Branding is an essential marketing element to consider when creating strong awareness for companies. But did you know branding can also be used on yourself? Personal branding is a concept which uses traditional aspects of branding, but tailors it for individual use. Dan Schawbel author of ‘Build a Personal Brand to Achieve Career Success’ defines personal branding as a ‘process by which we market ourselves to others.’
Personal branding is vital for professionals who want to be taken seriously within their fields. Branding yourself correctly allows prospective employers and clients to understand who you are and what benefits you can add to their company or service.
Essentially, your personal brand is a combination of four core factors:
1. You – Consider what your personality and attitude is towards your professional work. It also takes into account previous experience and skills obtained throughout your professional career. It is important to ask yourself if the brand you wish to project actually correlates to who you are as a professional.
2. Your Packaging – Others perceive you by the information they receive. Your professional bio, CV, personal presence and interview skills/etiquette each contribute towards your personal packaging. Through these factors, other professionals will be able to gain a greater understanding and awareness of who you are.
3. Online Presence – Explore all the appropriate ways you should represent yourself online. Virtually everyone these days has some form of presence online, the fundamental level being Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. When using these social media platforms, you need to be aware of what each is projecting about yourself. Does it contain information about your key professional skills and achievements? If not, it is essential that it does. Read our blog on how to Manage What Google Tells Potential Employers About You to find methods of creating an optimised online presence.
4. Awareness – a brand isn’t a brand if no one but yourself knows who you are. Networking is essential for creating good brand exposure. Networking with key players within your professional field allows you to make long lasting connections. Networking not only serves as a potential to build a client base, but it also adds to your professional credibility. However, be selective on who you connect with; it is important to ensure the people/organisations that you connect with add to your credibility instead of tarnishing your reputation.
Now that you have a clearer insight into what personal branding is, take a moment to think about what your current personal brand is? Think about who you are, what skills you offer, your attitude and your experience. Now ask yourself whether others perceive you in the same way?
Authenticity is paramount to creating a strong personal brand. You must be able to demonstrate examples of everything you claim within your brand. Former contestant from ‘The Apprentice’, Stuart ‘The Brand’ Baggs, is a great example of how NOT to style your personal brand. His major claims of success with little tangible evidence to back it up, are the opposite of what to aim for as they lack the authenticity required to create a believable brand.
Is your personal brand image in check? What are you waiting for? Take full control of your personal brand and manage the way other professionals perceive you today!