What do you want to be famous for?
When we think of brands, we often think of businesses. Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Apple – iconic household names that we encounter every day. However, we often overlook the opportunity to apply the same principles that these and other successful brands use to set themselves apart in our own lives.
Companies cultivate memorable brands not just with logos and catchy slogans, but also through consistent behaviour and engagement with their target markets. Take Apple for example, they are known for being one step ahead of the competition – releasing new, innovative and desirable products. McDonald’s are known for their consistency – it doesn’t matter whether you visit a McDonald’s in Japan or India, you’re always going to have a similar experience. And since 1886 Coca-Cola have articulated their core brand messages of happiness, togetherness and refreshment. These brands have all walked the walk and talked the talk, implementing and communicating their core brand messages for decades.
According to the Personal Branding Survey, 90% of participants indicated that personal branding skills would be imperative to their career advancement. However, 58% described their own personal brand as average or below average and only 5% considered their personal brand as excellent. So why is it so important to cultivate your personal brand?
Creating and communicating a personal brand requires effective planning, careful communication and consistent engagement. Here are some tips to getting started on building your personal brand:
1. Identify your strengths
Breakaway from your job title or role and think about what you might do differently or more effectively than others. In a situation where you are truly using your strengths, your approach will be unique.
Determine a ‘theme’ for yourself and develop a narrative for your brand. People such as Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Eminem, and Barack Obama all understood the importance of a solid brand narrative. Each name evokes a very particular set of images, and their narratives are well known and highly relatable and distinct.
2. Be consistent
Is your brand identity consistent across all visual elements that your consumers are exposed to?Once you have established your strengths, perfect them and consistently live up to them. It is the consistency that builds trust, which is the foundation for loyalty and promotion. Once you have built a reputation through consistent delivery of your brand, you can then evolve and expand.
3. Be visible and accessible
Networking is free, most of the time. Rather than hiding in your office all day, have a break from the computer and create lasting impressions with like-minded individuals. Attending the appropriate events will not only increase your industry knowledge and contact base but also promote your brand.
Be open to communication and easy to access through a variety of channels, including direct communication and through social media.
4. Promote your brand on social media
Facebook and LinkedIn both offer great opportunities to join focused groups on specific topics or industries. These platforms allow you to share experiences and build authority around your personal brand. Keeping the content consistent, engaging regularly and diversifying your content are all valuable strategies to endorse your trademark.
Make your LinkedIn and other social media profiles professional and open to the public for incoming messages. The more visible and accessible you make yourself, the stronger your personal brand will become.
5. Grow your brand persona
At first, the characteristics of consistency and innovation seem to contradict one another. In fact, they work together to allow for the continued growth and development of your personal brand. But consistency doesn’t mean the roles you perform or the projects you deliver have to stay the same. With a solid foundation and established values, complemented by responsiveness to change, your brand will evolve to better serve your consumers.
It is an unavoidable truth that we all already have a personal brand. However, we have the invaluable opportunity to cultivate and grow those brands to enhance our best qualities and make meaningful advancements in our professional and personal endeavours. So take control now and work towards building a personal brand that differentiates and represents the best version of you. After all, you are definitely worth the investment.