The world is getting noisier every day. Competition is at an all time high. The choice of who to buy from is getting harder and harder. The brand that’s always going to win is the one that’s most trusted. And that’s why personal branding is so important. It’s easier to trust a face—a person—than a faceless corporation.
A strong personal brand gives you a competitive advantage and allows you to establish a reputation and an identity while maintaining a personal level of trust and interaction.
WHAT IS PERSONAL BRANDING?
Personal branding is a way of establishing and consistently reinforcing who you are and what you stand for in your career and life.
WHAT PERSONAL BRANDING ISN’T
Forbes did a study and found that 70% of professionals believe that they have developed their personal brand and that they know how people perceive them and what their reputation is. Only 15% of them were right. Especially about the reputation part. Why the disconnect?
When people hear personal and branding in the same sentence, they think it is the same as self-promotion. That it’s about talking about yourself and what you do. But personal branding doesn’t actually have to do with you. It’s about who other people know you to be.
As Jeff Bezos says, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”.
So What Are The Components of A Strong Personal Brand?
Personal branding is like an onion—it has layers. Each layer establishing another layer of trust. Here are the 6 elements of a personal brand:
1. At the center it’s all about you. Who are you? What do you stand for? Who are you trying to help? What stories can you share from your own personal experience? What makes you different or better than others at helping your audience?
2. Next is your personal brand statement: What are you best at? What value do you bring? Who do you serve? How do you serve them? Ask yourself:
- In which areas do I excel?
- What motivates me?
- What characteristics have others complimented me on?
- What tasks do others have to help me with repeatedly?
- Which roles seem to drain my energy?
- Which projects can I spend hours on without feeling overwhelmed or tired?
Determine what you want to be known for. Your personal brand is more than a reflection of who you are today; it’s a roadmap of where you to go.
3. The third element is imagery. How are you presenting yourself online? This should reflect your brand statement. Think about your headshot, the photos and videos you post. Make sure they reflect who you are. If you are fun and goofy, post fun and goofy videos that still showcase your expertise and knowledge of your industry and audience.
4. Social Proof. Ultimately you have to prove you do what you say you can do, right? That’s where social proof comes in. This is proof that you are good at what you say you are good at. Do you have an engaged audience? Testimonials from clients, coworkers, community members? LinkedIn recommendations? All of those elements boost your credibility and build your personal brand.
5. Next is the content you create: I know—content. Why do we always have to create content?! You need to create content around your expertise that builds trust and credibility, grows your audience and builds your brand. As we’ve mentioned before, consistency here is key. You need to show up often and authentically.
6. The final element of personal branding is your products and services. Isn’t that crazy? You don’t actually talk about your services or products until all of the other layers are established. Why? All of the other steps build a know, like and trust factor with your target audience. Once you’ve built your brand and trust, share what you offer your clients to solve their biggest problems. They will feel like they know you by then, and feel confident choosing to work with you.
No Idea Where To Start? Try This
Grab a piece of paper. Quickly, without thinking too hard about it, write down the answers to these two questions:
- What 3 words would I use to describe myself when I first meet someone?
- What 3 words would someone else use to describe me having just met me?
Spend no more than 30 seconds writing these 6 words down. Look at your answers. Do they match? What’s different? Why?
Choose 3 adjectives that you wish to portray, whether they match your above list or not. They shouldn’t be too far off, because they should represent you. For example, if you’re shy, you won’t suddenly be outgoing. The first step to building your personal brand is knowing yourself and your personality and also knowing how others perceive you.
To take it a step further, email or message 3 friends, colleagues or clients this week and ask them to send you what three words they would choose for you. See what consistencies are there. Do they match the words you want to represent your personal brand? This is a good place to start with developing your personal brand.
Want help? Reach out and let’s strategize how to build a killer personal brand people want to connect with and work with.