These last few years have seen a surge in the business of personal branding.
Entrepreneurs carved out unique niches, small businesses grew, while other professionals and reengineered, recreated, or rebooted their careers.
However, for others, there was still a gap between where they were and where they wanted to be.
Employees desired a promotion, corporations desired devotion from their employees, and students all around the country unsuccessfully entered the job market.
Many of these people decided to take a step to the side and make some time to understand their personal brand or help their employees connect their personal brand to the corporate brand.
And many others watched those people and thought, “What the heck are they doing?”
What is personal branding—and why it matters
A personal brand is a focused effort in positioning yourself to be seen the way you want to be seen; to help others get to the “true you” from the get-go.
Your personal brand can help you stand out amongst the crowd, whether you’re a solopreneur building a business, a recent grad looking to land your dream job, or a CEO looking to build thought leadership.
To some, personal branding may sound a bit fluffy or sugar-coated. 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 it works. I’m not talking about self-promotion, either.
The 3 phases of building a personal brand
Building a personal brand consists of 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: What makes you, “you”?
- Understanding your personal brand: How do other people experience your presence and your strengths?
- Utilizing your personal brand: How can building your personal brand set you apart—and set you up for success?
When you’re aligned with your personal brand, living authentically and feeling in control of your own path forward is the end result.
This is a very powerful outcome for many people. It’s like taking a very long look in the mirror, asking yourself lots of questions, working through the answers with a guide, and realizing what will make you happy, satisfied, and fulfilled in your life—all while you’re just being yourself.
Not bad for a few months and a few bucks!
Is personal branding self-promotion?
There is nothing self-promotional about personal branding, yet many often confuse the two.
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?
Instead, personal branding—when done intentionally—allows you to be your fullest self and attract people who are seeking your unique strengths and ethos.
Why personal branding works
Think about people like Oprah, Lady Gaga, Sarah Palin and Bill Gates and the emotions they evoke 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, celebrities in fact—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’s brand, we can dissect the principles of branding by looking at them as examples.
Start building your personal brand (with a free resource!)
Whether you’re starting from scratch or want to refine your personal brand, there’s no better time to start than now.
If you’re interested in gaining a better understanding of how you’re perceived as a brand, take the free version of the Reach 360 web assessment.
We use an advanced version of the 360 assessment with clients as part of our Personal Branding Process.
What do you think of personal branding? I’d love to hear your thoughts.