When you hear the word ‘brand’, what comes to mind? The embroidered logo on your favorite polo shirt? Flashy TV adverts? The packet of crisps on your desk? More than ever, branding is all around us. It’s what sells chocolate bars, it’s what gives tired companies or products a new lease of life. The impact of a good brand is undeniable; branding = power. So, what does this have to do with you? Everything. When you’re applying for a new job, chasing a promotion or even trying to win business, you’re only selling one product: you. Therefore, your own personal brand needs to be clear and it needs to be strong.
Who am I?
A brand is so much more than an eye-catching logo or a cheesy slogan. A company’s branding encompasses many aspects of the business and its products: personality, reputation and mission to name but a few. A brand is what differentiates a product and makes it stand out.A lot can be learned from the power of branding. The thing is, if you don’t know what your personal brand is, how will anyone else? How will you sell it? Consider yourself, as a professional, and ask yourself some honest questions:
What separates you from your competition?
What’s your unique selling point?
What is your mission statement?
How do you demonstrate/express all of the above to others?
If these questions are difficult to answer, then it’s time to invest in defining and strengthening your personal brand.
Defining your personal brand
This is another essential question to ask yourself when forming your personal brand. No, there’s no need for an existential crisis right now! A great starting point in developing your own personal brand is to reflect upon who you are as a professional and what role, or roles, you have come to play within a business setting. That doesn’t mean the job you do, but more what type of co-worker or employee you are. Are you the leader who thrives on helping others to reach their potential? Are you the supportive type who lives to help others? Have you developed a reputation based on your strong morals? Is creativity your lifeblood? Is your special skill implementing change or bringing results? Do others come to you as a source of knowledge or expertise? Whatever the answer or there may be a few, this should form part of your personal brand.
Marketing your personal brand
During an interview –What use is branding if no-one sees it? How are you going to sell yourself during a job application or an interview if you don’t let your personal brand shine? In the specific setting of a job interview, to successfully market your brand, it’s important to be clever with your responses to any questions you are asked. Before your interview, as part of your preparations, remind yourself of the aspects of your brand. Try to think of ways you could incorporate the different facets of your personal brand into conversation.
Social Media – Your personal brand isn’t just something to show off during an interview. Your personal brand could be the key to your professional success. Social media is an excellent way to showcase you're personal brand. Make sure your personal and professional profiles present you in the right light, in line with the brand you’re trying to get across. Lock down your personal accounts’ privacy settings if needs be.
Communication – There are so many platforms for communication these days. Texting, emailing, talking on the phone or communicating the good old-fashioned way, face-to-face. Whichever method you’re using at any given time, the way you communicate with others is a great way to showcase your personal brand. (The trick is to make sure you’re always audience-appropriate.)
Don’t harm your brand
Building a personal brand and the associated reputation is hard work! So, it’s up to you to ensure that you don’t do anything that could harm your brand. You’ve seen it before, companies and brands destroyed by one piece of bad press or a scandal. When it comes to your professional success, you don’t want to take any risks.Avoid the following when it comes to your personal brand:
Lying about your strengths or achievements – the truth will come out!
Being arrogant or cocky when selling your brand
Letting your standards slip
A dog-eat-dog mentality – if you treat others poorly, your reputation will be tarnished
Wrapping it all up
Your personal brand encompasses who you are as a professional and can therefore make or break your career success. To have a strong personal brand, it’s important to define it, evaluate it and sell it. There are multiple platforms that will allow you to market your personal brand so make sure you’re well represented at every turn.
About the Author: CareerExperts is the go-to career advice site for professional development advice, management and leadership innovation and job searching tips. They use their wealth of expertise and experience to help other success-seekers achieve their career goals.