Nowadays, building your personal brand is imperative for a successful professional career, whether you are a marketer, an economist, or a lawyer.
The notion of branding yourself has been taken from the idea of branding products or services, and it's been applied to employees. As technology and society rapidly change, we can trace the impacts of such transformations in many aspects of our daily lives.
In the process of finding the perfect job for yourself or creating an amazing opportunity for your future, you have to focus on what your individual brand is. To do that, we need to follow certain steps and utilize specific tools and mechanisms.
What is personal branding?
Personal branding is the marketing process of applying a specific image, characteristics, values, and benefits to yourself; it's a quick and effective way to give people an idea of what you offer. This process needs to focus on consistency, differentiation, uniqueness, and hard work. Branding yourself is similar to creating e-mail templates; you portray a specific structure, tone, style, etc. that you wish to communicate to your audience.
There are two sides to the process of creating a successful, memorable personal brand identity. The first side is what you want to signify; all the values, traits, and information you wish to be associated with your personal brand. The second side is what your audience and the people coming in contact with them perceive.
Luckily, there are a few steps that you can take to make sure that your personal brand is memorable and unique.
steps to build your personal brand
1. Find Your Dream
A successful personal brand needs to be created and defined based on your own dreams. It's the conceptualization and visualization of your personal aspirations and dreams. You need to think about your life purpose and where you see yourself long-term. Your intended final destination will make your brand identity unique.
A common mistake in personal branding is that we try to "fit in" with what the job market asks for. However, this results in two negative consequences; you force yourself to get rid of parts of your identity to be a perfect match for the market, and you start competing with other people that brand themselves the same way, which creates more competition.
2. Design Your Brand
As soon as we have determined our future destination, the next step is to start designing our brand. Your brand should be different and have its own unique voice to stand out against the competition. It should have a font and palette, which will make recruiters remember you when they think about it.
It's very important to design your own logo to accompany your resume, cover letters, and any other form of digital or physical deliverables. Your logo should be there as your own extension, and when people see the logo again, they'll trace it back to you.
3. Follow A Brand Narrative
Finding your brand and designing it will not be enough. You should go a step further to make your brand tell a story. Storytelling is the process of forming an emotional attachment between your personal brand and your audience. Based on your experiences and values, people will be more inclined to further their relationship with you rather than someone with no story at all.
Your brand narrative should be a strategic one that will give your personal brand everything it needs to be successful and memorable. As such, every interaction you have with others will be an authentic, original experience, based on the connection of your story with theirs.
4. Use Social Media As Brand Platforms
Social media plays a crucial role in our daily lives, as it is the basic means of communicating our thoughts, expressing our feelings, and interacting with others. Thus, social media provides you a great opportunity to constantly express your personal brand narrative by posting your point of view on a variety of topics. Here are some helpful platforms:
- LinkedIn is the major business social networking site, with millions of active users. The algorithm for LinkedIn is totally different than the one for Facebook or Instagram, and it gives you the chance to let your voice be heard. Not only your connections can read your posts, but people who are connected with your first cycle of connections can also find your post on their homepage.
- Facebook, on the other hand, is considered a more personal social networking site. If you wish to use Facebook as another means of branding yourself, then you should do two things. First, you should make your personal profile as private as possible, so if you post something totally random, no one can see it beside your friends. Second, you should create a personal Facebook page, stating yourself as an influencer or motivational speaker in your niche.
- Instagram is another useful social medium, which can be useful when creating a personal brand. You should be careful when choosing pictures to post, being original, consistent on colors, style of imagery, and quotes you share. Also, use Instagram stories to interact with your audience, ask them questions/polls, and make them personal and friendly for everyone.
All channels have their own data and analytics that you can use. LinkedIn provides basic data with your basic account, but if you decide to go premium, then you'll have access to more information and exclusive features. Instagram has its own analytics, providing you details about the basic aspects of your audience's interactions with your posts/stories. Still, you can always use a more efficient Instagram reporting tool for more details to help shape your brand strategy on Instagram.
Regardless of the channel you choose to use, you should try to form your own omnichannel marketing strategy to share your brand. To paraphrase Marie-Antoinette, "give them cake and let them eat it too."
5. Prepare Your Brand Exposure
A common mistake when people engage in personal branding is that they do not engage enough, and they are not prepared to fully engage. By creating your personal brand, you should be ready and able to expose your brand identity in every opportunity possible.
There are times when we prepare ourselves, like when we attend a conference, a seminar, or any other specific event. But is this always the case? Of course not.
Even when we are out with friends, having a drink and having a good time, we might meet people in our industry. It is not the right time to go "all business and no fun," but showing your brand identity can be very beneficial. Expanding your social network is a constant struggle, so don't miss a chance that might help you achieve your goals.
To be precise about brand exposure, your personal brand is not something that you can turn on and off based on your mood. It's like creating a business development strategy that is very well-detailed, target-oriented, and passion-driven. So, make sure that you create a personal brand that you can backup at any time.
Personal branding is similar to any other marketing strategy. There are some steps, guidelines, and principles that you can try to implement, but it's a very personal procedure. You should start by taking small steps to see what works best for you, your personality, and your field of expertise.
Being your own brand manager is not an easy task, as most people find it difficult to promote themselves. Still, it's something that will definitely be rewarding once you accomplish something. Consistency and authenticity are two principles that you should try to follow as your own brand manager.
Until next time, keep branding!
About the Author: Christoforos Zafeiris works as the SEO Copywriter for the email marketing software company Moosend. He has always been eager to change the narrative and influence trends with his words; thus, copywriting is the only natural choice for him. Besides that, he has been an enthusiast of human communication, long walks and emotional storytelling.