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What is a personal brand?
According to BrandYourself, “When we talk about “personal branding” we are referring to establishing and promoting what you stand for. Your personal brand is the unique combination of skills and experiences that make you, you. Effective personal branding will differentiate you from other professionals in your field.”
Personal branding could also mean repositioning and presenting yourself with a new value proposition. Using myself as an example, an optometrist of 17 years of experience who wants to become and be known as a design strategist will need strategic personal branding.
In most instances, logo or other visual identity assets are taken solely to depict what a brand is. Brand strategy is much deeper than that and goes to determine the context of all visual identity assets.
Your personal brand strategies should be the foundation of your appearance, your tone of voice, and how you communicate to your audience. It also includes your belief system and your authentic self. It is a long-term plan for developing a successful brand presence in order to achieve specific goals.
The founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, says it even better:
“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
“Your brand is your reputation!”
Abraham Lincoln unmarried it perfectly,
Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it, the tree is the real thing.
If you say, I have the best solution to your problem. That’s marketing. If they say, you have the best solution to his or her problem. You are a brand.
In an inc.com article, Eitan Chitayat, CEO and creative director of the international Natie Branding Agency gave a superb definition of personal branding. According to him, A personal brand needs to be an authentic representation of who you really are, not a role you are playing. You can’t just make something up. You should develop your personal brand based on who you truly are. You have to be that person in branding.
Knowing your brand.
To know your brand is to know yourself. You can not conquer the world except you have conquered yourself. The right personal branding strategy that will deliver value for your target audience and of course value for you, must start with knowing who you are. Who are you? What are you here for? What is your purpose? Like Simon Sinek proposed, you must start with why not what or how.
William Arruda in his Forbes article – The Simple Way To Fit Personal Branding Into Your Busy Schedule outlined ways to live your brand. Two points particularly caught my attention:
- The need to know your brand
- The need to Live your brand
To understand yourself, your unique qualities, and the values you embody, William Arruda suggests answering the following questions:
- What do I do better than anyone else?
- What makes my contributions unique? Is it what I do or how I do it?
- What do people come to me for?
- What’s my favorite part of my job? Why?
Examine yourself because to know your brand is to know yourself. Evaluate the things you do because to live your brand is to express your expertise in authentic ways that align with who you are.
Your Personal Brand is beyond your resume
In one Forbes article, Why your personal brand is more than a resume, Celinne da Costa outlined 3 strong reasons creating a strong personal brand will guarantee a better success than a resume.
People connect with dynamic content
Everyone is online these days. This makes it more than ever to have a cohesive profile that adapts to fit across digital platforms. This will help you adapt to relatable and engaging ways with your target audience. This means that those who see you as a professional on LinkedIn should see a more casual you on Facebook with the same authentic value. Your target audience should be able to see you as flexible, relatable, and authentic.
Actions speak louder than words
Again, in today’s digital world, it has become so easy for anybody to claim expertise in one form or the other. Fruitful relationships are better built on trust than promises. People want to see what you did or do. They want to hear from others about your work or approach. In design and in any other professional work, your portfolio says more than what you say. Your handwork must be strategically positioned in all platforms of importance to your target audience.
Communicating a clear vision attracts the right opportunities
The ultimate personal branding strategy starts with a well-defined vision. To attract those who share in your vision, you must make sure your overall strategy is aligned with your vision. When people share your vision, it becomes easy to collaborate and achieve set objectives.
Why You Need To Develop Your Personal Brand
A strong personal brand will enable you to show a unique value in today’s crowded marketplace. When done properly, a personal brand strategy will righty position your purpose, vision, capabilities, and personality before your target audience. It is a sure way of aligning things you do with your overall goals in strategic ways. When aligned with an overall higher purpose, it builds trust and leads to more engaging relationships with brands that share the same vision.
In the words of Tom Peters, “Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”
You are the sole proprietor of the enterprise called You. You are a brand with a unique value proposition. Sell yourself.