Whether you’ve put much thought into it or not, you’ve got a personal brand.
The bigger question is whether you nurtured it yourself, or whether other people’s perceptions created it for you. As we progress through our careers, the way that we portray ourselves becomes more and more critical to our success. Especially today, as workplaces become fragmented and many of us work from home or hybrid, it can feel harder to make an impression on colleagues or clients.
Having a personal brand that is solid and refined helps you to make the right impression on the right people.
What is a personal brand?
At its core, your personal brand refers to how you are perceived by others. It is influenced by the way you look, what you stand for, your strengths, achievements, aspirations and how you lead your life. When you take control of your own personal brand, you can begin to shape how people see you and what you have to offer.
Essentially, how are you marketing yourself to those around you?
Someone’s personal brand can be crucial to them differentiating themselves from others. As we seek to progress our careers or build our clientele, we want to create a branding that captures who we are, and what skills we bring to the table.
It’s critical to build your personal brand strategically and create one that helps advance your career and professional life. When done effectively, a strong personal brand leads to new opportunities and connections that can create huge opportunities.
It is, however, important to ensure your brand feels authentic and honest, because whilst you want to create a good impression, your brand only takes you so far. Think of it like an advertisement of yourself, or an exterior version of yourself, you have to be able to live up to the impression you create.
Notably, personal branding is one of the most important elements of executive presence, and without a strong personal brand, you will struggle to create any sense of executive presence.
What is executive presence?
Executive presence is the ability to act decisively and efficiently and embody all the key elements of good leadership. Those with an executive presence work well under pressure, communicate clearly, and have a confident persona. You cannot achieve this without personal branding!
How can I develop my personal brand?
The following steps serve as the central (but not exclusive) considerations for working on your personal brand. In many ways, it can help to look at yourself as a product, and consider how you can brand, in the marketing sense, your product to the people it may benefit.
- What do you have to offer?
Before you can build an authentic personal brand, you must understand exactly who you are as a professional.
- Core values
What makes you who you are and how can these traits and skills benefit you in your professional career?
It is important to consider any previous feedback you have received from others regarding the above. Also account for other people’s opinions of you. Whilst you are of course seeking to create a sort-of persona, you cannot fundamentally change who you are. Creating a personal brand is about working with what you have and finding ways to promote it.
Talk to your friends and colleagues. Even if you feel that you know yourself well, when seeking authenticity, it is a good idea to consult with others. They see you in a way you maybe can’t see yourself.
- Target audience?
If you’re seeking success, growth and development, you need to approach your personal branding with your goals in mind. Who are you trying to impress or do business with? Just as a marketer would consider the interests of their target audience, by identifying who you wish to appeal to, you can home in on which attributes are most important to your branding.
Your personal brand should resonate with the people you engage with, be it colleagues, interviewers or clients. If you have a strong personal brand, you become more trustworthy!
As mentioned, authenticity is critical. If your personal branding doesn’t match who your real personality, it will eventually crack. People will soon figure out who you truly are, and you will likely do more damage than good to your prospects.
It is about embodying the things that make you who you are in a way that builds your outward character. Are you confident in your job, well-liked and respected by those around you? These are all things that personal branding can help with.
You can’t fake it until you make it, but you can shape your reality. You can acquire new skills, develop existing ones, and so forth, if you feel that they will help your personal brand.
- Market yourself
When you understand who you are, how you want to be perceived, and what you wish to achieve, you can begin to tell that story. Branding happens through many channels, your online identity, how you function as a professional (such as in meetings or presentations), but also how you engage with others in any context. How can you attract your target audience to achieve your needs?
- Assess and adapt
You cannot succeed in the long run without regularly assessing how your brand is being perceived. Are you giving off the impression you intended? Moreover, are your skills and actions matching up to this brand? Building a personal brand is not a one-and-done type of situation, don’t be afraid to go back to step 1 and step 2 regularly, and consider how both you, and your goals are changing.
Ultimately, a strong personal brand helps you achieve more in your professional life, as it tells people who you are and what you want, even when you’re not speaking. Having an executive presence and building your personal brand is becoming an increasingly important aspect of achieving business success today.
As highlighted, personal branding helps you to create new opportunities for yourself by marketing you to the right people. Moreover, it encourages better self-perception which improves confidence and performance; it makes you trustworthy; boosts your perceived value and helps you to attract opportunities.
Trainer Bubble offers a range of training resources to help you, or those within your business create stronger personal brands. This includes our executive presence e-learning course, executive presence training materials and personal brand training materials. Explore our full range here.
Or, for more information, and to discuss the learning needs of your business, contact us and we’ll be happy to help.