Bernard Kelvin Clive of The No Nonsense Guide to Personal Branding for Career Success once wrote that personal branding is the combination of skills and talents to create significance by forming “an impression, a perception and a reputation in the minds of others.”
Many people live their entire lives never recognizing their full potential, their purpose or worse – neither. Personal branding is a culmination of how you perceive yourself and how you want others to perceive you.
Building an effective and stable personal brand takes time and dedication and is important in today’s society for establishing who you are and what you bring to the table in your particular market.
I’ve established five important factors to consider when building a personal brand and why they are important.
- Clearly identify yourself to others.
Who do you want to be? What do you want to be known for? These are difficult questions, but once you’ve identified the answers for yourself, you can begin to identify the brand you want to build. Choose a character trait that combines your abilities with your beliefs. Whether that’s aggressive or passionate or whatever it may be. Use that trait to drive the character you want people to recognize when they think of your brand and what it stands for.
- Manifest your personal growth.
Personal brands, much like corporate brands, evolve with time and development. The key factor in manifesting your personal growth is to evaluate where you began and set personal goals for yourself to measure where you are headed in the future. A demonstration of your personal growth builds credibility of your skills and reliability of your personal character in the minds of others.
- Build a reliable reputation.
Perhaps the most important aspect of building a personal brand is getting people to buy into who you are and what you stand for as an individual. A reliable reputation means the perception others have of you isn’t swayed from one person to the next. People associate your professional abilities and your personal values as one unit, creating one reputation. The reliable part is up to you. How you build that unit defines the association people have in their minds of your brand. Building a reliable brand is useful for credibility with future employers, colleagues or even friends. Be someone you’re proud of and someone that you would surround yourself with.
- Understand your value and promote your uniqueness.
It’s been said to me a hundred times – you know when people ask you about the “it” factor. That’s what you have to find with your personal brand. What’s your “it” factor? What makes you shine? What makes you different? What makes you better? Understanding your strengths and weaknesses is half the battle. When establishing a credible personal brand that people want to buy into, you have to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and use them both to your advantage. But, you may ask, “How can I use weaknesses to my advantage?” Turn them into strengths. Educate yourself on your weaknesses and use them as a defense to make yourself more marketable and to continue learning in your field every day. If you can’t write press releases well, read a couple that have been sent out to different media outlets and write a few samples of your own that you can give to a colleague to edit for practice. Play on your strengths – you have them for a reason. Give yourself credit where credit is due, and use your strengths as a marketing strategy to promote your uniqueness – your “it” factor.
- You are your brand’s voice.
At the end of the day, brands are effective in communicating professionalism and responsibility. They also need to have the individuality of a human voice. Aside from the etiquette of branding and how it should be used in real-world settings, give your brand a voice that has your personality and your own special touch. Whether you do this with a vibrant logo or you build an app that intertwines your unique rhythm with your professional capabilities, remember to be yourself. Like Dr. Seuss said, “There is no one alive who is youer than you.”