The concept of businesses building a brand for themselves is a pretty common scenario that we see every day. Most, if not all, businesses are branded and look to differentiate themselves from their competitors, and then gain a position in the market.
But have you ever thought why can’t individual people do the same thing? Have you come across the concept of a personal brand?
Yes, just like you think, a personal brand isn’t that much different from a business brand. In simple terminology, instead of marketing a product or service, in personal branding, you would market yourself.
In this article, we’ll delve into details of exactly what is a personal brand is and as well reasons why personal branding is important today than ever before.
Difference between personal brand and personal branding
Before we start, let us understand the difference between the two keywords: personal brand and personal branding. A personal brand is a final goal or objective, whereas “ personal branding” is a process and strategy which you execute to achieve that final goal.
A personal brand is a well recognized and largely uniform perception or impression about an individual based on their experience, expertise, competencies, actions, and achievements within a community, industry or market place.
Personal branding is the conscious and intentional effort to create and influence public perception of an individual by positioning themselves as an authoritative figure in the industry, elevating their credibility, and differentiating themselves from the competition, to ultimately advance their career, increase the circle of influence and have a larger impact.
Personal branding is an ongoing process of developing and maintaining an impression and a reputation of an individual, group or organization. The term is referred to be originated from an article written by Tom Peters in 1997.
Some people ignore their own personal brand and tend to let it grow organically, however, this might lead to a lack of control resulting in chaos. Hence one can use personal branding consciously differentiate themselves from other people. If executed well, they can tie up their personal branding with different businesses.
An effective personal branding strategy provides professionals the platform, opportunity, and edge to establish credibility, inspire, and succeed in their niche.
Some of the inspirational figures in personal branding
Richard Branson is one of the most heard, visible successful entrepreneurs. He has continuously stayed true to his core values including adventure and risk-taking. His commitment and unorthodox style made him a powerful brand today.
Neil Patel: Cofounder, Neil Patel Digital
Neil Patel is digital marketing whose face you can notice across multiple platforms on the Internet. He teaches about internet marketing through videos and blogging. He has founded multiple companies that provide services and products to online marketers. He’s also now the CMO and Co-founder of Neil Patel Digital, an agency that aims to help the world’s top companies to grow their traffic exponentially.
Why personal branding is important today like never before?
Whether you’re an entrepreneur or just an employee, creating and maintaining a personal brand has become more important than ever before. One of the major reasons being, it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process.
According to Career Builder Survey,70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.
Having a personal brand is also beneficial from an employer’s perspective. Some companies encourage employees to build strong personal brands so that it helps the business having better representations at conferences and events.
Employees can acquire new customers and retain existing ones when they are viewed as trustworthy thought leaders. There are tons of benefits that people get from creating their own brands.
The 5 major reasons why creating a personal brand is important are
1. Builds trust
A personal brand explains what are the values and personality type of person. Therefore, having a personal brand creates intentions that are clear and genuine, which are key factors in fostering trust.
A personal brand helps in establishing trust among colleagues and also makes people comfortable while working.
2. Builds Connection
Personal branding helps a person building connections from different fields and their areas of specialty. Once a person builds a reputation, it will help them get more exposure to events and conferences.
LinkedIn will be your greatest help here. Read more to find out 3 Reasons to Start Using LinkedIn?
3. Build credibility
Personal branding aids in establishing his/her name as a thought leader and a subject matter expert in their area of specialty. Admiration, respect, and trust will follow along with a person’s name.
4. Build Confidence
Individuals gain confidence while developing their brand. The gain of confidence will come from their positive qualities and strengths that they share on public platforms. When people realize that they have something which they can offer, their self-esteem will soar.
A well-executed personal branding will emphasize the strengths of an individual and gives direction as to where he/she can use those strengths.
5. Builds authenticity
Personal branding helps a person grow from something he or she believes. A personal brand comes from skills, goals, and values that are possessed by the respective individual. Personal branding doesn’t allow individuals to create a contrived voice or a fake persona that is genuinely not them. It helps in developing authenticity about the individual.
How to build a personal brand?
When people say, “ I want to build a personal brand “, the first thing that they think about is quantitative numbers. Be it some followers on Twitter, the number of blog subscribers, and even the number of Facebook likes. However, these are very poor metrics if you seriously want to build a personal brand.
Building a personal brand takes a lot of hard work, however, if you’re ready to learn and execute, here’s the 5-step approach that you must know:
Step 1: Figure out your strengths or what you’re good at, and what is that you want to do for a living
There’s a famous quote by Aristotle which says: “ Knowing yourself is the beginning of all your wisdom”. Knowing about yourself and what you’re good at is a good place to start with while going for building a personal brand.
The first step is acknowledging what you like doing – because if you don’t like doing something, chances are high that you wouldn’t take it seriously and if you aren’t willing to take something seriously and become good at it, then why even bother right?
