So why do you need to know how to brand yourself? In today’s world, we are constantly bombarded with personalities, attitudes, opinions, advice and tips, but at the end of the day, who do we trust? Who do we rely on? Who comes to mind when you need help? When breaking things down simply, we trust, we rely and we think of the people with valued credibility that we like and share the most in common with. Street cred is what we used to call it. In today’s world, it’s your personal brand.
What is personal branding?
According to Wikipedia, “Personal branding is the process whereby people and their careers are marked as brands.” And to a certain degree, this is very true, but personal branding goes a lot further than your own professional career. Personal branding is about who you are, what services you offer, your style of business, personality, opinion, hobbies and everything that encompasses you.
What most people tend to forget when developing their personal brand is that this image they are sending out into the world is essentially the first impression others will have of them once they first come across their profile.
Going forward, it is important to ask yourself: who is your target audience and how do you want them to see you?
How to brand yourself
A fun way to begin developing your personal brand is to start with how you view yourself.
Think of 5 words that represent you as a business professional and write them down. Think about why you’ve chosen these words and why you think it’s important for this message to reflect on you for your target audience.
Ask a coworker that has known you for a long time and knows what you do and how you present yourself. Ask them to choose 5 words they believe reflect your character and ask them to write them down.
Ask a coworker you’ve known for a very short while and do the same as you did in step 2.
Now that you have the perspective of a close and new friend, compare their describing words to your own and see how close and/or far the impression you have of yourself has come along. Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you surprised with how your coworkers described you?
- Is your close coworker’s opinion that much different from your new coworker’s?
- Did you find it difficult to do this activity on yourself?
Take the words of your coworker and start brainstorming reasons why they see you this way. Do you like or dislike what they have said? Do you want to change this impression? If you wrote down that you’re organized and your friends didn’t, think of way you can go forward with this personality characteristic clear to others in your day-to-day routine. First impressions are important (as made clear by your new coworker’s words to describe you), but lasting impressions go a long way too (as shown by your close coworker). Now with stage 5 of your reflection process, decide how important it is for you to align these impressions together to come up with the way you want others to see you as. You’re personal brand is your largest and most important asset and it’s important that you have control over it. Do you agree?
If you found this activity especially difficult, then maybe you haven’t rounded out your own personal brand just yet and maybe this is something you want to start considering. In today’s society, if you don’t know yourself, how do you expect others to?
Download this free worksheet I’ve created to help you think of 5 words that represent you as a business professional. If you can’t pick 5 words from this matrix to describe yourself in less than 5 minutes, you have some work to do!
As always, I would love to hear from you. Let me know what you think about personal branding. Do you have it all figured out?