If I were to ask you the question “Who are you”, how would you answer it? If you are anything like me, you would probably come up with some witty or funny response but if you answer it seriously your answer would probably be something like, “My name is Ed and I am a Marketing Manager”. But that’s not really a comprehensive or descriptive answer of who Ed is or how he sees himself OR how he would like others to see him. Answering the question “who are you” is clearly not very straight forward to answer but it is a very important question that you should be asking yourself frequently.
How do you answer the question “Who are you”?
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist (or work in marketing) to know just how crucial branding has been for companies like Apple and BMW. In fact, it is one of their key success factors that give them a competitive advantage over their competitors. The same also applies to celebrities like Cristiano Ronaldo and Kim Kardashian. These are people who have become brands of their own and their brand image continuously increases as their popularity rises.
You might have heard of or come across the term “Personal Branding”. According to Wikipedia “Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands”. Personal branding works exactly the same way as company branding – to create a unique identity and a positive perception or image of you in the eyes of others. The purpose of doing personal branding is to answer the question “who are you” and then compare your answer with what others actually think of you.
Do you have a Personal Brand?
The good news is yes, we all have our own personal brand, which is YOU. Only you can be the best you but the challenge is just how good is your personal branding? For the average person like you or me, personal branding is actually just as important as it is for a famous celebrity because it helps to make you stand out from the crowd as an individual. Remember, people won’t think you are anything special unless you have given them a reason to think you are.
If you want to be successful at personal branding, it is critical that you control it instead of it controlling you. The current digital age of the internet, blogs and social media has made personal branding such a crucial factor in any professional’s career development. Digital platforms have helped to make it easier for professionals to build up their credibility and gain a solid reputation. However, it also can also severely damage your personal branding if it used incorrectly or taken too lightly. Below are several ways on how you can build a strong personal brand online.
1. Audit your Online Presence:
The very first step is understanding the current status of your personal brand. Google yourself regularly and see if you if your name comes up. If it does, it is probably due to your social media pages (e.g. Facebook). But you could also be listed on Google for other reasons. If you are, make sure you know why (irrespective if it’s good or bad) so you know exactly what is being said about you.
2. Social Media:
This is the most common and easiest method to do personal branding. Social media is easily and widely accessible and used by people of all ages across the world. Most people use several platforms and do their personal branding on a daily basis without even knowing it. If you are active on social media (e.g. Facebook or LinkedIn) you share loads of information daily with the world. To succeed it is absolutely crucial that your brand message is consistent across all platforms. For example, avoid funny memes or colloquial posts on LinkedIn.
3. Setting up a personal website:
Thanks to WordPress, setting up a personal website doesn’t require a web developer and it is also cost effective. The biggest benefit of all is that it is a great way to rank your name on search engines and it doesn’t have to be a long website either. Blogging has become a popular way for people to express themselves and a lot of people have a basic 2-3 page website where they introduce themselves with a basic bio, links to their CV and social media platforms and any blogs or articles that they have written. The great news is that you can always grow it and update it whenever you feel the need to.
4. Associate yourself with Like-Minded people:
Using social media platforms such as LinkedIn or even industry listing websites are crucial to network with like-minded professionals and industry experts. Not only will this help you to find the right kind of people to engage with, but it could also help you to find potential clients, a new possible employer and most importantly boost our personal brand online.
5. Mobile Friendly Platforms:
Being tech savvy has become important to improve your personal brand image. Everyone has a smartphone these days which means most people tend to access content on their phones. If your content isn’t mobile-friendly, it is highly unlikely that your audience will find you. What’s worse, is that if your content or platform isn’t supported on mobile devices, it can severally hamper your reputation instead of boosting it.
Why you can’t afford to take Personal Branding for Granted:
If you are the kind of person who doesn’t get fazed by what other people think, be careful. Not showing any interest in your personal branding could backfire in your personal life and also your career. In many instances, you are judged on your personal branding before people even meet you. It is absolutely critical that other people’s perceptions resonate with how you would describe yourself. Digital platforms have become one of the best ways to express yourself. Knowing how to approach it properly will give your personal branding a huge boost.