Nowadays, you might frequently hear the term personal branding and the phrase that “you are a brand.” We see influencers and celebrities earn money out of their name and fame on the daily basis. So what is personal branding and how can you build a brand yourself?
Having a personal brand refers to having yourself in the public eye consciously and intentionally whole portraying yourself as someone with authority or a sense of power who stands out in your field.
The process of personal branding refers to promoting yourself consciously by displaying personality and expertise based on how you want to be perceived to create influence.
One of the most successful personal branding examples is Kylie Jenner. She is one of the members of the Kardashian clan and through strategic personal branding she now has a net worth of over a billion dollars.
Personal branding makes you who you are in the world and how you are perceived in the world. Consciously or unconsciously you are always branding yourself based on your personality, skills, mindset, how you carry yourself, and what you share online.
People around you already have a perception of you when you interact with them which will determine their attitude and your future interactions with them.
Here is why you should build a conscious personal brand for yourself:
Your influence and reach towards the people will increase.
You will expand your network and build more desired connections.
You can gain partnerships and various opportunities once you have a personal brand and a strong presence online.
You will not have to worry about losing or not having a job.
You as a brand represent the best you can do and provide; it will help you succeed in your other businesses.
Your personal brand is the asset that will always be with you even after you die.
1. Identify what you want your personal image to be
Personal image refers to how you want people to perceive you. What do you want people to think? What kind of a person would you like to identify as? What impact are you trying to have? What motivates you? What are your strengths and weakness?
Ask yourself questions like what are your goals and does your personal image help you with achieving those goals? If not, you may want to make a conscious effort of rebranding yourself.
Everything has a personal image. Just having an image does not make you a brand. A consciously and strategically built personal image will lead to having a personal brand. This requires a high level of conscious effort and self-awareness but is always worth it.
2. Identify your audience
You will require an audience and an influence over people for you to be a personal brand. Whom are you trying to reach? It is a general population or a group of professionals? Which demographic do you want to target as your audience through your brand?
For example, In today's world, more than 90% of the hiring managers refer to social media during the recruitment process and more than 80% of them use LinkedIn. If your goal is to connect with professionals then you might consider having a strong brand presence in platforms like LinkedIn.
Varying on your targeted audience, you will have to choose the correct platform for your personal brand. Influencers who target a younger demographic build their brand on platforms like Instagram and YouTube. It is really important to identify and connect with the right audience for you to have a successful personal brand.
3. Identify your niche
A niche refers to a focused domain or sector on which your brand will focus on. The content or product that you put out in the world needs to belong to a certain category which makes it easier to create a strong brand image and identity.
Identifying your niche is one of the most fundamental steps you need to take before having a solid personal brand. What do you stand for and what are your values? Which areas are you most skilled at? What are your hobbies? What do you feel very passionate about?
While building a personal brand, you will need to re-access yourself consciously and be clear on who you are, who you want to be, and which content or products you want to associate yourself with.
Once you have identified your self-image, target audience, and your niche, it's time to do some intensive research while moving ahead with the personal branding process. Search and look upon people who are already in the position where you want to be.
Make a list of people whom you are inspired by and have a brand that is similar to the one that you are trying to create. Do your research on the type of content they post, look up their journey on how they got to the level, what hardships they faced and what mistakes they made along with the impact, and also how they handled the whole situation.
The research that you do early on will help you and guide you throughout the process of building a personal brand.
5. Grow your online presence
In today's world, it is essential to have a strong online presence if you wish to portray yourself as a brand. A strong presence online, especially in social media is key.
Online presence refers to the overall sum of all the identity you have created personally or work-related which builds your overall persona online. To have a solid and desirable online presence, you need to be very mindful and strategic while building your personal brand.
Identify your business goals and make sure they align with your target audience, self-image, and niche. Be mindful and track your progress while following strategies that bring you closer to your goals. Choose the most appropriate platform where you can primarily focus to build your online presence.
6. Be creative
Creativity is one of the 5C’s of personal branding. In creative branding, you will need to identify how you, as a brand, will tell a story based on the self-image, the niche, and the audience you have crafted.
You need to be creative and produce the content or the products which demand attention and are perceived to be creative. The ability to connect with your audience on an emotional level is key to having a successful brand. The content that you put out online should be appealing to human emotions and help your audience have a strong sense of reliability and respect towards you as a brand.
7. Identify what sets you apart
To have a strong presence, you need to stand out from the crowd. With millions of people trying to build a brand like you are on the daily basis, lack of uniqueness may lead you to drown in the crowd.
Like a brand, you will have a unique set of skills and perspectives that you bring to the table. But unless you can express the uniqueness that you have in a way that demands attention, standing out and branding yourself is very difficult.
Unique visual expression, strategic positioning, and mindfully, creatively, and uniquely crafted brand image will help your personal brand gain a stronger online presence. Also, while having a personal brand, always remember that authenticity is the key.
In every branding process, whether it's an individual or a company, without consistency, it will never be successful. You may have a high-quality product, a unique perspective, or even if you may be a highly skilled individual with a lot of potentials, if you are not consistent and strategic about your branding, you will never get the desired results.
Consistent personal branding will in return serve you as your billboard. You can always use your personal brand to represent and express yourself and when done authentically, the support and loyalty you receive on your platform will be immeasurable.
Brands are built through consistent delivery of the hopes and promises they make; this, in turn, builds customer loyalty and trust towards the company. Therefore if you can't commit to consistent personal branding, you will never be successful in having a high-value personal brand.
9. Learn about personal branding strategies
A personal branding strategy refers to a plan which will help you achieve the goal that you've set with having a successful personal brand.
Personal branding does not only include your relationship with the public or your followers; it includes your private relationships, how you deal with your clients, and your personal life as well. You need to be mindful in all the interactions that you have to have a positive brand image.
Speaking up and sharing your voice; virtually or physically, telling your story, and sharing your perspective while being informed about the matter will build your reputation and make people more likely to listen to you.
Based on your personal and business goals, try to map out a plan and a strategy that will help you successfully brand yourself.
10. Be careful about what you share online
Throughout this article, we have focused on telling your story, being authentic, and expressing your true values and perspectives. However, anything that you say or do on the Internet will stay there forever.
Never, ever say or do things that may cause harm to your brand in the future. Actions of passing hate comments, criticism, and biased opinions which lack facts will degrade your brand and may potentially lead to you losing your platform as well.
Be careful of your digital footprint, be fully informed regarding the things you speak and try not to pick a side, and stay as rational as possible during arguments and fights. Stay away from drama and don't initiate or promote it.
It is advisable to be seen as a rational, compassionate, and wise figure than a drama queen if you wish to have a more professional and civilized audience for your brand.
Personal branding for dummies by Susan Chritton
Branding Plays by Karen Kang
Reinventing You by Dorie Clark
Building a story brand by Donald Miller
Influencer: Building Your Personal Brand In The Age Of Social Media by Brittany Hennessy
With the rise of social media and digitization, the wave of personal branding and influencers has been increasing rapidly. Professionals and old companies are constantly looking for ways to adapt and thrive in this changing society.
The value and use of personal branding and influence are at the peak and do not seem to befall anytime soon. So you too should start building a successful personal brand that will serve you as an important asset for life.