Personal branding – do you need it?
“What is personal branding? Personal branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room” – Jeff Bezos, the creator of Amazon and one of the richest people on Earth is believed to have said. Is there a grain of truth to this? What are the priorities in personal branding building? How to monitor your progress? And – is ‘personal branding’ nothing more than a good old “being decent”?
Your name, throughout your entire life, is associated with competencies and values, traits and… a large number small events. Though it may be surprising, you actually have quite a lot of influence on it, and all those things combined make up your personal and professional image, your personal brand that you build throughout your entire life. And as far as branding is concerned – it is always good to create a strategy, because whether you like it or not, you create your brand all the time.
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Personal branding goals
Start with setting a goal. Do you want to make your name as an online marketing guru? Perhaps you’d rather be an authority in HR or an investment fund creator, or maybe an IT expert? Make sure that apart from skills you have in these areas, you also feel the constant urge to continuously learn and gain new experiences. This trait is indispensable, as personal branding never stops.
Target groups and tactics
Determine the audience that you want your message to reach, and then see what Google says about you. You’re not an “organic search result star” yet? Good! This means that the growth potential of your personal branding is through the roof! What means of reaching your goals would you choose? To have an expert blog? To appear at industry events? To publish in the specialist industry media? To have your own podcast or a YouTube channel?
Channels and tools
Each tool and channel which allows the world (your audience) to see your competences is okay, as long as it is used consciously, purposefully, and regularly. It is particularly important when you use the social media to work on your personal branding. Do you share entries from your blog on Facebook? Do you charm your fellow industry experts on LinkedIn? Great, just remember that regularity and consistency of declaring your opinions and attitudes is as important as the insights their provide.
Where to start?
Do you like checklists? They are an invaluable tool for personal branding. The following questions may come in handy in realization of your personal branding strategy:
- Who am I today?
- What is my mission, my vision and my values?
- What do I want to achieve in a month, a quarter, a year, two years?
- What are my goals concerning my image, development, professional or business activity?
- What makes me stand out as an expert?
- What do I know about my personal image?
- What is my style and looks?
- To what extent do I control my body language?
- How do I write, talk and do public speaking?
- Am I comfortable speaking to the camera?
- What is my hallmark?
- What is my extraprofessional passion?
- Who are the people in my professional environment, and do they motivate me to develop?
- What do I do to take care of my development?
- How often do I do something for my personal development?
- How often do I do anything for the needy?
- What can I talk about for hours and hours?
- What can I present on an academic level, but also on a basic level?
- What does my online identity look like?
- What do my social media profiles look like?
- Are they consistent, authentic and useful (or at least funny)?
- What do I use them for? Do they support my desired image?
- What content do I want to be associated with?
- What do I do to gather knowledge and inspiration sources, to create my brand as a professional?
- How can my activities help others?
Personal Brand Audit
Regularly come back to the questions above and “audit” your personal branding – at least once a year. You can use KPIs to track your progress. Of course you don’t have to state them as “X new leads per quarter” or “Y active clients by the end of the year.” You should try to make them as specific as possible, though. At your next professional image audit you will know if you are going in the right direction or not. Because right now you know the answer to question form the title, don’t you?
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