A brand isn’t just something for celebrities like Beyoncé or corporations like McDonald’s. A brand is for anyone who wants to take control of what they’re communicating to others about who they are, what they stand for, and what they’re capable of. A personal brand empowers you to manage expectations and create value that can be used to advance your career, business, or personal life.
Whether you’re aware of it or not you already have a personal brand―the way you speak to others, the people you associate with, and even your choice of clothing all say something about you. The people you meet (e.g., clients, customers, employers, employees, colleagues, etc.) are already making conscious and subconscious judgments about you, your intentions and your abilities by what you’re presenting to them. These judgments based on your brand is what they’ll remember and will influence their decisions about whether or not they want to hire you, promote you, or do business with you.
The question is: what does your personal brand say about you? Is it communicating to others what you’d like it to say or is it secretly sabotaging you?
Whether you work in an entry-level position in the mail room, are a high-level corporate executive, or a new business owner, you need a personal brand strategy that is effective, authentic and leaves people with a clear and concise impression of who you are, what you stand for, and what you can potentially do for them. If you aren’t self-aware of your own branding, then don’t be surprised if others fail to recognize all your wonderful qualities or make mistaken assumptions about you.
So, how do you project to others what you value, what you’re capable of, and what makes you distinct? How do you create a clear and positive image of yourself that will come to mind whenever anyone thinks of you?
3 Quick Tips For Developing A Successful Personal Brand:
- Be authentic. Who are you at your core and what do you stand for? What’s your personal vision and mission for your life and career? What do you want to be known for? What thoughts or feelings do you want to come to people’s mind when they think of you? You need to define who you are for yourself or others will do it for you. Who you are is uniquely you and is what will separate you from the pack. This is the cornerstone of your personal brand. People immediately have a mistrust of those they perceive to be inauthentic or lacking in integrity so make sure that you don’t come across as a fake. No one wants to hire, work with, or buy a product or service from someone they don’t believe in. Be you and do you! This is what will inspire others to feel confident in you and your abilities.
- Be of value. What are your intrinsic values and extrinsic values? What are your unique strengths and talents that you want to leverage to create your unique value proposition? Successful brands are based on individuals or corporations playing to their strengths and using them to create something that people want. Play to your strengths and don’t overly fixate on your weaknesses. Your brand should clearly tell others what your strengths are and how those strengths and values can be used to fill a need or create success for them. Your personal brand should be stamped across everything you touch whether it be a conversation, a report, a presentation, or a product or service. It’s your assurance of quality and will do much of the “selling” for you. For example, my personal brand of delivering value helps me to generate new and repeat business because what people think of me in terms of my ability to help them succeed is relatively clear and consistent from person to person.
- Be consistent. People want to know that they’ll get the same you each and every single time they interact with you; that their positive expectations will be met. That goes for the way you speak to people, the energy you bring to your conversations, and even the way you present yourself. My personal brand is consistent―I treat everyone with respect and courtesy regardless of whether they’re the mail room clerk or the CEO of a large company. When I meet people in networking meetings or conferences, or potential clients contact me they always say that they’re delighted that I’m the same person that they expected me to be―that the positive energy, focus and skill that I bring to our interactions is what they’d been led to expect. Too often people underestimate the power of consistency and how being inconsistent can hurt a personal brand, career or business. For example, I can recall a colleague who was the office Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide; we never knew from one day to the next who we’d be getting. One day he’d be all smiles talking to you like you were his long lost childhood friend and the next he’d ignore you or look right through you when you tried to engage him. This inconsistency led to interpersonal issues in terms of resentment and mistrust among his peers and team members who came to loathe working with him.
Managing your personal brand begins with you! You can control much about how others see you use this to increase your personal and professional success.
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© 2016 Jacinth Tracey | Wired2Succeed Leadership and Business Consulting | wired2succeed.com
Jacinth Tracey, PhD is an award-winning leadership and professional development consultant, faculty member in addictions and mental health, international speaker and multiple best-selling author. Her mission is to empower her clients to break through barriers to their personal and professional success. Discover more about Jacinth’s products and services.