The word branding is commonly used in reference to products, companies and industries… but not always used for people. Truthfully, we all have a “personal brand” whether purposely or purely accidentally. For some, it’s difficult defining what our specific brand is, and how to develop/maintain it. Is it something we want to be, or something we just naturally are? What does it take to create your very own personal brand – and how do you go from being unknown to known?
Whether consciously or not, we are all projecting a certain image of ourselves to the outside world, every single day.
So, what is your brand?
Your personal brand plays a significant role in telling the world who you are and how you want to be perceived. Within the first five seconds of meeting someone new, judgements are instinctively made (whether we want to admit that or not). Psychologists have determined that prompt judgement is often formed during the very first visual impression of an individual. Your credibility, likability, professionalism and attractiveness is all assessed by the receptive brain, which then determines how you’re going to interact (or not interact) with someone new.
Your initial introduction with others should consistently convey all the key information that will show who you are, and promote a desire for your audience to want to learn more. Keep in mind that confidence is always key. If you can believe yourself and the image you’re looking to communicate – others will naturally be forced to follow suit. If you miss the mark, then you’ll run into the issue of miscommunication which often sabotages any business or personal contacts you desire. Branding is not complicated but it does require detail and consistency.
Make a commitment.
This is where most people fail. They start off with a bang and then get busy with other priorities. Whether you want to partake in the social media world or not… it exists and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Because of this fact, you must be present in the digital world if you have any sort of goals to hang amongst the cool crowd. Put some effort into your online brand. 90% of the entire millennial population owns a mobile device… and creeping has quickly become the most favourable past time of the 20th century.
Update yourself… and your pages.
You need to take some time every week to update your social pages. When people fail at this, they (literally) fail at life. If their LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter pages have not been updated for 12 months… it speaks volumes. It shows that you are not committed to building a brand that reflects a modern, knowledgeable, fashionable and hip lifestyle. Spending 15 minutes every day building your brand through emails, social media, etc. will go a long way with your personal brand strategy. Build connections, build your follower base, and build your reputation. Keep in mind that your social connections are your power.
But… do you need a personal brand?
The fact is, if you have a name, you are being Googled. Classmates Google you in class, Co-workers Google you at work, business partners Google you before a conference call, exes Google you to see what you’re doing with your life, potential employers Google you before a job interview. It goes on and on and on…
The reason you need to brand yourself with one aligned image is so that everyone gets the same impression of you. And that impression should be established, composed, and polished. Personal branding is about managing your name – even if you don’t own a business. We live in a world of misinformation, disinformation… and Google.
Whether you already see yourself as a well-mannered, well-branded individual, there is no harm in keeping yourself focused on “what’s next”. You will always, always learn new things from others – so don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Surround yourself with top-notch people, and remember to have the confidence to reach out to your influencers and role models. If you study the network of successful friends and leaders in your niche, you’ll find mentors that help to build you up. You should never be frightened to ask others for advice. This is how you learn. This is how you grow.
Stay On Message
The term ‘stay on message’ is used to describe the branding process. It simply means decide on your style & attitude and live in that space daily. Treat your personal brand the way companies treat their corporate brands. The reason brands like Gucci, Versace or Mercedes Benz are held in such high regards is because they figured out their product value. They then matched their messaging to always convey what they wanted to be imprinted in your mind (i.e Luxury, high value, elite, prominence and highly desired). Perception can be everything – in both good and bad ways.
In an age where we define and craft our personal identity more and more, it makes you think – what image am I projecting to the world? You are your very own brand, and promoting the right brand begins with a healthy self-perspective. Our personal brands must always be a true reflection of who we are. Know yourself first, and decide how you want the world to know you.