Everyone has a personal brand, whether they realize it or not. It essentially comes down to how others perceive you…what they say about you when you’re not in the room.
The question is: Are you managing your brand effectively to get the results you want?
There’s a lot of buzz about personal branding right now, however the concept and benefits of personal branding are often not clearly understood. My website and blog hopefully gave you some insight into what personal branding is about, and how Golden Notebook is positioned in the branding world. But let’s take a step back and unpack the basics of personal branding and the value behind it. So here we go…
Personal branding is about authenticity…a true representation of who you are, or your “core identity”, which serves as the foundation upon which your personal brand is built.
The personal branding process, first and foremost, helps you to develop an enhanced self-awareness (as a psychologist, this is the bit I love). This includes a better understanding of your vision, purpose, passions, strengths and values in life. When equipped with greater self-knowledge, you’re more likely to develop a stronger sense of overall self-confidence. By default, it will often raise the confidence that others have in you.
As part of this core identity development, personal branding helps you identify, understand and communicate your values. Your unique values provide a sense of direction in life, and communicating them to others helps them know exactly what you stand for. This stage of personal branding also helps to clarify, optimize and utilize your strengths…and make your weaknesses less relevant. This information is then used to separate yourself from your competitors and build on differentiation, which we will get to now.
Personal branding is about differentiation…what makes you unique and stand out from the crowd.
By identifying and then communicating what makes you unique and differentiated, you can work towards setting yourself apart from everyone else, both in and out of the workplace. A defined and differentiated personal brand sends a clear, consistent message about who you are, what you are known for, and what you’re good at.
Another thing…differentiation can also enhance resilience. A strong personal brand that stands out and offers something unique can better endure economic uncertainty and challenges of a competitive job market.
“I’m a Mac. I’m a PC.” – a very clever ad campaign
Personal branding is about relevance…what makes you compelling and meaningful to the people who matter.
Knowing and clearly communicating your “unique value proposition” helps others develop a greater awareness of what makes you meaningful to them. In business, the personal branding process helps to identify the right consumers, and better understand what they need, value, and want. This allows you to position yourself as an expert in a certain niche or group. In your personal life, relevance includes the unique and meaningful qualities you bring to a relationship. A strong, relevant personal brand results in a greater synergy with others.
Personal branding is about expression…the way in which you convey yourself to the world.
Your outer brand is how others perceive you, which includes your personality, communication skills, presence, personal style, grooming, mannerisms, and lifestyle. Personal branding helps you develop and express an outer image that creates an impact and sends the right message about you. A strong outer brand can help create a memorable first impression, as well as a lasting one. The personal branding process can help you develop a unique outer signature to increase your presence and stand out of the crowd.
You don’t have to be Lady Gaga to make an impact
Personal branding is about visibility…making yourself known to others in a smart and authentic way.
Personal branding can help you “put yourself out there” and enhance your recognition, reputation and credibility. This includes showcasing your personal brand through different strategies, such as advertising, publicity, publishing, networking, and social media. The right brand visibility is important in both professional and personal arenas. How you interact using social media builds your reputation and helps others to better understand your personal brand. In business, companies will typically do due diligence and search online to see if you’re legitimate and trustworthy. A strong personal brand can also lead to more unsolicited job offers, as recruiters hear about you or discover you online.
Personal branding is about clarifying and achieving your goals…what you want from life.
Understanding your brand helps to define personal and professional direction. The personal branding process helps you to define exactly what you want to achieve, and then set specific, measurable, achievable and realistic goals, along with a development plan to get there. Clarifying your goals and ambitions encourages you to focus and use time and energy into actualizing your purpose and vision. In this way, personal branding helps you to chart a course to your destination, in both your professional and personal life.