13 Jun The Importance of Personal Branding
The Importance of Personal Branding
We live in a world that requires us to be aware of how we are presenting ourselves to others. Whether or not you realize it, you’re developing a personal brand that defines you and illustrates to the wider public who you are, where you have been and where you are going.
When you do an online search for someone (or yourself) the information you find is the backbone of a personal brand. It is your personal best and worst, all open for public view. Depending on your role, your personal brand will also reflect on your company’s brand—after all, you are a window into what your company values and cares about.
You can either take charge in shaping your image and identity, or you can let your brand be construed as others choose to see you, tempered by their impressions or misconceptions of who you are. If there are negative things online, people might have a distorted view of who you are. If a search turns up well-written and insightful blogs, spunky social media accounts or intrepid professional networking pages, their curiosity may be piqued. However you develop your personal brand, it should authentically express who you are—and you must own it.
Here are the top five reasons why curating your own image and developing your personal brand is paramount.
Separate Yourself From the Competition
You’re willing do whatever it takes to elevate your company so it stands out in a crowded marketplace, but the truth is people relate to other people, not impersonal companies. You may also wield the power of being a recognizable face behind your business. Your personal brand can help set the tone for your whole company and help it stand apart from the rest, so make it count.
Think of your personal brand as a way of taking control of your reputation and creating a statement that summarizes who you are. Honing your own brand also separates your company brand as unique and distinctive, and it gives customers a “real person” to identify with the brand.
Establish Yourself as an Expert in Your Field
Those who are perceived or identified as industry experts have a leg up in the business world. They are more recognizable, they command higher fees, and doors open more easily for them.
Establishing yourself as a thought leader requires a track record of experience, and at least a little bit of success.
Consider creating a catchy tagline for yourself that explains what you do. It’s important to let people know what you have to offer, and this messaging should be consistent across your website, social media profiles, business cards, and any other marketing.
Define What You Stand For
Defining your personal brand is about revealing to the world who you are, what you believe in, and what you stand for. It should be liberating, because your brand is ultimately who YOU have chosen to become. Think about what makes you different from the rest. Then go for it!
What is in your heart and soul? What do you really care about? What are your passions? Then turn those ideas and beliefs into content. Write a blog. Start building an online community of followers. Become a professional speaker. Launch a YouTube channel. Just remember your brand can’t be something manufactured—people will smell fake in an instant. It must honestly reflect your beliefs.
Attract New Clients, Employers, and Employees
Your personal brand should be a selling point to new clients, potential employers, and even future employees. Have you cultivated a reputation as someone they would want to do business with or work with? Do you show how you can create value for those around you? If people believe in you, if they trust what you stand for and see that you have integrity, they will want to work with you, work for you, or buy your products.
That’s how Steve Jobs was able to convince John Sculley, the President of Pepsi, to join Apple in 1983. Jobs asked “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?” Sculley believed that Jobs was doing more than just selling computers—he believed that Jobs was truly out to change the world.
Explain How Your Past Fits Into Your Present
None of us will end up in the same place as we started off. Over time, your career will change course and you will grow in different ways. Part of the beauty of having a personal brand is being able to pull all these loose ends together and explain your evolution by developing your narrative. This is your chance to tell your story. To reinvent yourself.
Your branding narrative helps explains your overall progression in your career, interests and life. The key is to focus on how your prior experience brings value to who you are now. Your narrative should always be consistent with your past, but also explain how your experiences is key to creating your specific and dynamic set of talents. And just like you, it shouldn’t be static—it needs to grow and evolve over time.
Accompany (accompany.com) is a relationship intelligence platform for professionals that was founded in 2013 and is headquartered in Los Altos, California. Available for mobile, the web, and as a Gmail extension, Accompany’s intelligent, adaptive chief of staff app serves professionals everything they need to know about the important people in their network, anytime they need it. Accompany is funded by CRV, Cowboy Ventures, ICONIQ Capital, and Ignition Partners, and led by Amy Chang, Matthias Ruhl, and Ryan McDonough.