Once you know what you’re good at and what you like doing, you need to commit to it to become as great as you can possibly be. This is more about building competence and less about being competitive, though the competition is also a great motivator at times.
So, what are you waiting for, as part of the first step, commit to becoming big and a thought leader in the thing that you love working upon?
The biggest mistake that most people make is to rush into building a website for themselves and spend hours planning to come up with how they are going to brand themselves.
None of it matters unless you start identifying the right platforms first. The most important thing during the early stages of brand building is to start owing your craft and start providing value to people in the public domain. This would help you establish and set yourself in the long run.
As a part of the second step, identify a platform that suits your interest, and start creating the content that you possibly can. Are you interested in being a chef? Then why not start with foodie videos on Instagram. Always wanted to be a motivational speaker? Youtube videos are the best choice to start with.
Step 3: Collaborate and Co-create
The next crucial step is to build as many relationships as you can with other experts or thought leaders in the industry you’re dealing with. Trust me, this will open so many doors for you- and help you in substantially growing your social following.
Try to find out other people or influencers to collaborate and create great content. If you’re in the fitness domain, why not lift together, record it and post it on YouTube. Interested in posting content about gaming, why not post funny rage clips on Instagram and @ tag each other in it.
This would be a win-win situation for both of you, where everyone grows and you’ll be able to make awesome connections and friends in the process. Create content together and share it with all your audiences.
Step 4: Build your website/email list
Once you have a good social media following, the next step is to build your website. You can start with a simple website using templates like Wix.com etc and later on jump into custom WordPress site.
Remember, your website should be of great value to the readers. You would typically attract their attention on social media and you would give them a value that you wish to on your website.
Create a win-win situation here where you offer specialized content in exchange for their e-mail – a free download or trial code to program. This will help you to engage with them at regular intervals and give them even more value in the long run.
Step 5: Launch your own brand products or affiliate with other products
The incentive for launching your own products is far more than just monetary, it is the credibility that it gives you. This would also help you in building your social following, collaborating, and engaging with new influencers and their audiences.
When it comes to personal branding, one needs to take a different approach to social media. 90% of the customers trust information only from people they know. Hence, to become a thought leader, building personal connections will be the most effective way to develop authority and trust with your audience.
Here are some of the ways through which you can build trust across social media platforms
Step 1: Finding the right groups
Facebook and LinkedIn provide great opportunities to join groups focused on specific interests or topics. If you can find groups that are in line with your area of expertise, then you’ll be able to engage and share that experience and build authority around your personal brand.
Step 2: Keep the image consistent
Across all the platforms where you’re available, you’ll have to maintain a certain consistency with the brand. When people want to get in touch with you or want to learn more about you, they may search for you on a number of social outlets. Consistently presenting yourself helps you control their perception of your brand.
Step 3: Engage consistently and regularly
It is best to focus on two or three carefully chosen social networks and try to be active on them, rather than posting randomly across half-a-dozen platforms. Remember building a brand takes a lot of effort and has to be treated like a job. Adjust your frequency and type of content based on the audience’s presence.
Step 4: Diversify the content
Crafting a communications strategy for your personal brand and diverse content plan helps you in avoiding publishing the same type of articles every time.
Make sure that you include images, videos, and even questions towards the end. This would lead to a lot more reciprocal engagement.
Step 5: Give as much as you can
If you want to create a memorable brand, you need to give people a reason to remember. Prefer to reach out to contacts directly and ask them what you can do for them. This personal connection would make the customers feel that you care about them and that they are more than just revenue to you.
Give away some of your time, your advice and other resources, you have available to help your connections. Make it a habit to contact at least one person every day with an offer to help.
Step 6: Ask questions and take part in discussions
Questions are the best way to spark engagement. You can improve the visibility of your brand across interest groups and social circles. Though engagement might happen slowly at first, if you’re persistent, it would definitely lead to potential opportunities.
Don’t hesitate to add your voice and try to make yourself visible in the discussion. This is especially true if you have unique insights and value to add. Showing that you’re responsive, engaging, and human will do wonders for your personal brand.
As the digital ecosystem changes and your career evolves, so will be your personal brand. Adjust your brand persona accordingly as you meet different people, find new networking opportunities, and grow in career.
Why building a brand website is important for personal branding?
Your personal website would be your home on the web, the hub of the content you create and a destination for every member of the network that you’re building.
You might say: “I have a Facebook page or a Linkedin Page“. I have lots of stuff posted on social media channels. Do I really need a website?
The content that you post on these social media platforms would belong to these networks. You need to purposefully direct your own personal brand and a personal website will always allow you to:
a) Project and express yourself, the way you want to and the way you want to control
b) Helps in globalizing your reach
c) Create a calling card which is far more compelling than a business card or resume
So what are you waiting for? Get back to the room, list down things that you would like to be known for and start with a content strategy to execute.
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