By: TSP Blog | @TSProckstars
While many look at branding as a way companies present themselves in the public eye or a tool to sell a product, branding can also be used by professionals who are navigating their personal and professional life. One of our recent blog posts discussed how to cultivate a dynamic personal brand and provided several great insights into what personal branding is, why it matters, and how to create and manage your own personal career brand.
We wanted to expand on the above to help you to fully understand the connection between developing a consistent personal brand and your reputation (whether it be in a certain industry or among peers). If you are still perplexed on where to begin in building the brand of You, take into consideration our three ground rules for developing your personal brand.
- BE YOU...THE REAL YOU
The first step of building your brand lies in truly understanding yourself as an individual (and professional) and who you aspire to be. Taking a personality test is an excellent way to learn more about your strengths, weaknesses, and personality traits that make you, you. Why do your colleagues enjoy working with you? What makes your friends want to experience life with you? It may be your loyalty, sense of humor, killer presentation skills or perhaps your strong work ethic.
Once you’ve nailed down an understanding of why others like being around you, ask yourself if the way you’re perceived is how you want to be seen. As we mentioned earlier, branding is a discovery process. If you’re an extrovert, you may have the natural ability to stand out in a crowd and show your best self, but for introverts this may be more difficult.
It is also helpful to figure out what makes you stand apart from the crowd. What do you bring to the table that no one else does? Personal branding is all about building a network of people who look to you for certain information, commentary or ideas. Any potential follower will be interested in you because you are offering something they are looking for – most likely something they are not getting from brands they already pursue. No matter what, always remain authentic (one of the leading attributes that attracts customers to a brand) with yourself when building your reputation both in and out of the workplace.
- SHARE ON SOCIAL
We’ve said it before, but its worth saying again: Social is key when building your brand. Our last post stressed how social media is integral to building a strong personal brand, but we wanted to take this thought a step further and share a few tactics into showcasing your online presence.
First and foremost, how do you want your story to be told? Curating genuine and memorable content has become increasingly necessary, especially in the world of branding. If curating content isn’t your strong suit, try reinventing existing content that fits your target audience’s needs. As long as your content is true to you, followers will take notice.
In addition to knowing your story, this includes deciding what social platforms you want to use to promote yourself. If you have killer writing skills, maybe blogging is for you. If writing isn’t your strong suit (but photography is), take to Instagram or another photo-sharing platform.
You don’t have to be on every social platform – instead, start off using those platforms you enjoy using and that can be naturally incorporated into your day-to-day life. We all know the saying, “out of sight, out of mind,” so whatever you do, share often and share consistently. If you don’t have enough time to be consistent in sharing, try planning out your content in advance and scheduling posts ahead of time.
- MAKE CONNECTIONS
While sharing on social is vital in this digital world, it is also important to get out and make connections with peers and meet new people IRL. Part of creating a personal brand is being personable – this means creating real relationships with those around you. When doing so, be sure to stick to your narrative and associate yourself with those who further add to your story.
When choosing who you want to align yourself with, think about what brand connections are available to you. Looking for the right brand fit should start in your own backyard – Forbes recommends the 3 C’s: college, company and colleagues. LinkedIn is a great tool for building relationships with those in your existing network, as well as connecting with new professionals in your industry. Attending reunions, conferences or any other networking opportunity that sparks your interest is another great resource to tap into. From there, you should be able to make strong connections with people who you already have something in common with.
Keep these three tips in mind, along with the fundamentals of personal branding from our previous post, as you develop or live out your brand. While crafting a personal brand may seem daunting, it is a great way to discover who you are, where you want to go and how you can get there (both personally and professionally). No matter what your end goal may be, staying “on brand” is a great way to establish yourself in any area of life and work.