Whether you’re running a successful business or just starting the job hunt, building a personal brand is critical to your career. It’s the best way to let others know who you are, and it will help them better identify your interests and skills. Here are some tips for creating your personal brand!
Create a personal brand statement.
I’ll use myself as an example. Some might think that my personal brand statement is built around business or being an entrepreneur. Not so. My personal brand isn’t even built around marketing! I want to be known as an expert in trends and pop culture. Your personal brand statement should be one simple sentence. And people should immediately understand it. Had I just simply allowed myself to only ride in the CEO lane or marketing lane, I would have never written the Mackenzie Blue series. But because I was passionate about pop culture, and had built that personal brand for myself, HarperCollins felt comfortable enough to invest in my series. Just because you’re an accountant doesn’t mean that your brand has to be solely focused on accounting. Maybe your overall brand is personal finance. Your first step must be to figure out what you stand for, and how far your brand extends. And remember, brand extensions must be logical. People can smell a fake! You have to be specific about your capabilities. People will respect you much more in the end.
Grow Your Brand.
Once you figure out what your brand is, you must use every tool available to you to grow it. I’ve previously shared tips on growing your personal network, and this is an important element of growing your overall brand. But it’s imperative that you build a network of people who can use your services. If you’re employed, this also applies to you. Are you managing your relationships up and down and across the ladder? All of these elements are important. How are you appropriately using Twitter and Tumblr and similar resources to grow your business? This is vitally important to the success of your brand. If you own a cleaning company, are you tweeting cleaning tips, sending out email newsletters with “Spring Cleaning” guides, and answering questions via Formspring? Yes, it’s a lot of work, but no one send growing a brand was easy!
You have to embody your brand. If my friends are looking for a new product, I’m usually their first call. It could be anything from the best new cleanser to new film. They know that it’s my “thing,” and they know I’ll have an answer. Are you the person people call when they’re entertaining guests at their house? The one they call for financial advice? You are living a brand, and you need to make sure that it’s on message. In this tough economy, when people have jobs available, you want to make sure your personal brand is so well developed, you’re the one they call. How many of us would dare try a hair stylist whose hair looks horrible? This goes for the financial planner whose finances are in shambles and the graphic designer with a horrible business card. You must live your brand every day in every way. And eventually, it will get easier. For me, 15 years into brand building, people definitely understand my brand. I am always adding appropriate extensions, updating, and upgrading my brand, but it’s essentially the same brand I launched 15 years ago.