You don’t have to be a business or marketing expert to know about brands. As a consumer, you’re already quite knowledgeable about brands. Chances are, you’ve encountered at least five brands in the last five minutes… probably more. You encounter brands through print, television, radio, outdoor billboards, websites, and through social media… and the list goes on.
In all the brands you encounter, if asked about your favorite one, you would easily be able to describe specific details like how you perceive them, what makes them different from others, their strengths, and some of their weaknesses. Take for example, the brand for your favorite snack food. Because it’s your favorite, you have an image of it in your mind, its colors and can describe key differences that makes it stand out. In fact, these special traits are what other brands might try to copy.
When people think about you… what do they imagine? Which of your strengths do they think of first? Can they express the qualities that make you unique? Can they easily describe aspects about you they admire?
Tough questions, yes?
If you think of yourself as a brand and act like one, you can shape how others perceive you. One way to think of yourself as a brand, is by imagining you are the best and only version of you. You could think of yourself as a special machine that effortlessly runs when others break down. Or, like an appliance that performs efficiently and tirelessly no matter what the task. To act like a brand, you need to define your image with its special traits. Brands that we are familiar with use certain colors, shapes, text, and other visual elements that make them appear great, especially when compared to other competing brands.
Colors, shapes, text, and other visual elements can show whether you’re fun and playful, serious, inspiring, or careful. For example, polka dots have a history that goes back many years. Historians associate polka dots with early art and as a simplified interpretation of the stars in the universe. The pattern shows up on furniture, architecture, and on clothes. While they can be seen as playful, they are often seen as a timeless, classic pattern that is very familiar.
How else can you act like a brand?
You can act like a brand by noting your skills and abilities and using them around others. What other traits would you like to come to other people’s minds when they think of your brand? What about trust, respect, responsibility, or skillfulness?
What people see matters, but what words you use also matter. The words you use… your messages… should relate to your strengths and de-emphasize your weaknesses (though we all have weaknesses). Avoid the temptation to self-deprecate. For example, forget using a negative trait to describe yourself and experiences. Never say, “I’ve been told I’m stubborn.” Or, “I’ve been told I have a strange name.” What you’re doing is attaching a negative interaction to you and that person that you’ll always be trying to redeem.
An alternative might be to say, “I’ve been told that I’m hard-working and reliable.” Or, “I’ve been told I have a memorable name.” Instead of being negative, it’s positive. Attach a positive interaction to that first experience someone has when they are introduced to you and your brand. This shows that you are very self-aware. Being aware of your personal brand means you will deliberately choose words that anchor positive qualities about you in the other person’s mind.
Why build your personal brand?
Why should you work on your personal brand? Doing so will expose you to more opportunities. Whether you are interviewing for a new job in your chosen field, joining a board, or starting a new business, building your personal brand can get you noticed and firmly established in the minds of others.
Looking for a job? Developing your career? Try the Quick, Clean, and Effective Resume Checklist for Job Seekers and make sure your resume makes a good first impression with hiring managers!
Tip: Are you building a business? If yes, improving your personal brand can positively affect your ability to obtain customers.
Ways to Build Your Personal Brand
To establish yourself in the minds of others, you’ll need proven ways to do that. Pick one of these approaches, or try all nine.
- Share your knowledge as a subject matter expert. Arrange a talk or workshop for a group.
- Keep an organized, up-to-date list of contacts and communicate with them regularly. Show value by sharing information they can use. Don’t forget to share updates about yourself.
- Learn a marketable skill and confirm it with a certification.
- Create a LinkedIn profile and use an actionable headline that catches attention.
- Sign up for a website and include a carefully-written professional bio.
- Get professional headshots.
- Publish articles on LinkedIn about topics you know a lot about.
- Craft a special email signature with your contact information.
- Obtain professional business cards with your contact information.
Get started building your personal brand today so you can open yourself up to great experiences for your personal and professional life. A more successful you is waiting to be cultivated.
Does your personal brand need help? Reach out and contact us. We strengthen the branding of individuals and business. Schedule an appointment today!