Staying True to Your Personal Brand

Business / Marketing

Staying True to Your Personal Brand

Clear, concise and consistent brands are as important for companies as they are for people. Creating a personal brand, and sticking to it, can set you apart from other thought leaders in your industry as well as make yourself recognisable within and outside of your industry. Your personal brand is who you are, what you stand for, the values you express and how you express them. Your personal brand communicates to potential employers and clients your identity, highlighting your strengths to show your clear value, and creating trust.

With the advent of social media and the intermingling of personal and professional life, you already have a personal brand without even realising. Have you ever googled yourself? If yes, you would join almost 56% of internet users. The content available related to your name, any social media, websites, or videos that are out there help create your personal brand. It is still important to cultivate a personal brand to ensure it is consistent with who you are and what you want to do.

When actively developing a personal brand, you need to be intentional about the message you are putting out to the world, focusing on creating a consistent and true brand. If you haven’t yet designed your personal brand, good questions to ask would be:

  • What projects do I want to take on? What impact do I want to have on the world?
  • What motivates me?
  • What are my strengths, what do people compliment me on?
  • What do I struggle with?
  • Where do I want to go, and how do I want to get there?
  • Who do I want to work for and with?
  • If someone were to describe me in three words, what words would they use?

Once you have established a personal brand, the projects you take on and who you work with should elevate and cement this brand as recognisably yours. As time goes on, the specifics of your brand will change and evolve, but the core aspects of it, your overarching values should stay consistent. So, how do you stay true to your personal brand?

1.Define Your Destination

Having a destination in your mind keeps your branding tight and on course, making achieving your goals easier in the long term. This destination can be a potential role, your position in the industry, a certain reputation, a product, or any other long term goal. Having this destination simplifies rebranding to avoid gaps in knowledge, skills and experience. However, when rebranding if your plan is poorly thought out and you have no end-goal or destination, you’ll end up confusing yourself and others. Start by determining where you really want to invest your energy. Check out relevant industry trade journals, do informational interviews, speak to mentors in your field.

2. Leverage Your Points of Difference

What’s your unique selling position? What sets you apart from your competitors and differentiates you within your industry? That’s what people will remember, and you can use it to your advantage. Especially in today’s climate, with the advent of the mass consumption of media, having that unique spin that lets you step out from the crowd is vital to longevity and success, regardless of who you are or what you’re selling. Oftentimes your unique attributes or special skills are the reasons your potential clients or customers choose your team or business over another. Building your personal brand helps to highlight your unique attributes.

3. Be Creative but Consistent

Creativity without some consistency can lead to multiple overlapping voices, all shouting to be heard. When creating content, you want the majority of your content to follow the voice that embodies your values, creating a long-term portfolio of who you are and what you do. When putting out conflicting voices, potential customers and clients will have a hard time understanding your purpose and vision as they have to navigate a maze or solve the puzzle. Having a succinct voice that clearly outlines your personal brand will entice new clients and customers.   

4. Accepting On-Brand Projects

When accepting projects, it is important that they align with your personal brand. Accepting projects that are on-brand for yourself helps cement your contributions as uniquely yours. Accepting on-brand projects means you specialise in these areas and can provide insights that your employer or client couldn’t get from another person. These projects will also lead you to similar projects in the future, increasing your reputation as the person to turn to when it comes to these projects, problems or situations, which in turn strengthens your personal brand and skillset.

5. Social Media

Social media is a huge aspect of your personal brand. Your social media profiles can be one of the first point of contact for potential employers, in fact 93% of recruiters use social media to gauge whether a potential employee is well suited to the project or role. Significantly, of those 93% of recruiters, 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn for that purpose.

LinkedIn is a powerful site for defining and presenting your personal brand, allowing you to clearly outline your experience, skillsets and image. However, it is not only your profile that is important, but how you act on the site. Reaching out to potential contacts and participating in relevant groups will also help you stay true to your personal brand.

6. Inspiration

Gain inspiration from thought leaders who outside your industry. Don’t get too bogged down with what your competitors are doing, one of the worst things you can do to your personal brand is have it be a mimicry of others. However, gaining inspiration from others outside your industry and translating those lessons into your own work and brand can set you aside from your competitors.

7. Networking & Mentorships

Networking consistently can help you to perfect your personal brand and how you present that brand to potential employees and clients. From the networking events that you’re attending to the clothes you wear, and even how you introduce yourself helps to cement your personal brand as trustworthy and recognisable.

Networking requires your personal brand to have an elevator pitch, a short snappy snippet of who you are and what values you have. This elevator pitch should be a reflection of your personal brand, helping communicate who you are to the people who need to know.

Through your networking efforts, you can create relationships and mentorships with thought leaders in your industry. Developing a mentor relationship helps you gain confidence in your skills, as well as receiving valuable feedback on improving the areas you struggle in. The company you keep become a part of your personal brand, and having those connections not only increases your visibility, but your trustworthiness and expands your reach.

8. Refresh

While your personal brand should remain consistent, it does need to be refreshed every now and again. This doesn’t mean a complete overhaul of your personal brand, because your brand relates to your values and belief and changing your personal brand every other week would come across as flippant and superficial. Your personal brand should be timeless in its core, but also evolving to include your specialisations and new experiences. When refreshing your personal brand, you should look at your progress, how far you’ve come and what helped you along the way, and whether your goals have changed or evolved.

Actively curating a personal brand can differentiate you in your industry and staying true to that personal brand can make you recognisably trustworthy and an industry leader. With the rise of social media and the blurred line between personal and professional life, itis more important than ever to actively create your personal brand and stick to it.

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