Defining your personal brand is no small task. It is what will define your day-to-day and will become how you are known to others. Your personal brand represents you to the outside world. It should consist of a well-cultivated, finely crafted combination of your personality, desires, and strengths. You must shape your brand around each of these so that is both genuine and valuable.
Before defining your personal brand, you must ask yourself who you want to be in this world. You can be anyone you want, but you can only be one person. Consider your best-case scenario in thirty years from now. Do not think in terms of money. Everybody wants to make millions. Financial success is a byproduct, not a goal. Who do you see yourself as in thirty years? Do you own a media company? Maybe you are a successful florist? Or are you a venture capitalist? You can be whoever you want to be, but first you must decide.
Once you have selected who you want to be, you must determine how your strengths can help you get there. Always consider the value you can add to others when defining your personal brand. You should not choose a personal brand that does not add value. People come to know and recognize you based on your brand. Your reputation builds as you add value to others. Look at your experiences and education and determine whether they enable you to add value to others under your selected brand. If you are a successful digital marketer but want to define your brand to represent sales, you are in trouble. Unless you are secretly a star salesperson or acquire the training and experience necessary to sell well, you will likely add little value and your personal brand will quickly turn toxic.
However, even if you can acquire the skills and experiences necessary to succeed under the guise of your newly defined brand, you might have a difficult time selling yourself. Your personal brand should be somewhat congruent with your past experiences where you have a demonstrated track record of success. People will question whether your brand is credible. Credibility comes from previous success.
So, how can you develop a credible brand that people trust? Besides deciding on a personal brand that is congruent with your past, there are several steps you can take.
First, find your focus. Do not create a brand that presents you as being able to do everything under the sun. When defining your brand, narrowly tailor your focus to what you are good at so that you may present yourself as the go-to expert.
Second, be genuine. Being genuine goes a long way and prospects can tell whether you are being genuine or not. Being genuine might not land you every opportunity that comes your way, but it helps you build a much stronger long-term personal brand.
Third, craft and tell a meaningful story. Your story should touch on who you are and why you are the right person for the job. This is where congruency with your past comes into play.
Fourth, always be consistent. Your personal brand should be viewed as any other brand, but unique to you. Consistency is key. It is what you will become known as and how you will be referred to by others.
Your focus should define your story, which defines your messaging to others. Your story and messaging should both be positive and frame your ability to add value to others in a positive light too.
Finally, you must become your brand. There is no warm-up and there are no days off. You and your brand must become one. Your brand must define your everyday life and how you approach others.
View this article in the July 2021 issue of MP.