What's your Personal Brand?

In a world where we are overwhelmed by choice between increasingly similar options, how do we decide which product, event or even type of people are right for us? Our choices always come back to Branding.

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Whether or not to engage or buy from a brand is a decision often made on an emotional level. On a subconscious level your internal compass asks, ‘does this brand align to my values and beliefs?’ ‘Is the person representing this brand someone I want to work or align myself with?’

We might think that these decisions are made only in relation to products or services, however these choices are also made when we consider who to interact with on a personal and professional level.

You can only stand out from the crowd if you have something your target group can connect and want to be associated with. This is usually called your USP – Unique Selling Proposition, something that makes you unique and can’t be offered by the person next to you.

For example, consider Mary and Jane. Mary and Jane have exactly the same professional background: a Marketing Degree from Bobby Brown University, 5 years work experience in Digital Marketing, plus the same career ambitions  of becoming a Manager and earning 500 clams a year.

How does a prospective employer decide between Mary and Jane in this instance?  Naturally, an employer would turn to comparing Mary and Janes’ passion, drive and dedication to achieve their dreams. And how would they judge it? Well like it or not, everybody has a personal brand that your colleagues, industry peers and prospective employers are constantly considering – both consciously and unconsciously.

The things you do, say and the people you choose to associate yourself with build your brand, so what would yours say about you?  If you are passionate about achieving your career ambitions then you need to get serious about personal branding and make the most of your profile.

First off you need to make a conscious choice. Do you really want to work on your personal brand? Will you use every opportunity to represent yourself in the best and most genuine way? If yes, then your next step is a ‘personal brand audit’ to consider what others see or think about you. This information can be discovered with a little personal reflection time, and can also be uncovered by asking some trusted friends or peers. Then its time to define your personal brand development cycle, the same you would use for any brand:

  • Build your brand foundation and do your homework – define your USP and be specific about what makes you unique and what you want to stand for. Most importantly, you must remain genuine – you can’t convince someone of your “passion” and strength in an area if you don’t truly believe it, or are not willing to live and breathe it, day in day out.
  • Be clear of your target group – define exactly who you wish to appeal to, and what you want to achieve. Do you want to land your next dream job, be recognized as an industry expert, or wish to attract employees to work with you?
  • Then do your research and be clear where, when and how you can reach your target group. Is your target group online? If so, which channel(s)? Remember that your target market might only be on one or two channels such as LinkedIn and Twitter, or maybe just Facebook. Wherever they are, you need to be. Then do a little analysis. Find out when they are most active, and what kind of topic/content they are typically interested in reading or engaging with.  If your target market is offline (ie. the ‘real’ world) then think about what kind of events, seminars and places do they attend, and how can you connect with them there?
  • Be consistent – now that you know what you have to offer, who you wish to engage with and where,  its time to make the engagement happen! Have a consistent statement and the same (professional) profile picture. Write about, make comment on, and re-post about the industry topics that matter to your target market.
  • Manage your brand – this is where the hard work starts. Building a brand is not difficult but developing and maintaining it beyond a basic presence is. It requires constant refining and investment. You can’t expect to be top of your target group’s mind by simply posting or sharing an article every fortnight or whenever you find the time.

Ultimately, personal branding is the chance to marketing yourself and your skills to achieve your goals.

Whether you are aiming to land your new dream gig, attracting outstanding talent, increasing your customer base or build a network you must build and manage positive perceptions of yourself so that your target market want to ‘buy’ from you (metaphorically speaking that is!).

Treat your personal brand as a bank account – the more you invest in it, the more you will get out of it. With perseverance, genuine enthusiasm and consistency you will perfectly position yourself to achieve your goals.

If you need more guidance, or want a little coaching to find your strength then fill out the below contact form to book a one on one session with Women in Digital and make 2016 your best year yet!

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