Everyone is familiar with brands nowadays… Coca Cola, Nike and Apple are three great examples of successful branding strategies which guarantee top sales on a global level. What is it that makes people want to buy the latest IPhone, even if they still have a perfectly functioning mobile device? It has something to do with the image that Apple managed to create throughout the years: an image of technical development, popularity, quality, hype and performance. Even though there is not even a review out on the quality of the newest IPhone yet, people will automatically assume that it will be an amazing Smartphone because it’s from Apple. And they need to have it. Which brings us back to the topic of this article: just like these huge multinationals, also people can create a brand, an image which they radiate to the outside world, a.k.a. their personal brand.
So what does it mean to be a Personal Brand?
Forbes Magazine explains the concept of personal branding perfectly:
“Your personal brand should represent the value you are able to consistently deliver to those whom you are serving. This does not only mean self-promotion – that you should be creating awareness for your brand by showcasing your achievements and success stories. Managing your personal brand requires you to be a great role model, mentor, and / or a voice that others can depend upon.”
Of course you have to promote yourself and create (personal) brand awareness in order to get more career opportunities, but there is more to being a personal brand. If you imagine yourself as a company, promotion would be the job of the ‘marketing department’, not the job of the ‘strategical manager’ or the ‘executive manager’. By creating a personal brand, you must embody all the aspects of a real company. This might sound quite overwhelming, but in fact it shouldn’t be much more complicated than defining who you are as a person (personally and professionally speaking) and act accordingly, consistently.
What are the benefits of Personal Branding?
“Personal branding is about deciding to take an active role in the direction of your life. You benefit from creating a personal brand because it allows you to self-manage your life and stop depending on others to do it for you. Your personal brand helps you make the most of what you’ve got to offer.”
Personal Branding for Dummies explains in a very clear way why creating your own personal brand is beneficial. First of all, it is very empowering to decide who you are, what your unique promise is, and who you want to share it with. By looking at your strengths and qualities you get a huge confidence boost. Besides, personal branding also minimizes your weaknesses: it’s in our nature to want to improve our weaknesses, but by crafting your own brand, you can determine whether you really need your weakest skills at all.
Once you start ‘living’ your personal brand, you validate that you can be trusted to your target market, which increases your credibility and will make it more likely to get more customers (returning, and new ones!). Comforting is the fact that you have a unique combination of work experience, life experience, and personal characteristics that create the foundation for determining your specialized niche. If you focus your niche on a market segment that you know well and that you enjoy, it won’t be hard to stand out and proof your expertise! By defining yourself and your market you will be able to become known in the market of your choice and start building your own legacy.
Personal Branding success requires communicating your message to the right people – not necessarily to the entire world. Building a strong personal brand helps you interact with your target audience in a clear, consistent way that quickly becomes familiar. That consistency builds trust in your target audience, which allows emotional connections to form. Differentiation will help you stand out from the crowd of competition and get noticed faster. By differentiating yourself from the competition people will remember you and come to you in case they need your services.
Last but not least, a great benefit from creating a personal brand is the focus it creates. By creating a clear understanding of who you are, what you do best, who you want to work with, and how you want to use your talents, you also know what you don’t want in life. You will know better which opportunities to take and which offers to say ‘no’ to. You learn how to focus on what is really important to you. This will result in reinventing yourself and the tools you use in your professional life, which will make you work more efficient and safe you lots of time.
This was the first article on Personal Branding! Now that we established that it is in fact super important to start working on our own brand, it is time for more! Next week I will be publishing a blog on how to define your personal brand and how to manage it.
Lots of Love,