How to Build a Personal Brand
Everyone has a brand in our digital world. When someone says your name during a meeting, what comes to mind? Is it a symbol, slogan, skillset, tone or some other association?
You already have a personal brand identity, but it’s yours to control. If you carefully craft and direct your brand, you’ll build an incredible foundation for your future and leave a lasting impact on those you work with.
Why is a Personal Brand Important?
It’s who you are and your brand identity will follow you throughout your career. It’s the solid foundation and framework of increased income and a strong network of business and peer relationships. That being said, it’s easy to understand why creating a personal brand identity is a proactive way to market yourself to clients and employers.
Time for Introspection
You’ll need to identify your own strengths and weakness. Before you get too involved, be sure to find out what you want to do. Knowing your end goal can make it easier for you understand yourself before you step out onto the professional stage.
People will want to know who you are and what makes you unique. It may seem silly to focus on your strength training regime alongside your IT background, but unique characteristics only serve to humanize you and make your brand more compelling and interesting.
A personal website and popular social media outlets are your first step in having an immediately recognizable brand identity. Make sure you can get the same name across all outlets. Keeping your imagery consistent puts you in control of your online brand and makes your image easier to maintain.
You want to stand out, but you don’t want to flood your outlet and web page with junk either. Every tweet and Instagram share doesn’t have to be direct marketing, but you do want to make sure you’re associating your image with the content that propels you forward; not backward.
As you start building your brand, be sure to help others along the way. Be thankful for those that help you learn and advance yourself. Try offering guest posts to related blogs, or leaving insightful comments on the articles you found rewarding. Over time, these connections can prove immensely valuable as your personal network grows in size and complexity.
You don’t have to limit yourself to your online presence when you network, either. Print up some business cards (keeping in mind your consistent brand image), and visit related professional conferences, groups, and meetups.
All your personal and online connections will strengthen your identity, so keep an eye open for all opportunities to contribute.
It’s not going to be easy, but building a personal brand identity doesn’t have to be hard and the payoff is huge. Build a strong foundation and you can help weather any storms that come your way. However, like yourself, a brand can change and evolve with time. It’s in your best interest to be the one directing that change.