Why personal branding is important
The latest buzz-word in marketing is ‘Personal branding’ and although originally coined in the late 90s in self-help books, it has become more prominent in today’s world of entrepreneurs, coaches, speakers and influencers where a unique, personal, brand is more desirable than a big business faceless brand like Apple or Coca-cola.
So what exactly is Personal branding?
Firstly, it’s not (or shouldn’t be) about self-indulgence or arrogance, that’s not what Personal branding is for!
Personal branding is about expressing your professional self to the world; your ethos, your values, your story, your authentic self and your goals in a way that resonates with your target audience.
Do you have a Personal brand?
We all do – it’s what people think of us when they meet us, it’s how we communicate with the world and how we portray ourselves to other people.
Yours may not be a strong brand (yet) or you may want to change it so it’s more ‘you’… but it’s there already.
Where would you use your Personal branding?
Where you would use your Personal branding depends on who your target audience is – for example, if you’re a job-seeker, it might be a different platform to an influencer – although some crossovers are likely to be on your social media like LinkedIn.
But, where and whenever you put yourself out in the world to fulfil a goal, you’ll be using your Personal branding so it’s important to think about what that looks like.
How to build your Personal branding
The first step would be, of course, define your goals and your target audience – who will it appeal to, why do you need one, where will you promote, and what can you offer to that audience…..
Do you want to be well known, well trusted or an expert in your field?
If you can, try to find your niche – not everyone in the world will love you (sorry to be the bearer of bad news!) but your niche will ‘get’ you completely.
The next step will be to find your story and define who you are – you could be a crazy extrovert with a joy de vi that’s infectious, or you could be a quiet, authentic introvert who has a knack for seeing the bigger picture – whatever it is, it’s all about you.
Writing that story down is hard – some people find talking about themselves difficult, but to get started, have a go at answering questions like:
- Who – who are you? – are you one person all the time or do you have different ‘modes’ for different situations?
- What – what do you want to achieve? what are your goals? what has happened to get you to this point? what drives you? what impact do you want to provide? what are your strengths and talents?
- Why – why are you the way you are? why are you wanting to achieve your goals? why should your audience identify with you?
- Where – where do you see yourself in 5 years? where do you do your best work/excel? where can people find you the most?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you may want to put it into a more formal format and it doesn’t have to be an essay – it could be graphics, animation, a photo series, a video/podcast, or a blog post. Whichever suits your personal brand the most!
Although you probably do want a short written summary, sometimes called a Personal brand statement, for places like bios on various social platforms, on CVs or for events (if you’re a speaker) etc.
Does all your life have to be totally exposed?
Not at all. It doesn’t have to be your life story, it doesn’t have to be the whole you. Keeping boundaries is important, and anything you want to keep private should be kept out of the limelight. Share only what you feel comfortable with. But the key points are:
- Be genuine
- Tell your story
- Have a focus
- Find something unique to you
- Be consistent
- Live it!
Find your tribe/community
Once you know what your Personal brand is all about, you might want to surround yourself with similar-minded people who share your goals or ethos.
Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, we all need a community that are there to support us and who we can share our journey with.
These people can help you spread the news about your brand, be advocates for you and word of mouth is one of the strongest forms of marketing going so look after those who support you like this.
Building your Personal brand
It takes time to build up your brand up but remember to be consistent across your choice of media – your ethos, goals and story shouldn’t be changing much ,as that’s your core message, but how and what you communicate may evolve over time… and be tweaked along the way.
You may start out on one platform like Youtube but slowly spread into more media (or even get your own website!) to express yourself or find what works for you after testing the waters out. Find a way, that works for you, to add value to your audience so they come back time and time again.
Start small and go big once you have a method that defines your message. The more your message is seen, the more your brand will grow, building your credibility as you go.
Creating a strategy and content for your Personal brand
Obviously Social Media is the most obvious place to express your Personal brand; although print media hasn’t retired just yet, digital media is usually quicker win, and has a variety of media options like photographs, reels/videos, podcasts, music, artwork, animation – or of course a combination of all of the above.
If you don’t have the skills in these areas yet, either find some training or hire an expert to help you – there are many who specialise in Personal branding these days from photographers to coaches.
In the long term, it’s best to plan a strategy of what you want to say and where, inline with meeting your goals and building your community, rather than just trying the organic approach of going with the flow – which can take much longer. Especially if you’re looking for your Personal brand to help bring in money – either through starting a new career or by monetising it.
If you need further help, feel free to contact us using the form below to organise a free consultation with our digital marketing expert.