Personal branding can be defined as the act of marketing and representing yourself as your very own brand. Through it, you’re able to completely unmask your career, niche or vocation and bring it to the fore in the way you act, how you interact with people, and which conversations you form part of. It’s the never-ending process of establishing the impression you desire in the mind of others about yourself and the affiliations you have.
Building and managing a personal brand is something that everyone should be doing today. It’s important to establish yourself and what you represent to others before someone else does. Because if you’re not creating this impression, someone else is doing it for you. In this article, we outline the first few steps to create a holistic personal brand which will position you as a thought leader and as CEO of your own brand—YOU.
Highlight your values and what you’re passionate about
Your values are what you hold near and dear, they’re what you can offer and what you have that can make a difference in the world. Placing priority on your values is the first thing you need to do before you start building your personal brand. Your values and passions are the elements of personal branding that make you unique and human. These form the foundation to helping you determine the vision of your personal brand. It’s essential that you identify your passions and nail down a few that best speak to who you are—both personal and professional. Ask yourself what you want to be known and remembered by; Is it that you’re incredible in the corporate world, that you’re a world class accountant or that you’re a professional football player? What is it that makes you, you?
Build your brand
Once you’ve discovered and outlined your values, passions and the unique traits that make you, you—it’s time to start representing them and instilling them into your own brand. Below are some ways you can get started:
Develop a unique email signature: We recommend that you start making use of your own personal email signature. Ensure you include all your contact details, your signature, your social media links, your company address and (if you have one) that of your website. Email is still one of the most popular forms of communication in business today—and so this signature is what people will see the most of you.
Create a LinkedIn and Twitter account: Take some professional headshots of yourself and use them on LinkedIn and Twitter. They’re both great mediums through which you’re able to easily showcase your brand to the rest of the world—in different ways. Creating these accounts will cost you nothing, however they will give you the best exposure and ensure that you’re searchable.
Decide who you’re trying to reach: It’s impossible to catch everyone’s eye, so why should you try to appeal to everyone when building your personal brand? Defining a specific audience is important for organisations and it’s also important for individuals. Knowing and impressing the right set of people is what you need to ensure that your personal brand is heard.
Make use of content to build credibility and trust: Content such as blogs, articles, videos and images are all essential to add credibility to you and to give your brand a voice. Use your personal blog, a LinkedIn and Twitter account and maybe even a YouTube channel to talk about the things that matter to you. This helps shape your personal brand in a way that makes it specifically yours.
Maintain and manage your online presence: A mistake many people make is by hiding or shying away from an online presence. Having no online presence can be just as damaging as having a poor one. Ensure that your social media profiles, blogs and other content all aligns to the brand you want to represent. Ensure that you own your narrative and don’t leave it up to the perception of the reader.
Whether you’re searching for a better paying job, trying to establish yourself as a thought leader in your field, considering a career change or just growing your network to increase your sales and opportunities, building a personal brand is right up there with having a decent CV. Avoid becoming anonymous in a world that’s increasingly searching for people to find out who they are instead of calling them up to meet them. Own your brand, own your story and make sure that you’re in control of the very first impression.