A brand is what separates one thing from another. Your personal brand is all about you, not a corporation or someone else’s product or service brand. Shelcy V. Joseph, writing for Forbes, describes it as an “Affirmation of who you are and what you love to do.” Developing your personal brand allows you to self-manage your reputation, to be intentional about how you present yourself, to take charge of shaping your image online and in-person. It is a proactive way of controlling your career development and professional perception of you.
When developing your personal brand, authenticity is key. Build your brand on true strengths to showcase your best self. As the writers at Kajabi put it, building your personal brand is, “Curating aspects of your own personality and presenting yourself in the best possible light to achieve your business goals.”
What it does for you
Developing your personal brand helps define who you are as well as the type of person you want to be. It helps you understand your strengths and weaknesses and provides a focus for development. While digging into challenge areas is often daunting, know that the task of outlining your strengths and positive qualities can boost your confidence in who you are as a professional.
It helps you determine your professional value. Remember that your value is based on the talents you bring to a situation, not your job title. Think of your worth in terms of what your employer would lose in missed opportunities without you on the team.
The process helps you ascertain what you are good at but don’t forget that just because you are good at something doesn’t mean you like doing it. The process also should help you figure out how you want to make a living. Ideally, you will find the overlap between talent and enjoyment. The exercise of determining all of this also helps you become more aware of how you present yourself to others, become more identifiable, and grows your online reach.
How you build
If you can show something instead of telling – do it. Create a portfolio of vivid images showcasing your talents and past work. Market yourself and your experiences, not your jobs. Let others speak to your value. Incorporate testimonials from people in your professional network that highlight your strengths and contributions to your industry. Continuously engage in professional development. This not only provides you with networking opportunities, but it also shows your commitment to staying up-to-date within your field.
Find and establish your voice, then present it consistently. Establish your core values, interests and passions. Know what makes you happy. Identify your emotional appeal – tap into your true personality, not who you think you should be. Provide value – on your website, your social media profiles, and through your interactions with others. Oh, and while you are at it, clean up all of your online profiles – if it is on the web, it will be viewed, and often by those you aren’t expecting! Everything you put into the public domain should be classy and consistent.
Explain why you have become the person you are – what motivates you, what drives you to success, and from where you derive your energy.
Create and communicate clear professional intentions – your value proposition. Tells what it is you do best and the people whose talents and skills will best serve. For example, “I help ingenue educators find their voice as a teacher, establish their classroom strengths, and to use those strengths to grow their challenge areas.”
Communicate with the intention of creating an emotional connection with your target audience. Know and communicate your UNIQUE value proposition. What qualifications or experiences make you different? Make you stand out from others? Share your distinctive skill set and unique talents to separate yourself from others. Clearly communicate what you are looking to achieve and how you will do it – your talents, who they will help, and how they will help.
Establish yourself as a thought leader, an expert in your field. Share your track record of experience. Let people see the application of your foundational values. Provide specific examples of real-life situations in which you provided value.
Developing your personal brand helps you build connections not only in your field but also in different fields. It allows you to reach beyond your current career area. Your choice of studies, first, or even second job field needn’t limit where you utilize your skill-set and talents.
It helps you network to become part of a cohort of influencers with shared interests and values. Remember that your target audience is bigger than potential customers. It is your tribe – a community of people who will support you. Establish your public persona for them. And know that building your personal brand also helps your current employer. As you network you will make new connections that are mutually beneficial.
Your personal brand follows you throughout your career. It’s who you are as a professional, not as an employee. Skills and talents are both to be celebrated as you build your personal brand. The sum of these parts is what makes you who you are as a professional. Attract attention on social media, drive traffic to your website, and then offer an amazing value to your readers.
The staff at Strategy Driven Marketing would love to help you establish your brand or assist with any of your digital design and marketing needs. Contact us today.