Are you thinking about looking for a new job, or possibly starting a business, consider these personal branding tips to help you get started. Branding yourself is just as important as branding your products and services, and should be taken just as seriously.
Consider this a business investment in yourself.
- Understand your brand: What is your brand, meaning what is it you do that solves a problem, creates a solution, is engaging or different? What makes you/your brand successful? And why should I consider you when thinking about my needs?
- Identify your skills, talents, and interests. Knowing what you’re good at; why you’re passionate about something; and how you can turn that into a win-win for you and clients or an employer are key elements to a successful brand.
- Know your brand promise. This goes for you as an employee or you as a business owner. What will you deliver on? For example, as an employee, you know your strengths and what you can deliver on for your employer. As a business owner, you have to build trust among your customers to do something on time, within budget, and with quality.
- Develop an elevator pitch. This should be something that can be said within 3 to 30 seconds, and includes our name, what service you provide, the problem you can solve, and how you can connect either via social/online, in person (e.g., coffee), or at events. Keep this in simple language that you can remember and share at a moment’s notice. Try practicing at networking events.
According to Mashable, there are three additional things to consider when developing a killer personal brand, including:
- Be consistent and recognizable. Think of those iconic brands that you can name just from an image or tag line. Take a cue from them and create something people will easily remember. It may even be a simple as the company name.
- Know your value. One of the hardest things I’ve learned over the years is to be true to my personal value. Think of the successful people you know and ask yourself this, would they do the same thing I’m doing for the price I’m charging? Also remember, it’s not about value pricing, but more about quality and service. People can go just about anywhere and get anything. So, why are they coming to you in the first place?
- Recognize your niche. Having a clear sense of who your customer is and their needs is paramount. Think of it this way, who knew we needed sweatpants that looked like jeans? Someone did. And, I’m sure they are making a profit selling them.
Randy Komisar said this, and I couldn’t agree with him more, “Don’t let career drive you, let passion drive your life. That may not get you up any ladder, but it will make your trip down a long and winding road more interesting.”
- 1-2 sentences
- Value + Audience + Unique Selling Point (USP)
- Memorable, punchy, solution oriented
- It’s not a job title, personal mission statement, career objective, or life purpose.
- “I help businesses and individuals build and promote lasting brands.” Ryan Rancatore
- “I help people to clear their head trash and find their mojo. Once they find their mojo, I help them to set it on fire!” Alexia Leachman
- “I am a social media trainer and consultant, specializing in LinkedIn, branding, and recruitment.” Jorgen Sundberg
The following is a brief checklist of things to consider when creating your personal brand.
- Brand Mission: Develop a clearly stated mission that states the purpose and answers the question “Why I exist for customers?”
- Elevator Pitch: Creating a clear elevator speech that clearly identifies who you are, what you do, and why I should care.
- Niche Market: Identify the niche market and provide a detailed description of the niche.
- Competition: Research and identify your competition, note any comparisons and differences.
- Profiles: Develop and create social profiles that are consistent across all platforms.
- Content Strategy: What is the plan to provide content for the profiles? How often will you post on each? Is the content strategy consistent with brand and relevant within the industry?
- Graphic Design: Do all pieces have a professional look to them, both for print and digital?
- Brand Personality: Is the brand personality clearly defined and consistent in all media and design elements?
- Tagline: Does the tagline communicate the purpose in an unexpected or un-obvious way? Taco Bell’s tagline “Think outside the bun” is a great example.
Branding is about you. A strong personal brand is not about how long you’ve been building it, but how well you’ve been doing it.
For more on personal branding, view our Personal Branding slide deck.
Tell us how you’ve successfully launched a personal brand, and share advice for those just starting out.