Personal branding is a step that anyone can take into promoting their self-image. Self-branding can help in not only the business world but in your personal life as well.
Branding doesn't mean selling yourself out. It just says you understand what you are about and how you want to be seen by others.
Some people may hate the words “personal branding”. It may make them feel uncomfortable or as though they cannot trust the person saying those words. People see personal branding as a way to fabricate a false image so other people will buy into their life.
In reality, personal branding is not about creating a lie, but creating a clearer picture of self for others to see.
Personal branding is about understanding everything that makes you, you. Now, you can use personal branding to get ahead in the business and marketing world, but that is not all that it can do for you and your well-being.
If you want to create a strong personal brand there a few things you should know before starting out. But first things first, let’s define what personal branding is.
What Exactly Is Personal Branding?
The term personal branding came into the marketing world in 1937 in Napoleon Hill’s book entitled “Think and Grow Rich.” Mr. Hill outlined plans on how a person could excel in the business world. In one chapter, he discussed the importance of making a brand.
A personal brand is creating a unique professional identity with a clear message about what you want the public to know about you.
What personal branding does for you is to create an image in people’s minds when they see your name or your face. If you want to be seen as a professional, you will connect with professional personality traits or how you present yourself.
For example, when we see a person who is wearing a nice, tailored suit, hair perfectly manicured, and shoes expertly polished, we automatically equate that person as being a professional, even if that is not the case.
As cliché as the saying “make a great first impression” is, the statement contains strong truths.
Now that you understand the basics of personal branding, it is time to learn how to use personal branding to promote your business and own life:
Identify Your Values
Before you begin creating a brand, you need to understand your values. What do you stand for? What do you believe in? The best way to do that makes a list of things that you feel strongly about.
For example, if you value honesty above all. You can use that trait to create a personal brand of honesty and trust.
Find what you hold sincerely within yourself and use those traits to begin to map out your brand.
What Makes You Unique?
Think about what makes you different from everyone else. Why would someone want to be connected to your brand? Are you funny? Do you speak another language? Are you adventurous?
Create a document where you can write out what makes you unique compared to other people. Once you do that, you have a better understanding of what you are about and what you are trying to accomplish with your brand.
The critical thing to remember is to be entirely sincere with your answers. Do not exaggerate your qualities but celebrate them. A personal brand is not about creating a false image, and it about creates a sharp image of who you are in the minds of others.
Strengthen Your Values and Identity
Once you have your values and what makes you unique, strengthen those qualities. If you value social interactions, find ways to enhance that quality. For example, start going out to professional gatherings where you can connect with more people.
Not only are you strengthening your values, but you are also creating a secure social/business network which may help you in the long run.
What Type of Personality Do You Have?
One way to better to create a personal brand is to understand what type of personality you have.
There are five basic personality traits in psychology: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.
Openness defines a person who can easily connect with the experiences and viewpoints of others while also being receptive to new experiences.
Conscientiousness defines a person who is cautious in everything they do. They tend to plan out each step they will take before they make it.
Extraversion defines a person who loves social interactions. They tend to get their energy and their focus when they are around other people.
Agreeableness defines a person who can empathize with anyone they meet. They connect with a person on an emotional level.
Neuroticism defines a person who tends to worry and analyze.
Each personality trait comes with strengths and weaknesses. Understanding which personality you fall under prepares you to create a strong personal brand better.
Set Your Priorities
Once you have started to strengthen your values, start setting your priorities. What is essential in your life? Make a list numbered from one to ten to show what you prioritize over everything.
Whatever is at the top of the list, use that as your motivation.
Understanding Your Persona
After you have taken stock of who you are and what values you hold, you should be able to understand what persona you want to present to the public.
A persona is an aspect of a person’s character that is presented for the public to see. For example, take Oprah Winfrey for example. Oprah Winfrey has become one of the most influential people in our lifetime.
She did this by creating a strong persona.
When Oprah began her career, she created a new format for talk shows. She allowed her guests to open up and share stories where many of the shows ended with cathartic tears. Oprah slowly began to create a persona of empathy and humility.
Audiences liked how she wasn’t afraid to be vulnerable. Her vulnerability, empathy, and the ability to be open became her persona.
Think of a trait that you have within yourself to create a confident persona. For example, if you tend to be blunt and honest with your feedback, use that to create a trustworthy persona.
People enjoy those who are truthful because they do not feel the other person is hiding anything from them.
Where to Share?
Once you have an idea of what your brand should be, now you need to find a platform to share that brand. Many people use social media platforms to create a personal image since these platforms are free to use and allow for a more massive amount of people to connect with them.
Find the right social media platform for your brand. If you want people to see your life through pictures, use Instagram. If you want people to look at your brand through short, witty statements use Twitter. There is a plethora of options out there today.
Be mindful too that everyone else in the world is using social media to do the same thing as you. Use those unique qualities and values to stand out from the crowd.
Is Personal Branding Right for You?
If you know that your public image needs a facelift or a change, then creating a personal brand is an excellent option for you.
Or if you are trying to make it in the business or marketing world, a personal brand can give you the step up you might need. Personal branding can also help if you are trying to reevaluate who you are and what direction you want to go in life.
Taking stock of your values and priorities can help you better understand who you are and what you want out of life. Personal branding is not only about getting ahead in the business world but also about getting ahead in your life.
But before you can get started, you need to do an inventory of your traits, values, and the unique aspects of who you are so you can create a clear image for the public.
Branding is a great way for you to get your name and your experiences out there, but make sure you do it from a place of honesty. If you create a false image for people to see, you will be seen as less trustworthy.
If branding yourself is essential, then creating a truthful image should be your top priority. Whatever the reason for your branding, make sure your motivations are genuine and sincere.