Up until recently, the average person saw “brand identities” as something exclusive to the business world. However, we have begun learn in recent times that almost anything/anyone can be a brand. From celebrities to political parties and even every day individuals, the increasingly inter-connected world that we live in has ensured that we are more aware of the personal attributes and reputation that each person has. All these and more, combine to create a personal brand.
What is Personal Branding?
Personal branding is the conscious and intentional process of developing and maintaining influence over the public perception by an individual, group or organization as an authority in their industry to elevate their credibility and differentiate themselves from their competitors.
The term “personal branding” wasn’t in existence till 1997 when it was coined by Tom Peters. Peters said “that no matter what industry we work in, or where we live, we’re all CEOs of our own personal brand”, and that means that we must market ourselves just as vigorously as any product or service.
Effective personal branding isn’t about putting on a show, it’s about cultivating the right perceptions just like in professional branding.
Why Personal Branding is Important
Effective personal branding will differentiate you from the competition and allow you to build trust with prospective clients and employers. The following are some of the benefits that personal branding can give you:
Personal branding boosts your credibility: It serves as a gateway to your business. When connecting with potential customers or members of industry, you connect on a more personal level instead of jumping right into marketing your company band. This can improve your business relationships and earn you more credibility when you build a lasting impression on those you come into contact with both online and offline.
It builds Confidence: You will also gain confidence while developing your personal brand and this confidence will come from your positive qualities and strengths that you share publicly.
Personal branding creates room for Authenticity: Personal branding helps you be authentic and showcase what you can do for your customers and potential customers. It also helps you to promote your strengths and be honest about your weaknesses.
How to Create a Personal Branding Strategy in 9 Steps
A personal branding strategy is a plan to take your reputation and career from relative obscurity to high visibility. For starters, the following steps will be of great help;
Identify and narrow down your niche: Knowing who you want your audience to be, and who you’ll be targeting your brand to, will give you higher engagement. When branding, think of what you are most passionate about and what comes naturally to you. Once you identify that ability, make it your niche. Then next, you should narrow down your niche to address a specific target audience.
Create a Mini-Manifesto around your brand: Establish a culture around your brand by creating a mini-manifesto. This will list down all the values, mission and vision of your industry in a document. It will also help fellow members of your industry self-identify with your values and be magnetically pulled towards your brand.
Create a strategic biography: If your audience is impressed by your content, they will look into your bio to know more about you. Having a strategic bio beforehand which highlights the single biggest benefit your audience can get from you is an added advantage.
Your profile picture should be a headshot: Improve the way people perceive your image by using a headshot where your face covers 60% of the image as your profile picture for all your social media platforms, profiles and business resume.
Have a brand logo: Personal branding is a process which involves both textual and visual content.As such, having a brand logo which includes the fundamental values you stand for is necessary. Treat your logo as more than a piece of design and more as your brand identity; and your customers will treat your logo as such.
Be consistent: Your message must be clear enough when writing content. Content has to be created with your audience in mind, rather than just what you want to create; and you need to make sure what you’re putting out there is adding value for your audience.
Find your platform: Personal branding is not about how many Instagram followers and newsletter subscribers you have and it’s definitely not about being across all social media platforms. Rather, it’s about being more visible in one of them. when you have become visible in one particular social media platform you can grow and expand as your brand and community evolves.
Your content and brand must keep being updated:Experts agree that googling your name to see where you are is a good way to understand how you are progressing. Always educate, update and grow your professional horizons and consider this as your routine and not something you do from time to time. And most importantly, do not let your content or profiles get stale.
You can’t be a brand alone:You need to surround yourself with the best people. When you are the manager, everyone who works for or with you represents your brand and your capabilities. Search for people who like your brand and what you do and form a community with them.
The journey to personal branding is continuous and requires a good amount of consistency and dedication. With the right strategies in place, it makes clearer the way to success.
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