It still amazes me how bad individuals are at promoting themselves, the fact is everything you do shapes your personal brand. The benefits of personal branding are numerous, the only way to beat the competition is to actively market yourself. In a nutshell, personal branding is defining who you are, then actively communicating that through a multitude of channels.
Below is one of the many definitions of personal branding:
The process by which individuals differentiate themselves and stand out from a crowd by identifying and articulating their unique value proposition, whether professional or personal, and then leverage it across platforms with a consistent message and image to achieve a specific goal.
Fast Company’s, Tom Peters was the first to define or recognize personal branding back in 1997. Read about it here.
So…how do you go about defining your brand?
- Discover. This is the stage where you determine what your brand is. What makes you different? What makes you valuable? What is your value proposition? What have you done lately to stand out?
- Create. In 15 words or less develop your brand statement. Be creative. Write it down, read it multiple times and then test it out. If it doesn’t grab a person’s attention, then start again. If you are still struggling, analyze a person you want your brand to emulate. Is it Beyonce? Steve Jobs? Tom Peters gives this advice: “What do I do that adds remarkable, measurable, distinguished, distinctive value? Forget your job description. Ask yourself: What do I do that I am most proud of? Most of all, forget about the standard rungs of progression you’ve climbed in your career up to now. Burn that damnable “ladder” and ask yourself: What have I accomplished that I can unabashedly brag about?”
- Communicate. Now that you have defined your value proposition and have blown people away by your creativity…then you need to communicate it. What tools will you use? Let me give you a hint, you are reading one now (a blog…come on that was easy). Will you use social media, blogging, submit guest articles to publications, networking, speaking engagements? The floor is yours, so get busy.
- Maintain. Seems easy, but the fact is everything you do is being judged all the time. Your online profiles are up 24/7, doesn’t matter if you are sleeping. If you created a brand that is not genuine or transparent then someone will create a more accurate brand…and it probably won’t be very complimentary.
Personal branding is not rocket science. Your brand is you – your beliefs, goals and personality. Defining simply helps focus your efforts. The best piece of advice I can pass along to you is to always be authentic, visible and transparent.
Now get out there and market yourself…and don’t forget to stand out.