Some people consider their personal brand to be the same as reputation. Others equate personal branding with thought leadership.
I consider a personal brand to be the awareness others have about you that is your voice of self-promotion when you aren't in the room.
Consider a company, logo or slogan that means something to you. Maybe a particular restaurant chain invokes good feelings based on childhood memories so now you take your kids there. Perhaps owning a particular high-end product signifies a level of success. These brands speak to you without actually being in the room.
And that's what your personal brand can do for you. It's your loudest cheerleader when the compensation committee at your firm is meeting. Or your promotional pitch when a potential new client is considering whether to hire you.
Creating and maintaining a personal brand is an important step for business development and your career.
What does a personal brand include?
Your personal brand is going to illustrate to your audience the person you are, from highlighting the values you hold to the expertise you offer. You want to be strategic and consistent about the things you say and write and the way you conduct yourself so that it is all reflective of the person you want to convey. Effective personal branding needs to cover all of the different facets of your life that make you, well, you.
Creating your personal brand online
Your online presence is particularly important these days with the prominence of social media and the ability for anyone to "google" you.
The first thing you want to do is identify what exactly you want to be portraying as your personal brand. Consider things like your values, what makes you unique, what is your expertise/niche.
Then think about where your audience is. In other words, where do you want to start building this brand for maximum visibility. For most professionals, this will be LinkedIn. You may also consider Twitter or a firm blog as your platform of choice.
Next you want to create a plan to use the platform(s) of choice and producing creating content that will reflect your personal brand. There are number of places you can get tips on how to create this plan. In general, you want to be using your authentic voice. You want to be providing value. And you want to be consistent.
You also want to monitor the engagement you are getting on an on going basis. Collecting this data will help you understand if your current plan is working or if you need to make adjustments.
Creating a strong personal brand is like having a cheerleader singing your praises to your entire audience. Your brand is what tells people who you are when you aren't even in the room. Taking the time to develop an online brand, in particular, can leave a lasting impression.
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Thank you for taking the time to read this month's "Beyond the Application".