Coca-Cola, Microsoft, and Amazon are all brands. We’re familiar with their marketing and branding. They have logos, jingles, and a slogan.
Jay-Z. Cher. Bill Clinton.
Regardless of your opinion of any of these people, they all have one thing in common: They are their own personal brands.
So, what if you’re not a CEO or a celebrity? Do you need career branding? Do you need an original personal brand?
Yes. You are your own brand. We are each our own brand in the internet age.
Potential employers will look you up online. If you run your own business, your customers will expect you to have a brand. Even if you’re a freelancer, a writer, an artist, or a mommyblogger, an effective personal branding strategy is crucial.
Building your personal brand is essentially like a company’s reputation. It’s how you convey who you are, what you do, and why someone would want to hire or work with you.
There are lots of things that you can do to create a brand for yourself. If you don’t have time or don’t want to learn to do all of this, you can always hire a personal branding service.
Here are a few steps to creating your unique brand:
You need to understand who you are before you can begin to brand yourself.
Work with friends, family, and coworkers to understand these questions. You need a clear image of who you are, how others perceive you, and most importantly, where you want to be/how you want to be perceived. If you need a great example of what this type of personal definition looks like, take the time to look at Tony Robbins - especially his biography and his personal brand statement.
What do you want people to think of when they think of you? For example, when you think of Coca-Cola, you think of refreshing and thirst-quenching. If you have a freelance career as a designer, you want people to think that you can create the ideal logo or the perfect packaging.
If you’re a law firm and you specialize in family law, your audience will be people considering a divorce. If you’re an athlete, you might specialize in creating motivational videos for your followers. For YouTubers, you might want to network with established channels to build your audience. You need to know whom you’re talking with be able to speak to them directly.
Look at the industry you want to work with. Once you know who your audience is, you’ll know what industry they’re in or their situation. The next step is to talk to those people. Talk to current customers to find out what prompted them to choose you, when they decided they needed to look for someone, and what needs you fill. You can even talk to people who aren’t your direct competitors but are in a similar business. For example, if you branding yourself as a personal chef in New York, talk to a successful restaurant owner in LA to see how they became successful.
Create a short about me page. Most people will only give you a few seconds, especially if they’re powerful and running a whole company. You need to learn how to write your professional biography. Find a way to sell yourself in 30 to 60 seconds.
Networking, in-person and online, is the best way to get your brand out into the world. Personal brands, except for someone like Tony Robbins who has been at it for decades, grow most quickly on a personal level. Start sharing your brand with your past customers, friends, and family. If you’re an app designer, start telling everyone about your personal brand or business so when they’re asked, “Who do you know that can design an app?”, your name is the first thing out of their mouths.
The next level for you is to get more active in looking for customers:
Ask your contacts for referrals and recommendations. A referral will be direct to someone who needs you now. A recommendation is simply a great review. Both of these require one simple act on your part: ask! Ask people to help you grow your brand and business. The power of positive feedback can be very influential.
If you’re building a career portfolio to get a great job, start asking people if they know a company that employs people like you. Those companies might not be hiring right now, but they might be soon. Be ahead of the crowd and start networking with people in that company before they need you.
It’s time to launch your brand to the world. There are a huge number of ways and places to build your brand.
There are always more places to be. Many professions have their own social media sites and networking sites. Find them and share your information and ideas.
Building your own brand is the perfect way to start networking and growing your professional profile.
One of the easiest ways to build a personal brand is to hire a personal branding service. They can do all of the above items and more on your behalf. This is a great option for anyone who’s already working full-time or simply wants to look great online quickly.
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