Personal branding is about aligning every visible aspect of your life with your brand. It’s not about creating an inflated version of yourself that is ego driven and difficult to maintain. A true, authentic brand will enable you to make an instant and lasting impression on the people you meet.
When you build your brand, it allows you to create a name for yourself, attract more meaningful opportunities, and better connect with your target clients and potential consumers. No matter what your personal goals may be, branding yourself, making a consistent, positive impression on people will help you achieve them. The process of building your brand begins with defining your core sense of self.
Know Your Brand
Knowing your brand sounds easy enough, but how do you figure out what your brand is? First, you have to define who you are. The beginning of any branding process is being able to clearly define that brand. In personal branding, the product is you! Spend time studying yourself and figuring out what is important to you. Only with a strong sense of yourself in mind can you begin to identify your target market, set yourself apart from your competitors and communicate your brand to the people who need to know you.
Define Who You Are
So how do you figure out who you really are? Defining who you are is the foundation of branding. Without knowing who you are, you are marketing something that isn’t really you. Personal branding is all about authenticity, and you need to define yourself before you can market yourself authentically.
Figure out what matters to you. Developing a personal brand requires being more aware of yourself and your choices. It’s about knowing your needs, defining your values and focusing on the things you love to do. Write a personal mission statement, outline your vision and figure out your unique place in the world. Study your strengths, your weaknesses and find ways to let your personality shine. Set goals to enhance your brand and focus on bridging the gap between who you are and what you want from your life.
Identify Your Target Audience
Before you can communicate your brand to the right people, you must identify who needs to know about you and what you have to offer. Imagine your ideal client or workplace. If you could wave a magic wand, what would be your ideal scenario? If you are searching for a job, focus on potential employers. Once you identify your target market, you can figure out ways in which you can align yourself with them. Attend professional conferences, networking events and tradeshows. Take advantage of every opportunity to learn and meet members of your target audience.
Know Your Niche
Having a personal brand is owning the business - of you. You can begin to create your own niche by picking a specific area that you want to be great at and claiming it. Ask yourself, which problems are you especially good and solving or who seems to be drawn to you. Cultivate yourself as an expert within that niche market. Then, figure out ways in which you can differentiate your brand from all other brands, this is easy to do when you are uniquely and authentically, you.
Write Your Story
Humans are hard-wired for storytelling. We use narratives to make sense of the world around us. Stories help us envision and share the change we want to see in the world. Storytelling is one of the most important aspects of building your personal brand. It allows you to connect with your target audience and build trust among the people you want to serve. Practice creating your own personal commercial in which you (quickly) describe who you are, what you do and the most important elements of your personal brand.
Communicate Your Brand to the World
The goal is to tell your brand’s story, to engage and impress your audience with your personality as well as your skills. Whether it be through your resume, bio or cover letter, it is important to construct a brand message that represents you effectively and best reflects your mission, goals and values. Once you have a full picture of who you are, an understanding of your niche market and have written your brand story, it is time to take your message public.
So, how do you best communicate your brand to the world? You can use more traditional communication tools like writing articles for publications in your field, speaking on panels or booking public speaking engagements. You can also leverage the power of online communication by developing a web presence and engaging in social media. Whatever your method of choice, be sure that you express your personal brand with confidence and energy. Communicate your message clearly, consistently and constantly.
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