Personal branding is the process of shaping your personal identity so that you can best communicate who you are, what you do, and how to help people get in touch with you. It includes self-presentation, public storytelling, and the crafting of professional communication.
Just like any other tool in marketing strategy or online entrepreneurship promotion, personal branding is a helpful tool that can engage customers and help generate word-of-mouth recommendations. But it is an indispensable tool if you want to stand out from the crowd. Even if your skills and education make you a hot commodity on the job market, employers respond better when they know who you are.
This means that if you’re unemployed, it’s in your best interest to work on your personal branding in order to maximize your chances of getting hired. And even if you’re already working full-time, this may help you get a better job or even become an entrepreneur yourself.
Personal Branding Principles
Personal branding is about defining yourself and communicating your personal brand identity to your audience. When you put a lot of thought into who you are and what you offer, chances are you’ll be better at selling your products or services. You’ll also have more confidence when promoting yourself since it’s easier to believe in something if it’s from someone who believes in themselves.
Here are some tips and principles that will help you create a personal brand:
1) Tell your story.
The most effective way to create a brand is to let your story do the talking. That’s because people are more likely to listen and trust you when you have a relatable story they can identify with. Even if you’re not a hero, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a compelling journey to share.
2) Choose your best asset—and use it.
We all have certain characteristics that make us unique and special; identify what yours is and then use them to create your brand – uniquely YOU. For example, if you’re tall (shoe size notwithstanding), play up your height in your photo. If you have a great smile, make sure you smile for the camera. The more you let your personality shine through, the easier it will be for people to recognize you and connect with your brand.
3) Don’t hide behind jargon or buzzwords.
Many people use common industry buzzwords or jargon when promoting themselves, thinking that they’re doing great in the marketing department. Unfortunately, these words are just a red flag to your audience; since they don’t understand what you’re saying, they’ll tune you out and move onto someone else. To avoid sounding like a robot, try to avoid overly technical language and focus more on communicating your message in an easy-to-understand manner.
4) Be yourself.
Just because you’re promoting yourself doesn’t mean you have to hide your true self. In fact, it’s better if you can come across as being genuine, passionate and honest. This is important in order to form a good relationship with your audience and potential customers.
5) Be admirable.
Sometimes people think that in order to stand out from the crowd they need to be controversial or negative, but that’s not true. In fact, you want your brand to be an example of a person who does the right thing and lives life in a way that’s admirable. This doesn’t necessarily mean being perfect, but it could mean being brave; you can illustrate this by sharing how you’ve overcome adversity and made life-changing decisions. For example, instead of talking about how you’ve gone through difficult times or had major failures that taught you lessons, talk about how your past experiences have made you stronger in the present day.
6) Be memorable.
To really stand out, you need to be memorable. This means that even if someone comes across you even once, they’ll still remember who you are. That’s because you’re not just a one-off occurrence. You’re part of your audience’s memory and their own story.
7) Be authentic.
Just like you can’t be fake, you can’t be disingenuous when it comes to your personal branding. What this means is that if you’re a real person (with real problems and aspirations), people will naturally gravitate towards you and your brand will eventually flourish as a result. You’re not selling yourself—you’re selling who you are. This is especially important in the era of social media, where everyone knows everyone else’s name, hobbies and interests. You’re not just selling the services or products that you offer; you’re also selling your personality and brand.
Use branding as a way to express who you are. Become confident in your skills, abilities and talents. In other words, personal branding is about expressing yourself creatively through public storytelling and self-presentation strategies so that people will be drawn to your identity.
Strive for excellence—whether you’re a student or a professional.
Promote yourself in the best way you know-how.
And remember that personal branding is not just your job; it’s your life. If you apply these principles to everything that you do, your personal brand will be evident everywhere you go and will help promote your business.