What is Personal Branding and Who Needs It?
Being a company that specialises in printed promo items we tend to talk a lot about corporate and charity branding. However, we thought that today we would take a different angle and look at personal branding – one of the big buzz words for 2013. Personal branding is sometimes known as ‘self-packaging’. A lot of people are enticed to buy products by the shiny, jazzy and luxury packaging that is said to reflect what is inside the box. Personal branding is simply a way of presenting yourself or your career to build recognition and trust. This kind of branding is not just for the likes of Lady Gaga and Barack Obama but is something that is becoming more and more important for business owners and charity representatives alike.
Deciding Where You Fit & Claiming Your Stake in a Niche
The first step is one of discovery. What personality traits do you have, what is your general persona and what are you passionate about? Get a couple of trusted colleagues to describe you in three words. These words will make up part of your personal brand. Next, you need to look at your industry and work out where you fit. Perhaps you are a charity fundraiser who wants to become the authority on online fundraising. Alternatively you might be the female MD of a thriving company who wants to become an expert on business networking for women. Personal branding really will set you apart and help you become an industry expert. This means you will have bigger reach and wider influence whilst becoming incredibly trusted. People want to buy from and invest in individuals like this!
Crafting Your Brand & Keeping Continuity
Once you have decided how you want to come across and what niche you are going after you then need to start your personal branding process. First, update your LinkedIn, Twitter and other social profiles. Use the same name (Chris, Chrissie, Christopher – pick one and stick with it), spelt in the same way as well as the same photo alongside your bio. When you blog or leave comments on other websites always use that name and picture in order to keep continuity and give people a chance of recognising you. It could also be worth setting up a Facebook profile for work purposes.
You will also want to update your blog, business cards and other marketing materials to reflect your brand. Pull together an online portfolio of your best work, work that backs up your ethos and conveys the messages you want to send out.
I once went to an event where the keynote speaker was dishing out networking tips. She told us that she always wears pink at networking events and it is a colour she has now become associated with. Have a think about your style and decide whether or not you need a signature look. These days it is important to stand out so that potential customers and partners remember you. Pick clothing that represents you and your brand (corporate and solid or fun and quirky?).
Now you have a great personal brand you need to get out there and show it off. Hit the networking scene both online and offline, attend industry events, run workshops and take on collaborative projects to get your name out there!
Once you have lived with your new personal brand for a little while you should start to gather testimonials specific to you. This will grab people’s attention and strengthen your persona.
Happy personal branding!