Personal brand – what do you want to be known for?
Short on time? Our video has the highlights
When it comes to personal branding, it could be argued that it’s the opposite of branding a business. In many respects, developing branding for a business is about giving the brand itself human attributes so it has a life of its own with values and personality.
Conversely with personal brands, it’s all about building a brand around a living, breathing human and who they are. Here’s an overview of what we think are the most important things to do when developing your personal brand.
Personal brand action one – think about who you are
Start with what you want to be known for. How do you want people in your target audience to think of you and in turn describe you to others? Consider it in terms of what type of a reputation you want. This is your chance to really position yourself as an expert in a particular area.
It can be easy to take who you are and what you do for granted. After all, you’re used to being you. This is where asking others for their perspective can really help.
The main things to think about are:
- How would you/others describe your personality?
Creative and energetic is quite different to considered and detailed. You can therefore see how they could be the key building blocks of a personal brand for an event planner and a business consultant respectively.
- What are your values?
This is where there is likely to be considerable crossover between the professional and the personal you. For example, if you’re achievement focused and you love getting things done when you’re working, you could very well be the sort of person who loves nothing more than a big adventure exploring the world when you’re on holiday.
- And finally, what’s your personal brand purpose?
As human beings, we are by definition complex creatures. This is where a personal brand is quite different to a business brand, which is developed from a value proposition. That said, it’s still important to identity a brand purpose, which clearly communicates what you’re all about and provides a real focus for what you do.
Through taking a structured approach, getting the views of other people and really focusing on who you are, you’ll start to have the basis of your personal brand.
Personal brand action two – just be your authentic self
Once you’ve got the basis of your personal brand, the next step is to think about how you’re going to start communicating it. This is where it’s all about living it rather than saying it.
Describing this as just be your authentic self might sound like advice from a self-help book, but it’s true. It’s easy to spot someone who’s trying to be something they’re not and it’s because they’re not being themselves.
You can only be you and just as with business brands, you’ll have a target audience who you’ll appeal to. It’s not about pleasing everybody because then you’ll lose who you actually are and become so generic that you don’t stand for anything.
When thinking about authenticity, here’s a few things to consider:
- What do you really love?
Bring in a little bit of who you are personally. You’re a lot more than you the professional. It’s fair to say that the most interesting people are a mix of their work and personal life.
- It’s not about perfection!
We live in a world of filtered Instagram perfection, but we all know it’s not real life. Showing a little vulnerability, as long as you’re comfortable with what you’re revealing, is all the more human. It helps other people to identify and connect with you.
- You’ve now got a compass
Your personal brand will help guide you through different decisions and challenges because we know that at times things can get a little tricky. If you know something is in contrast to what you stand for, it’s unlikely to be the right thing for you.
If you think of the people you really admire, you’re likely to find that they’ve got a really strong sense of who they are and what’s important to them. In other words, they know what their personal brand is.
Personal brand action three – see the bigger picture
Brands don’t live in isolation and so thinking about what else is happening out there can be really helpful. It’s most likely that your personal brand is linked to a business (whether that be your own or the business you work for) or a side project. Given this, it’s important that you think about how the two interact with each other.
If you have a business or side project, you want the two brands to work side-by-side and also in their own right. You want them to be similar enough that they work in conjunction with each other. At the same time, you also want them to be different enough that they’re recognisable.
If you’re developing a personal brand to further progress in your career, think about what the business you work for says about your personal brand. Then link this to the next step you want to take and the businesses you’d love to work for.
Once you’ve worked through this, the next step is to start building your own bigger picture by getting known for what you want to be known for.
There are lots of things you could be doing:
- Speaking opportunities
Giving talks or presentations at industry events can be a great way to raise your profile. This is especially true if you’ve got something intriguing to talk about and lots of great examples to throw into the mix.
- Developing your own content
You could create your own blog, put out regular videos or even record your own regular podcast. The key here is to have a particular focus and build a whole host of content around it.
Think about industry publications that could be interested in articles you write. This could work really well if you have an unusual point of view, which will stand out and in turn add real value to the publication.
As you start building a reputation and get feedback from people, you’ll find out more about what’s working and what could do with some tweaks.
Your personal brand will evolve and change over time. This is perhaps the most important thing as it will help you to stay interesting and relevant. It will also give you the opportunity to respond to changes in technology, culture and the wider world.
Personal brand – a quick summary
As usual, we’ve boiled down this Marketing Nugget on personal brand to just three bullet points, which are easy to digest:
- Think about who you are – consider your personality and values, ask others for their perspective and define your brand purpose, which is essentially your main focus.
- Just be your authentic self – use who you are to guide your decisions, show some of who you are personally and be comfortable with a little vulnerability.
- Don’t forget the bigger picture – consider the other brands your personal brand is linked to and what opportunities do you have to build your reputation.
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