The concept of the personal brand should not be viewed as exclusive to celebrities and those whose career and livelihood rely on their name and personal image.
Whilst it may seem somewhat odd to think of yourself as a brand, as a professional in any industry sector, you definitely have your own brand to uphold.
Your personal brand tells the world who you are, what you are capable of and why a potential employer or client should pay attention to you. But, how do you accomplish that? How can you establish and foster something that seems so intangible?
The Five A’s of Personal Brand Building
The first step to developing your personal brand is to define your target audience.
However appealing it may be, don’t fall into the trap of trying to be everything to everyone. Your time, money, energy and focus are best spent on those who fall within the realm of your target audience.
If you’re not sure who your target audience is or how best to define them, start by asking yourself these two simple questions:
Who will pay for what I have to offer?
Who will influence the person that will pay?
Once you’ve answered these two questions who’ll have a clearer idea of who you are talking to, how to communicate with them and on which platforms your target audience is currently engaging on.
Truth – people connect with people. Your personal brand should be a reflection of your authentic self. What is it that makes you, you?
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” – Dr. Seuss
If you’re trying to fake it how likely is your audience to connect with you, resonate with you and trust you, and even if they buy into your fake persona how long, in reality, can you maintain being someone that isn’t authentically you.
This requires a deep understanding of oneself, what are your beliefs? Your goals? What do you stand for? You more than likely have unique quirks and idiosyncrasies. What is is your history, your hobbies and those things so unique to you that make you stand out from anyone else.
Keep it genuine and don’t be scared to be a little vulnerable, if anything this will aid in helping your audience to build a deeper connection to you.
Building a personal brand takes time, energy, focus and lots of it. You need to ensure you are active within your industry as well as recognised as a specialist. This may mean producing thought provoking industry related content (in the form of blogs, images, video’s, podcasts etc.) it may also mean being featured on other industry related sites, and media platforms both on and offline.
Instead of trying to spread yourself too thin, focus on two or three social platforms that you know your target audience is engaging on and find ways to constantly educate, entertain and empower them.
Here I refer to the basic assets required to build a personal brand, the majority of which will be online assets.
These may depend on your industry sector and nature of your business some of the basic fundamentals which apply would be up to date professional social media profiles, if you are trying to appeal to potential employers I’d suggest investing some time and energy into your LinkedIn profile. If you’re trying to find clients I’d use a combination of profiles (again industry dependent), you may want to consider a website, as well as a logo and business cards and include professional images as part of the asset toolkit.
Lastly, don’t forget to keep close tabs on where you stand publically as a brand, especially in the online space. One of the best ways in which to do this is to Google yourself. Set up Google Alerts on your name and keep a regular check of places online (or otherwise) where you may have been mentioned or featured.
It’s important to know where people have mentioned you and in what context so as to understand better what the public perception of you may be.
The above is a highly summarised version, but I do hope aids to lay a basic foundation and gives you the help you need to get started building your personal brand.
For any other advice or questions you may have, don’t hesitate to get in touch.