Why should I be worried about my brand?
As business owners and entrepreneurs we understand the importance of our company’s brand, but what about our own brand–what about our personal brand?
Your personal brand is essentially how you market yourself to others. This idea has always been a part of life; from convincing someone to trade baseball cards with you on the playground, to interviewing for your dream job, your personal brand ultimately had one of the biggest impacts on those decisions.
Just like the large, well-branded corporations, people charge a premium for their personal brand. As Coke consistently commands a higher price than it’s generic counterpart, an individual can command a higher price (paycheck) for their brand value. Moreover, personal branding has a compounding effect over time, in that it will make you more visible to your colleagues, other successful people, entrepreneurs, and bosses. With visibility comes opportunity like: better clients, promotions, and new job offers. With opportunity comes a bigger and better brand.
“…an individual can command a higher price (paycheck) for their brand value.”
Just like any brand, as time goes on you will develop a following. This following of people in your corner can give you some stability in today’s ever changing work environment. As your brand becomes more successful you will be in higher and higher demand, this increases your worth and if anything ever happens to your current job, there will be plenty of companies looking to add you to their team.
The book Me 2.0 details four steps to the branding process.
Knowing yourself is the first step to selling yourself. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses is key to being able to communicate them to someone else.
Although you do need to be visible and accessible, you don’t need to employ every marketing medium under the sun to create a solid personal brand. In fact I would argue that if you did your brand would be damaged and perceived an inauthentic.
Look to what leaders and experts are doing in your industry, and that should set the standard to how you brand yourself. This may consist of business cards, a website or blog, resume, portfolio, social network profiles, or any combination. Just remember if you employ several of these resources, your brand needs to be consistent.
This is probably the most important step in branding yourself. After you created your competitive advantage, you need to let people know. Attending networking events, writing blog or guest blog articles, commenting on blogs, and joining social networking groups will help position yourself in front of your target audience.
As you change, grow, and move forward in your career, your image needs to represent the current “brand of [insert name here]”. Just like you are not perceived the same way as you did when you were 15 (at least I hope not), you want your brand to be an accurate representation of today’s product.
Personal branding is essential to your personal success, and if you do not brand yourself someone will do it for you. By investing in yourself you will further your career, create competitive advantage, and create a strong network of people rooting for your success.