By Katauna Loeuy, Marketing Intern at Heinz Marketing
In a world of digital media where you can search anyone on the internet within the matter of a few seconds, it’s crucial to have a developed profile that truly embodies how you want to be seen. Personal branding is important in my life because it helps me differentiate myself from other students, interns, and people in general throughout my personal and professional career.
What is Personal Branding?
New studies have proven it takes less than 30 seconds to make a positive first impression. The way you present and promote yourself to the world along with how others perceive you all support this notion. Personal branding includes a unique combination of your beliefs, experiences, and overall story of who you are that differentiates you from others. Your brand is your reputation, especially as many individuals express this to be the foundation of their career.
Benefits of Personal Branding
While building a strong personal brand can take much time and effort, the impact reaps great benefits for your future. This is especially true online if people don’t know you personally. The presentation you showcase to the world is how you will be marketed by acquaintances or professionals. Personal branding is also imperative in separating yourself from the individuals you work for or with and particularly in B2B marketing.
Developing a personal brand builds credibility as you can clearly establish yourself in the workplace. As you introduce yourself, people are later able to recognize you based on the identified character you have presented in your external environment which promotes visibility. This is helpful in marketing and sales as people will automatically have a better idea of who you are, so clients will be more inclined to trust and do business with you.
Additionally, personal branding leads to more opportunities as you strategically separate yourself from the competition. Your professional character helps build your network which can open the potential for future promotions when people know who you are. As you present yourself outside of your current job, you can also attract other opportunities for overall career advancement if you are able to get your name out there with your personality and story attached to it.
Lastly, creating a personal brand based on your genuine experiences, interests, and values promotes authenticity. Clients want to do business with people they truly trust, and personal branding helps generate an idea of self-awareness as to who you are. Your personal brand is the image you present within the workplace and beyond. All in all, it’s crucial to share your goals, passions, skills, and holistic self as you present yourself to the world for personal and professional rewards.
How to Create your Personal Brand
There is no right or wrong way to build your personal brand, however, here are some tips to make the process easier and give you an idea of how to get started!
1. Understand yourself – The first step to creating your personal brand is to identify what your current brand is. Talk to people close to you to help understand how you are perceived from an outside perspective or write out why you think this is based on common actions, thoughts, and patterns.
2. Identify who you want to be – From understanding what your current brand is, it’s important to break down what elements you would like to carry into your new brand and what you would like to change. There may be some traits that you perceive yourself to have that aren’t reflected externally, so this would be the perfect time to note this down and start brainstorming how you can exude this into your external space. You also want to generate any other ideas of who you want to be including your goals, skills, values, and more along with how you want this to be perceived by others to generate a strong personal brand.
3. Do your research – Now that you have a better idea of what you want your personal brand to look like, it’s time to conduct research on how this can be achieved. Be sure to split up each individual aspiration into singular goals or intentions, then start researching on actions, complements, and ideas on how this can be developed or learned. For example, if a skill you hope to acquire is becoming a stronger writer, you can look up how to do this or common habits that strong writers do to place yourself in the position of someone who already possesses this quality.
4. Choose a niche – While having many goals about transforming your person brand is exciting and expansive, it’s very important to try and categorize many of these intentions into a specific niche for easier recognition. We can have various personal qualities or interests as this helps curate our unique selves, however it’s crucial to find certain elements of your brand that relate to one another. These traits can be grouped together for a better understanding of how to be presented in an organized way. It’s also helpful to prioritize and rank the elements of your personal brand based on what’s most important for you to relay in the outer world whether that be branding yourself as a great salesperson or a creative marketer.
5. Find inspiration – Once you have identified your niche and what you want your personal brand to be, it can be helpful to find inspiration and reference examples of what this looks like. You could have one individual whose entire personal brand you admire and use for inspiration, or your vision could be broken up into various people for different elements of your intended brand.
6. Develop a strategy – Similar to how you would create a go-to-market plan for your company or client, it’s time to develop a marketing strategy for yourself and your new personal brand. If you’ve followed the previously listed tips, then you have everything you need to build a plan and timeline into smaller, achievable goals that will become your personal brand overtime.
7. Networking – After you’ve created a strategy for your personal brand, you can start putting it into practice with networking. Whether this is done by being active on Linked In or attending physical events to meet new professionals, networking is a powerful way to help effectively build your brand. This is how the external world can meet this new brand you have developed for yourself and the more people you meet, the more the word spreads about who you are and what you are capable of.
8. Storytelling – The way you communicate your personal brand can make or break if the perception was executed properly. It’s imperative to have a rough format of verbiage or copy you follow when introducing yourself that can support your personal brand. Storytelling is the perfect technique as it helps people digest information better while also being more organized and interesting. This method is easier for you, the communicator, to follow as well since it’s authentic and memorable.
9. Consistency – One of the key aspects to building a strong personal brand is to be consistent with your efforts. If you brand yourself as striving to be one of the top digital marketers of your agency but claim to specialize in sales management the next day with no connection or relation, this can confuse. After you identify your brand and develop your strategy, execute it consistently through your communication to make it stick.
10. Set goals – The ultimate goal as a result of this article and all of these steps is to develop a personal brand that is a direct reflection of your experiences, story, and values along with being aligned with your future aspirations. Since this is such a grand focus, breaking it up into smaller tasks and pieces will be helpful for long-term success.
11. Measure success – In order to track progress and ensure your plan is working, be sure to define specific metrics you intend to use in order to measure the success of varying aspects of your strategy. This could be through testing yourself on certain skills you’re hoping to develop and getting certified, or even through asking your peers for direct feedback on how they perceive a certain quality of your brand. While this may look different for each element, it can be helpful in tracking how well your plan is going overtime.
12. Be yourself – The most important tip in this process of personal branding is to ensure you are being authentic to curate a specific image to the public. All of the qualities and plans you develop for your brand should include parts of your personality, beliefs, values, experiences, story, as well as what qualities you hope to gain in the future along with your goals and intentions. Your personal brand might be different from the truest version of yourself, but it should still relate to who you are and how you want the world to perceive you.
Are you ready to develop your personal brand? Let us know what worked well and what didn’t in the comments.