“Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies, Me, Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”
In last week’s blog post, I discussed the importance of authenticity in establishing your personal brand. After all, a personal brand isn’t about creating a persona, but showing the human side of your business.
For this week, I thought that we’d look at how you can effectively market and communicate your own personal brand. Let’s also just quickly review why you need to develop a personal brand:
- Personal branding is the strategy behind the world’s most successful entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson, Sarah Blakely, Tony Hsieh, Blake Mycoskie and Bill Gates. It is the difference between an ordinary business and an exceptional one creating impact in the world. If they haven’t already, it is just a matter of time before your competitors jump on the “brandwagon”. So uncovering, building and nurturing your brand now will ensure that you get out in the front of the pack and experience business success beyond your wildest dreams.
If you still have doubts, here are some questions you should ask:
- Do you currently stand out among your competitors?
- Can your product or service command higher financial returns?
- Is your company achieving its goals?
- How do you want your company to evolve?
It doesn’t matter if you’re a small, medium or large-sized business, establishing a personal brand as the leader will have you giving affirmative and compelling answers to these questions. You can easily live out your personal brand by following these five steps:
- Utilize social media for visibility and business development. This has become the go-to tool to build your brand. Both LinkedIn and Twitter have the capacity to really raise your visibility. However, LinkedIn is definitely still the most used social media tool for people looking to grow their business visibility. Here consistency is key. People expect certain outcomes and behaviors based upon how you’ve established your brand. To strengthen the brand, you will need to ensure that you deliver to the expectations you’ve set.
- Dress for success and to impress. Appearance matters no matter what. We can try to say that we only focus on the “inner person”. However, we form our opinions of a person within the first minute of meeting someone. There isn’t any ill intent or maliciousness. It’s just human nature. Given that this is part of human nature, why not try to impact how others perceive you in a positive fashion.
- Network by leveraging connections. With this you want to maximize opportunities to build relationships. So get out there meeting and talking to people. Schedule coffee get-togethers, lunches or dinners. Share with others what your business dreams are. Also think outside the norm when it comes to networking. How effective are the Chamber of Commerce events really? Instead look at industry-specific workshops, charity events or community activities to expand your circle of influence. When you’ve made a great connection, build the relationship consistently.
- Create and organize your workspace to inspire yourself and others. Look at your own work space/office. Does it make you feel like you’re someone who has authority and power? Is your office inviting for others to meet and get things done? Or do you hide behind piles of work on your desk and clutter? Do people feel like they can approach you or do you hide behind closed doors? Do you show off your accomplishments by displaying diplomas and awards? Do you actually feel like spending time in your office because it stimulates your productivity?
- Design a work style that works for you. Create systems that allow you to keep track of your project ownership and initiatives. What systems do you have in place to organize all the information that comes across your desk and also allows for daily brain dumps? How do you keep track of projects? How are you kept in the loop on organizational or industry issues? This isn’t to add to your already full plate, but to allow you to communicate confidently in meetings through your personal brand and to be able to direct your team in ways that optimize performance. If you’re scatter-brained and disorganized, your team and project approaches will reflect this right back to you. Become known for taking positive actions and accomplishing things. Decide on tools that can help you do the same.
It’s all about progress and not perfection. People love a leader who shows that he/she is human. As I stated above, it’s not about creating a persona, but showing the true you. Happy brand building!
If you need support in building your personal brand, I’d love to help you. For more information on a personal branding strategy session with me, just visit here.