network
Tom Miller from FitnessVolt recommends lifting your network effectively and regularly to multiply your professional circle, just like lifting weights in a gym. Connect with the right people like peers and industry thought leaders by regularly attending formal and informal networking activities.
The more you connect with others, the more value you can provide in your interactions. You will gain more because your brand will be recognized.
8. Ask for recommendations
Getting someone to endorse you is the easiest and most effective way to define your personal brand as they will tell others your value. This is like cultivating customer reviews and testimonies in sales and marketing. You also need to cultivate your own reviews via recommendations.
9. Grow your presence online
In today’s digital age, it is easy to find your business online. That is how powerful the internet is. So, why not harness it. Build your own website. Make it clean and more focused on the services you offer. Your website acts as the online business card that will help you get in touch with your client on a more personal level.
Aside from a website, a stellar social media presence will keep your audiences engaged and will probably share your business with others. Social media platforms like Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook can help elevate your pitch to a wider audience.
10. Create engaging content
According to Jonathan Merry of Bankless Times, Just like other brands, you need to strengthen your social media presence by posting engaging content like images, videos, blog posts, and many others. You use the add buttons on some platforms for call-to-action. It can help increase engagement and enhance communications. Images can help gain more traction than posting plain texts.
Continue to Improve Your Brand
The digital ecosystem keeps on changing, and so does your personal brand. Don’t limit yourself. Adjust your persona to meet different people, find new networking opportunities, and nurture your career. Don’t be afraid to create a brand that lets you shine.
When developing your personal brand, don’t lose sight of setting yourself apart from others. Highlight your values, unique interests, and visions.