These last few years have certainly seen a surge in the business of personal branding.
People started businesses, grew businesses, and reengineered, recreated or rebooted their careers. Many desired a promotion, corporations desired devotion from their employees and students all around the country entered the job market with trepidation as they try to figure out ways to stand out.
The one thing that helped them all for various reasons? Building their personal brands.
To some, personal branding may sound a bit fluffy or sugar-coated and I admit that before I put up my own shingle declaring myself a “personal brand strategist,” I too was a skeptic. But I’m here to tell you that branding yourself works. It’s so much more than self-promotion—which can often be self-centered and based on your own self-interests—it’s about differentiating yourself in a way that can help others (as well as yourself!).
How to figure out your Personal Brand
Personal branding is a process that includes self-analysis, self-assessment and an increase in awareness of how others perceive us as a brand. There are 3 phases to the personal branding process I use–unearthing your personal brand, understanding it and utilizing it.
At the end of all those “u” words you can differentiate yourself from others–coworkers, peers and even competitors (if you’re a business owner). You get very clear on who you are, what you stand for, what your strengths are, what your brand attributes are, your goals–basically, what makes you, YOU.
The end result of getting clarity around your personal brand is living in authenticity consistently, in all the various circles of your life from friends and family, to coworkers and peers. That, my friend, is a very powerful outcome. It’s like taking a long look in the mirror, asking yourself lots of questions, working through the answers and figuring out what will make you happy, satisfied and fulfilled in your life. When the answers lead you to gain an ultimate understanding of yourself so you can just be more you, it’s like you hit the good life lotto!
How is self-promotion different?
There is nothing self-promotional about personal branding yet many often confuse the two. I can’t tell you how many people have said to me, “I’m an introvert and I’m not comfortable promoting myself.” To which I answer, “don’t worry, I am too.”
Self-promotion is driven by ego and the need to be noticed. In fact, I think self-promotion can damage your personal brand. We all know people who self promote and the type of feelings they evoke within us. It’s not exactly the person you’re inviting to lunch, right?
Personal Branding–it works!
Think about people like Donald Trump, Lady Gaga, Oprah, Bill Gates–they evoke emotion in us. We immediately feel something about them, use attributes to describe them and associate images or words to them. They are not only people, but they are also brands. Regardless of what you think of them, you know them and not because they self-promote but because you know what differentiates them and what they stand for.
While it may be hard to relate to a celebrity, you can analyze their brands and figure out what they stand for by using them as examples.
Then, use some of those characteristics (the ones that feel true to you, of course!) in developing your own brand.
The thing about personal branding is, as long as you’re focusing on the unique traits about you that are positive, there’s no to do it wrong. Be bold about uncovering the things that make you unique and help you add value to the world in your own special way, then showcase them in ways that feel good to you. Do it consistently and share it freely, and you’ll develop a personal brand that you’re known for and that sets you apart.The thing about personal branding is, as long as you’re focusing on the unique traits about you that are positive, there’s no to do it wrong. Read more: Click To Tweet
Once your personal brand takes hold, any skepticism around branding will start to fade away—and sharing your brand will feel more and more natural because it’s all uniquely yours!
P.S. If you’re interested in getting a better understanding of how you’re perceived as a brand, you can take the free version of the Personal Brand 360 Assessment. The assessment is easy to use and the responses are enlightening. Enjoy!