Personal Branding – it’s more than just a self promotion

You may have a good business, well-paid job, well-recognized university degree, but do you have a distinct personality? A unique personal and professional history that immediately stands out?

Think about your Personal Brand as the collection of values you stand for and the offerings you consistently deliver. Be clear on what differentiates you and your unique value proposition from others. There is only one you, after all. What are the special assets, skills, and experience you bring to the table? How do you want to be known?

In my case, this practice of defining my personal brand has not just let me fully showcase the work I do as a Finance Professional, it’s helped me cultivate and figure out who I want to be to the world.

Your Personal Brand is like your Trademark, which is why it must be carefully managed and protected. It is not a list of accomplishments or an exercise in self-promotion. That’s an important distinction.

We do it for our clients every day. We position CEO and designers as industry leaders using their talents, knowledge, and expertise. Why not do the same for yourself?

Start by imagining you are your own brand. Focus on your strengths, skills, and expertise that add distinguishable value. Then do what you do best and publicize it. Get a website, update the LinkedIn, blog – relentlessly inform others of what you are doing. The ultimate goal is visibility.

Personal branding will give you an edge whether looking for a new job or pitching to a new client. If you are qualified, show people you are.

Most entrepreneurs understand the importance of branding when it comes to business. Building a well-recognized and respected business brand adds tremendous value and can create a significant competitive advantage. Just see “Apple”. So why, then, do so many entrepreneurs fail to recognize the value in building an equally recognized and respected personal brand?

In public relations, you are your own greatest asset. You are the face of your agency and clients whether you are pitching the media or attending an event. If you can promote yourself, your boss and your clients can trust you to build and promote their brand.

For me, growing a brand is like growing a plant. By default, a brand is like a couple of roots in the soil, with some height and leaves for the growth that’s been done so far. Unlike a real plant — which requires set elements of water, sunlight, and oxygen to exist — a brand, and the person it’s attached to, doesn’t have any set elements it needs to succeed and there are no constraints. You can put anything you want into your brand and it will grow into whatever you want it to be. Where your brand goes — how large or small it is, how fast it grows — that’s all up to you. You can even change direction halfway through, which is something you can’t say about plants.

Personal branding, or the practice of individuals marketing themselves and their careers as brands, may seem to many an exercise in vanity. Doing things to promote yourself, such as having a personal website, a portfolio of professional headshots, and an on-the-go personal pitch, is often considered the routine of self-interested people, from well-known celebrities to annoying co-workers who boast about themselves nonstop in the break room.

Done properly, however, a personal brand can be much more (or less) than just self-promotion. It can be a personal — and private — exercise in establishing confidence, credibility, and courage as well as help you define priorities and focus on those aspects of your life you enjoy most.

At this point, it’s established that personal branding is important for a number of reasons. It provides a clear focus for personal development while establishing yourself as a thought leader. It also works wonders for career success, allowing individuals to pursue whatever it is that they’re passionate about. The mutual relationship between career success and personal branding is a truly unique dynamic that, when understood, has the potential to launch a person to new heights.

Here are some tips for personal branding:

Stop trying to do social media and just be social. Treat social media platforms and new connections just as you would in real life, be human.
Start a blog. Sharing your opinions, knowledge, and perspective through a blog is the easiest way to show people who you really are.
Network. Who you know is just as important as what you know. Dedicate some time on a monthly basis to simply network with others.
Be unique. Don’t create a brand that’s just like everyone else’s. Find out what makes you different and leverage that so people have something to remember you by.


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