You may not like what I’m about to say, but I’m going to say it anyway. You have got something in common with Coca-Cola, IBM and McDonalds – you are a brand. If you want to stand out as a person, be it in the workplace, on social media, or wherever, then building up your personal brand is important, and there have never been more avenues to express your brand than right now in 2014.
So, how do you get started with personal branding, and how do you continue to build your brand?
Define who you are and who you want to me (they will be different): This is an obvious one, but it was not so long ago that I was working in a non-marketing role, but really wanted to work in marketing again – so, I spent some time retraining in digital marketing and that has helped me make that transition. I wanted to change my personal brand into a digital marketing expert, and keeping that expertise is a full time job…..but it’s the job I love. So, be honest about where you are now and where you want to be: getting this right will help you build your branding plan.
What platform are we on? By a platform I mean a way that people can find out all about you and your brand without necessarily knocking on your front door and having a chat! As a digital marketer, it was pretty clear to me that I should start my own website (iamjustinwilson.com), so some years ago, I did exactly that. I am no programmer, but I was able to create a decent looking site with next to no money. However, LinkedIn are now rolling out the chance for you to publish on their site and those published articles will appear on your profile – this is brilliant! One of the challenges about starting a new platform is building the network (hopefully they will talk about your brand with you and others), but on LinkedIn, you probably already have at least a few dozen connections – your network awaits!
Walk the walk: If you are making proclamations in your ‘personal brand communication’ but not following it through in real life, you are going to get found out. You should live by your brand values (for example, being a source of digital marketing information, and trying to contribute positively to the digital community) – history is littered with companies whose failed products do not live up to their brand values, so don’t fall into their trap.
Always moving: This one is much easier to say than to do. Your personal brand should be a dynamic one, always looking to learn and try new things: and if you have developed a great platform, then you need to talk about your experiences, both positive and negative – this will continue to build your brand.
Be unique: This is very much a tip that applies to personal and business brands. The Unique Selling Point (*marketing jargon alert, sorry*) is what will help you stand out in a very busy environment, so you should think about how you can stand out – for example, it may be that you talk candidly about your personal experiences and mistakes. See what’s already out there and identify what is missing – and fill that gap.Image via mashable.com