That said, the first thing that is misunderstood is the actual scope of personal branding. While anyone and everyone is capable of creating a personal brand, and that its all the rage nowadays with proven impact on successes of individuals and their businesses, it is a serious investment in time effort and money. It is an investment that should be treated as a long term commitment that demands an honest evaluation – how important is it really for you to have personal branding, what have you done exceptionally in your life and career to need it? If the “exceptional” bit seems hazy, that’s way ahead of your to-do list than personal branding for now. Without something exceptional to embed at the core, your personal branding will be a hollow structure that leads to no purpose of recognition. However if those questions spark an interesting list of reasons for developing one, here is how you start!
- Prepare: You cannot be a different brand every month- or even every year. Research upto 3 areas and focus on those industries where you realistically have a chance of being a valued member and recognized leader for the long term. This is just like thinking of a business idea; there is a lot that can be done, but what is it that you can do better than the rest? Study in detail the key value propositions of leaders and influencers of the industry and find the areas you need to develop before you unveil a half baked product in the form of yourself to the industry.
- Create the brand: Once you are clear about what you want to brand yourself into, begin the process of creating a personal brand. Today social media and digital level personal branding are the easiest and foremost level of personal branding. Remember the persona you create for yourself, the values and the behavioral trademark should be one that suits the space you want to develop into. This could include marking everything that is part of your exceptional trade with your personal brand. For example, a photographer may want to start using a watermark on their images and create a portfolio website (just like this one) that they start sharing, along with a personalized email domain and E-stationary.
- Live the brand, brand the life: Get consistent in creating work around your personal brand; attend the industry events that mark the presence of the remarkable members of the professional community and participate in the events. If you cannot be a key speaker with the industry’s biggest event, start with the smallest and try to get into a panel discussion. If you wouldn’t get a stall at a large exhibition, go and be seen in smaller business breakfast clubs. You have to start being noticed, and any work you publish or any new contacts you make will push your own agenda of becoming an individual with a strong and unique style of work and acquaintance.
- Networking: A successful personal brand requires a strong network within the industry you wish to establish your brand within. Maintain a clear database of people you meet with references for memory sake and keep building it up with information that can help you stay connected consistently. Keep in touch with your network both on a professional level by dialogue related to professional references, mutual businesses growth, updates on each other’s work and the occasional season’s greeting. On the other hand, you should also have a personal approach to this network- people may occasionally like to know about your favorite travel destinations and restaurants as well because that makes you more human- let your social media accounts work here!
- Invest and Improve consistently: Once you see results in terms of a larger affiliation network in your industry and increased recognition you begin the never ending process of investment and improvement; which essentially means how to keep getting better at this branding strategy by pushing your skills or by investing into tools that will increase your efficiency. For example, if you are an automotive expert who reviews cars on YouTube videos, you may need to invest in better camera equipment, video editing classes or maybe a video production agency over a period of time.
There are many benefits of a personal brand; not only will it suit you to identify with your customer and industry in a crowd, it results in better partnerships and collaborations, boosts business revenues, grants authority and credibility in your line of work and most importantly adds to your value and prestige as a professional.
Hope you liked reading the article! Please hit the button now and get a free Ebook from Kenny Harper of rockmyimage.com called “Rock My Image’s Personal Brand Guide” to champion the cause of building your personal brand strategy.