When we think of branding, it’s often business branding we imagine and how to build our brand to achieve recognition and results. However, it goes much deeper than that. At the core of any business brand there are layers of branding. In large organisations, that extends from the Board, right through to the people who work there and essentially our perception of that brand is a mix of what marketing tells us and what our personal experiences, emotions and feelings tell us.
What I’d like you to think about today is Personal Branding, that’s the thing that sets each of us apart from our competitors and colleagues.
Personal Branding has so many elements, both tangible and intangible, yet it really influences who buys from us, who resonates with what we’re saying and how we’re perceived. It can encompass everything from what we wear, our personal presentation, the way we articulate ourselves to our CV, the persona we present online and how we interact with social media. All those things impact our personal brand and how others perceive us.
So what can you do to get ahead of the game and really consolidate your Personal Brand? The first thing to think about is how you present yourself, are you trying to fit the corporate mould in a black suit with polished shoes or are you more creative, where having your own fashion sense is more highly regarded? Do you take pride in your appearance each and everyday or are you time poor or more laid back?
There’s no right or wrong, but when it comes to giving yourself the edge in the market, you really need to know ‘your market’ to effectively build your personal brand.
Now let’s think about your CV. It’s the first thing employers see of you when you apply for a role or express interest in a project or other piece of work. As such it is absolutely critical that your CV tells your story, highlights your experience and achievements and sells you into the work you’re hoping to do. If you find you’re not getting through to the interview or initial discussion phase, then it’s time to overhaul this document to ensure you are on brand.
Digital presence and social media are critical pieces of your personal brand. Most of us use social media for a variety of different reasons, so it’s time to work out the channels you use for personal communication and the ones you use for business or professional communication. LinkedIn is great for business and professional networking, Facebook is fab for keeping in touch with friends and also has great reach for business and then there’s Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube etc.
Part of building your personal brand is working out how transparent or real you are on social media and how you manage your personal and business affairs. As we all know people ‘check out’ potential clients, employees and business partners online before having an initial discussion, so you really do need to think about what information you’re prepared to share.
If you haven’t done so already, take a step back think about how you want or need to be perceived in the business world and start working towards creating your unique personal brand. Remember too, if you’re running your own small business then you really are part of your business brand and that makes your personal brand so much more important to your success.
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