Personal branding used to include nothing more than a simple business card with your name on it, but with the development of social media and an increasingly individualized society, the brand you build around yourself is perhaps the single most important way to stand out in your spheres of influence. If you’re beginning to think about your personal brand, here are some key things to remember.
Personal Branding is the means by which people remember you.
It’s more than a trademark; it is how you present yourself online and offline to potential clients and customers. Your personal brand builds your business, but it still centers around you as an individual.
For example, the names “Trump” and “Clinton” bring specific images to the minds of many, but these images are only partly connected to the parties the candidates endorse. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are examples of people who have mastered the art of connecting their names with their business and passions. Both have built a solid personal brand. However, personal branding is not just for politicians and entrepreneurs.
According to a Nielson Consumer Survey, only 33 percent of buyers trust messages from a brand, while 90 percent trust messages from an individual they know. That means that if you’re a business owner, you have a much better chance of winning people’s trust if you bond with them first as a human being and encourage your employees to do the same.
If you’re looking to define your own personal brand, you should, first of all, consider the exact impression that you want to build and the market you wish to target. Where do they meet? What do they like and want? What problems do they have? If you can meet them where they’re at, you can build a solid personal reputation as someone who cares and who truly wants the best for his or her client.
Also, remember that personal branding is not about selling. It’s about making yourself available to others, both clients and peers. Make sure you have active accounts on like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Keep a balance between business-related updates and personal updates, so that others will see you as being both professional and personable. No one needs to know what you ate for breakfast, but a picture of your cat posing next to a promotional poster will probably get some buzz.
Personal branding isn’t bound to the internet. When you leave your house and interact with people around town, make sure you maintain a positive and professional appearance in keeping with your brand. Carry business cards with you, and watch for potential clients. People love supporting local businesses and professionals, and if you manage to form a relationship with others in person, they will be more eager to look into your services online.
Your brand should reflect the person you are and the person you try to be. It should become a brand of itself, so you should strive to keep things simple. Too many distractions or bright colors pull attention away from your message. Maintain a more plain but lingering presence, and people will begin to recognize you and respect you.
Most of all stay consistent with your brand. Clients will only start recognizing your brand after they encounter it several times, and if you’re using multiple platforms, you need to keep your overall stance and appearance similar. You can do this through color schemes, logos, and personal mottos. Work your brand into your email signature, order some stationery with your logo on it and get creative.
In summary, your personal brand is an extension of who you are, and it’s what you want to present to peers and to potential clients. If you maintain a strong personal brand, your business will appear more human to others, and it will win over their trust while making you appear to be a dedicated professional. There are many ways to build your brand, and you should seek something simple that will stay in the minds of others while building a consistent impression of your quality.
Anyone can build a personal brand, and in today’s society, the time is more important than ever for you to get started.