What do people think when they hear your name?
Sassy or astute? Party animal or animal activist? Worldly or well-travelled? What is it that people think when they hear your name. Janet Faulding, General Manager of SEEK New Zealand, shares her thoughts on personal branding.
Many a marketer’s success has been defined by their ability to build brands. But today, brand building is not just for the marketing department, it’s for individuals too. Brands are no longer the realm of the corporate, but also the responsibility of the individual and there is actually little difference, besides the obvious, between the approach in developing a corporate brand and personal brand. Both focus on core values, vision and how best to market the brand to the rest of the world.
There are three things you need to know about your personal brand – it has to be authentic, it is all encompassing and it has to be unique to yourself. Focus on it from these three angles and you will develop a brand that speaks for itself and promotes yourself in the best possible light.
3 personal branding essentials
Authenticity – your brand encapsulates your thoughts, words and actions, and the truer these are to your values the more authentic your brand is. The more authentic, the more people are drawn to you and the easier it is to build and promote yourself.
All encompassing – your brand doesn’t stop at 5pm, it is with you wherever you go. Good or bad, it follows you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, political rallies and the bar on Friday night; from the ski field to a rousing debate at a dinner party. It covers the way you behave, speak and interact over all mediums and with all people. Your brand is never off duty and that’s why authenticity is imperative; no one can keep up a charade that long.
Unique – no two humans are the same, therefore no two personal brands are the same. Do not try to emulate the kind of brand you think is attractive to employers or your peers. Promote all that is good and true about yourself.
Promoting your personal brand
Once you have developed your brand, you then have to learn how to effectively promote it. This must be done with true self awareness of who you are, what you have to offer and what makes yourself different, and it must all be done authentically. Treat every connection with the same degree of interest and importance, because like the old saying goes “be nice to people on the way up, because you will meet them on the way down”.
A personal brand is not reserved for the youthful, in fact it can be almost more important as you age to retain focus on who you are and what you represent. You see, for me and my peers (40+ thank you), the challenge is to remain relevant in the market. This is everything from how you look and how you dress to understanding and participating in the technological advancements that shape the business world today.
Too many people as they age don’t want to learn new tricks. They think that personal brand doesn’t matter to them. But it does and they have the richest base to draw off – old fashioned face-to-face connections, experience and reputation.
While some people bemoan the ‘always on’ mentality of a personal brand, if you are true to yourself and always portray the best version of you, it isn’t a chore but merely a magnified version of your reputation.
Building an effective personal brand is not hard work, but it does need some thought and attention. But get it right and you’ll reap the rewards.