Everyone who is active online has a personal brand established. How you present yourself online contributes to your unique identity and image.
Unaware of your personal brand? Take a few seconds to Google yourself. Whatever content mentions you is part of your brand.
There’s no denying the benefits of branding. McKinsey’s research has found that strong brands outperform their less recognizable competitors by up to 73%. This means that the majority of customers today want to support brands that make a positive impact on society.
Personal branding comes with similar benefits as company branding. It helps you connect with customers, become more visible in your industry, shape your reputation, make a lasting impression during online and in-person networking, and sell more to target prospects.
A strong individual brand is essential for anyone looking to build a successful career. This guide will share the essential components of a strong individual brand, top personal branding examples, and tips for creating a memorable personal brand.
What Is Personal Branding?
The projected image of an individual’s personality, skills, experience, and behavior that defines their unique identity
Having a strong personal brand is a great way to make yourself stand out in today’s competitive market. Having a personal brand lets people get to know who you are, even when you’re not around. To stand out from the crowd, share your story, show your personality, and connect with people who share your goals.
A personal brand is the image and reputation a person has online. It includes all of the content that is available about that person. Although it may be simple to build something from the ground up, it can be much more difficult to change it once it has been established. It would be strange to see Elon Musk tweeting about empathy and emotional intelligence, as he is usually known for his work in technology. If he were to start sending out messages that were very different from what he is known for, his followers would be confused.
People often focus on being themselves when they start to build their personal brands. However, a brand is not something that develops organically. Keeping a company brand consistent requires upkeep to create a cohesive image. Creating limits for your brand helps make sure that everyone is aware of what you support and how you introduce yourself.
It can be definitely worth spending the time to develop a personal brand that’s carefully considered and planned out. It is worth the effort to create a persona that attracts people to your inbox.
- Become more relatable. In other words, become more ‘human’ and less ‘market’ by revealing more about yourself. This also helps build trust and authenticity.
- Establish brand identity. Personal branding will ensure that people know what to come to you for and that they will be able to rely on you for specific things.
- Get more opportunities. With a strong personal brand, you will most likely be exposed to more interviews, job offers, promotions, contacts, clients, events hosting gigs, and more.
- Differentiate yourself. Building a brand allows you to show off unique characteristics about yourself that set you apart from others in your area of specialization.
- Enhance your expertise: The more exposure you get, the more your network expands and those who you interact with will start to identify you as an expert in your field. They will reach out to you for your opinion and expertise, which only further supports your brand.
- Leave a lasting impression: An unforgettable personal brand will stick out in people’s minds, so when it comes time to give referrals or recommendations, they’ll think of you first.
Why Is Personal Branding Important?
There are several benefits to both you and your customers when you set aside time to cultivate a personal brand.
Many people will form an opinion about whether or not they want to work with you very quickly.
An empty or basic LinkedIn profile does not create a feeling of closeness and trust in potential customers. Instead, they’re left with more questions than answers.
- Is this a person I can depend on?
- Will they be willing to work with me in the way I prefer?
- What’s their take on current industry issues?
- How can they help me improve my business?
If you communicate your viewpoint openly on your social pages, prospects can easily decide if they can see themselves working with you.
You’ll easily differentiate yourself from competitors.
If you want your online presence to be cohesive and consistent, you need to take the time to define and reinforce your personal brand. A strong social media persona sets you apart from your competitors who either have no social media presence or have a completely different persona on each platform. If someone visits your profile or searches for your name on Google, they will quickly learn what you stand for and feel like they know you better.
You’ll be set to start your own business.
If you want to be an entrepreneur, having a strong personal brand will make it easier for you to become a business owner. Differentiation is key to success with a new product or service, and people often associate a start-up with its founder. The more definitively you can brand yourself, the better.
You’ll increase your authenticity and, ultimately, sell more.
Jill Konrath, an expert on sales, believes that the salesperson is the most important factor in sales today. Prospects are aware that they can find a similar product or service from another vendor, no matter what they are looking to purchase. They cannot just get the same sales experience from any provider, they need the same salesperson. People are looking for user-generated content that is more authentic than brand-created content. This is because they feel that user-generated content is more representative of a person, rather than a company.
If you present a clear and distinctive personal brand, it will be easier for your buyers to choose your company (and you) over another vendor.
Personal Branding Essentials
A positioning statement.
If you work in sales, you are probably familiar with positioning statements. Sales representatives who are prepared can quickly respond to a potential customer’s brush-off with a explanation of their product or service. A personal positioning statement is like a personal elevator pitch that should answer the question “What are you about, anyway?”
