Personally and professionally, you have a brand – whether you know it or whether you like it or not! Creating a personal brand for yourself is important whether you’re hoping to become a social influencer or you simply want to make a good impression on your bosses and potential employers.
Here are five suggestions for choosing just the right personal brand for you:
- Choose a brand that’s authentic. If you would like to present yourself as a dynamo, but you’re excessively introverted, you won’t be able to pull that off. It will be too hard for you to consistently behave in a way that doesn’t come naturally to you, if at all.
- Choose a brand that says, “I’m successful.” Maybe you’re not at the top of your field yet. Maybe you don’t even have a job yet in that field. Still, your brand should say you’re already there – kind of like the old adage, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” And YES! This applies to Zoom calls too!
- Choose a brand that will sell the message you want others to receive from you. I work in the sales field, so believe me when I say that your personal brand is the thing that will sell you to others: to potential employers; to bosses and teammates at work; and to clients, teachers and acquaintances who are in a position to write letters of recommendation for you or refer you and your company to their colleagues. Make a plan that will serve as a roadmap for getting what you want.
- Choose a brand that will position you to help others. Branding is all about selling yourself. And one thing I know for sure is that people are most likely to buy what you’re selling if there’s something in it for them. What does your brand offer others?
- Choose a brand that you believe you will stick with. It’s not unheard of for a politician to switch to the other party or to flip-flop on an issue. It’s not impossible for a stockbroker to become a cooking and decorating maven (Martha Stewart) or for a figure skater to switch to fashion design (Vera Wang) or for a college professor to move to a career in sales and consulting (me).
So as you choose your brand now, carefully consider if this is what you want for the long haul. In today’s media age, branding involves a significant investment of time—and perhaps even money—in creating and curating a social media presence, developing a style or a look for yourself and your media, and steeping yourself in the language, trends, history and background of the world you’re building your brand around.