Who are you? What are you about? What do people think when they first meet you? These questions are weird to think about, because we do not often stop to consider them. We are more focused on what we are doing, not why we are doing it. The problem is that whether or not we are aware of it we are constantly conveying a sense to others of who we are through our personal brand.
The concept of a personal brand can sound vague and made up, but I will assure you it is not just real, but also crucial to professional success. It can make or break you in the business and marketing world.
Let’s break it down. The word “brand” simply means mark. Your personal brand then is your personal mark. A mark can be either a tangible or intangible impression that is left upon someone or something else as a result of someone or something else.
For instance, you can take this literally and think about the act of branding a cow. While this has a slightly different meaning, the concept is the same. The branding stick leaves a mark or an impression on the cow that will remain on that cow unless altered by some other force. Businesses have brands that convey the meaning and purposes of their organization. They also use their brand to create emotional associations. These associations and impressions can not be changed unless the business actively works to change them.
Similarly, when you meet someone for the first time, an impression is imprinted into their memory about who you are and how they feel about you. Every time you post on social media, develop a new relationship, or publish work, you are building your personal brand.
Therefore, everyone has a personal brand, and if you understand this, then you can focus on how to control what you personal brand is. Often, what people convey to others can be different than what they think they convey or want to convey. What can you do then to make sure that doesn’t happen?
First, think about it. Think about who you are and who you want you be. Then, each time you post, ask yourself if this post is adding to or taking away from your personal brand. Each time you meet someone new, consider what you are wearing and how you can conduct yourself to convey your personal brand.
Second, look the part. A big part of brand is image. Humans do not get logos. They get themselves, a powerful advertising tool in its own right. It is important then that we humans utilize this gift. We have all heard the sayings “dress the part” or “dress for success.”
Thirdly, beyond the day to day, look for opportunities to build your personal brand the same way you build your resume. If you want to convey to the world that you are care about the community, go out of your way to get involved. If you want to convey to the professional industry that you are serious about your career and informed about the industry, make sure to be informed by reading relevant journals and maybe even sharing interesting articles on social media or with colleagues.
Finally, to have a strong brand, you need to have something unique to set you apart. Luckily, you are already a unique and inspiring individual. You just need to spend sometime thinking and tapping into what makes you who you are. Never stop trying to answer that question.