Who are you trying to reach with your statement? Your value proposition is not about you, it is for you. Be clear about what it is that makes you unique, and make sure your target audience knows about it too. Whether it’s your skills, experience, or approach, let them know what sets you apart. If you’re not sure what makes you different, spend some time researching your peers and reflecting on your individual beliefs and passions.
An SEO-friendly profile.
It’s just as important to find out what makes you different as it is to make sure you can be easily found online. What’s the point of writing a positioning statement if no one is going to read it?
It is essential to do keyword research as part of any personal branding initiative. Try to think about the words or phrases your target audience might search for to find someone like you, rather than the keywords you most associate with yourself. Replaceable keyword phrases could be industry-related (“human resources”), role-related (“talent acquisition manager”), or results-related (“cut hiring costs”). If you’re having trouble coming up with keywords, try the free Keyword Tool.io app for ideas.
After you have chosen 1-2 keywords, include them in your LinkedIn profile, Twitter bio, blog, resume, website, and any other online or social media platforms you are using. Just make sure to do so naturally. If you stuff your web page with keywords, it will be ranked lower on Google. It’s a good idea to include your keyword in your LinkedIn header, and to mention it two or three times in the “About” section.
How to Create Your Brand
Get to know yourself better
There are a few different ways that you can evaluate your professional persona, both from the inside and how the world perceives you:
Take some time to figure out what you’re naturally good at. This will help you become a better leader, communicator, and feel more empowered. To find your top three strengths, you can ask ten people that know you well from different areas of your life what your strengths are, and then choose the most common answers. Other personality and strengths tests you could take include the famous Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or the VIA Character Strengths Assessment.
Identify your passions and interests, and see how you can involve these in your work life. Find a way to integrate your passions and interests into your work life. This is because if you do something that you’re passionate about, you’re more likely to do it with motivation and energy, and others will take notice.
Your values are what you stand behind, no matter what. There are some things that you feel strongly about and will not budge on because they are a big part of your life. If your values are positive, people will feel more connected to you. Outlining what matters to you will ensure that your brand is aligned in every interaction you have.
Find your inspiration: Do you have someone that you look up to? If you want your brand to be successful, take a look at how other successful brands have done it and try to emulate their methods. You can learn from other people’s success without copying them directly. What made them successful? Why do you want to learn from them? What do you want to learn from them? Try to be honest with yourself while answering these questions rather than striving for something that is too far from who you really are.
List your education and work experiences
Create a list of your professional experiences and interests, including your education, training, work, and hobbies. Creating a list of your professional accomplishments will help you focus on what to include in your resume, social media, website, and other content-based projects. This, in turn, will help you speak more confidently and effectively about your skills and experience with potential employers and clients.
The portfolio will not only provide tangible evidence of your skills and strengths, but will also serve as validation for the claims you make about your abilities. It will be a reminder to yourself of all your accomplishments in your career.
Hone in on a goal
What do you hope to achieve in one year? In five years? In ten years? You will be able to establish a clearer vision for your brand if you have a real focus in mind. This vision will be understood not only by you, but also by everyone else who comes in contact with your brand. If you have a clear vision for yourself, people will remember you for it.
Think about your experiences, passions, and strengths to come up with your vision. Taking a career or purpose-related test, such as IKIGAI, can help you figure out what you want to do with your life.
The Japanese concept IKIGAI can help you find your purpose in life, or your ‘reason for being.’ To do this, you need to consider four things: ‘what you love,’ ‘what the world needs,’ ‘what you can be paid for,’ and ‘what you’re good at.’ Once you have considered all of these things, you can blend them together to discover your purpose.
Know your target audience
Here’s how you can define your target audience:
- They are the people offering opportunities in the field you specialize in
- They should be reasonable for you to reach
- There are enough of them requesting the kind of work that you offer
- You’ll be able to earn a living out of having them as clients
It is important to develop a relationship with your target audience so you can better understand their needs. Try to find a way to talk to them directly, in order to get started on a professional level. Think of something you want to say to the person ahead of time, so you’re not caught off guard. When you are applying for a job, you should be able to explain to the employer how your skills can benefit them. The time has come to start taking action on your vision. Be professional, confident, and charismatic when you do.
Develop your story
Choose the points that you think are the most important from the text and create a shorter, more concise version. Use your strengths, passions, and interests to create a unique brand story that speaks to your target audience. Your experiences and perspectives are yours and yours alone. This means that your story is yours to tell. This means that instead of adding make-believe details to make your story more interesting, you should focus on being honest about who you are and what your story is really about.
It’s important to have a message that you can share with others that is memorable and easy to repeat. This will help you in both casual conversations and any content you post online. This will ultimately set the tone of your brand.
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