Marketing is everywhere. From the time we wake up and enjoy our first cup of Folger’s coffee to the time we brush our teeth with Colgate Optic White toothpaste and hop into our Tempurpedic bed, we are delivered thousands of messages from thousands of brands.
A brand sets a product or service apart from another product or service, or one person from another person. That’s right, we’re talking about personal branding. Remember, marketing is everywhere.
The American Marketing Association defines marketing as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”
We can then define personal branding as “the activity and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging your personal skills and experience that have value for employers, coworkers, clients, partners, and society at large.”
Why is a Personal Brand Important?
“Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how you leave others feeling after having an experience with you becomes your trademark.”
A personal brand, like a product’s brand, is important because it sets you apart from others. Your personal brand is constantly developing as you acquire new skills and experience. It answers the questions of who you are and what you want to accomplish in your career.
If you’re competing for your dream job or have your eyes set on a promotion, your personal brand can help you achieve these goals.
Personal branding is a great tool, but it’s overlooked by many people. Whether you’re a media buyer or a software engineer, personal branding is important for many reasons:
- A strong personal brand can help you be more competitive as a potential employee
- A strong personal brand can help you achieve career goals
- A strong personal brand can help you get a promotion
A personal brand, when presented in a clear and consistent way, tells people who you are and the value you could bring to their organization, project, or team. The great news is that we are all unique and each of us has something valuable to bring to a business, client, or customer.
How Do I Build a Personal Brand?
Like a product’s brand, there is a strategy to developing your personal brand. Here are 4 things to consider when building your brand.
- Develop Your Personal Brand Vision
- Identify and Cater to Your Target Audience
- Develop Your Online & Offline Presence
- Grow and Adjust Your Brand Accordingly
Personal Brand Vision
The first step a company takes when branding themselves is developing the brand’s vision. A personal brand begins with identifying your vision and where you want to go. Do not try to oversell or undersell yourself. Be honest with yourself, evaluating your strengths and weaknesses, and develop your brand around the unique things you offer.
Think about your career and the things you want to accomplish. Consider your values and what is most important to you. Write a personal mission statement; this will help you focus on your main goals and the values by which you will accomplish them.
Whether you want to become a CEO, start your own company, or become an expert in your field, a mission statement will lay the foundation for your personal brand because it should reveal who you are and where you are going.
Your Target Audience
Brands sell products or services to customers. Personal brands sell your experience and skills to potential employers, clients, or customers. In order to develop a strong, clear brand, you must know the audience you’re targeting.
Possible target audiences include:
- Potential employers
- Superiors within the organization
- Potential customers
One of the most important things in the marketing world is networking; it’s about who you know and who they know. You can advertise your personal brand as you network, building the relationships you need for current and future business. Connections are valuable assets for all people in business.
Online & Offline Presence
Social media offers people the chance to broadcast their personal brands to the world. Make sure you’re on all of the major social media sites:
- Youtube (Videos are gaining popularity and are a simple way to share more about yourself with your audience)
Make yourself a personal website with your resume, your experience, and your contact information. This provides another way for people to experience your brand.
For your offline presence, design a unique, creative business card. A business card with an innovative design that reflects your profession and your expertise can help set you apart from others. The design should match or complement your personal website, developing a consistent image.
The most important thing to remember when developing your personal brand is consistency. You want to provide people with a clear message of who you are and what you do; all of your social media sites and business cards should contain the same information and emphasize the same things. A clear brand is much more memorable than a brand sending mixed messages.
As you grow and develop new skills in your profession, your personal brand should grow as well.
Monitor your brand and how others are reacting to you. Like a business, you need to immediately respond to both positive and negative feedback. From Google Alerts to Hootsuite, there are plenty of tools to help you monitor your personal brand.
Here are the main things to remember when developing your personal brand:
- Be yourself; capitalize on your strengths
- Understand your target audience
- Present a cohesive image throughout your online and offline presence
- As you grow, make sure your personal brand grows too
Your personal brand tells us who you are, where you’re going, and the value you can bring. You offer something that nobody else can offer – you.