As Americans, we’re used to thinking about brands in a consumer context—the power of a name to differentiate a product or company in its customer’s minds. We all know brands that excel at conjuring positive feelings that forge powerful connections with customers, building and reinforcing a strong reputation in the marketplace.
Each and every one of us has that same opportunity, to create a personal brand that defines who we are and what we are about to the world in which we work and live. Here’s how to get started.
1. Know Yourself. Your background, expertise, values and life purpose form the foundation of your personal brand. Take the time to step back and reflect on your experiences and values and how they have shaped who you are today, both personally and professionally. Ask yourself, “What are the key things I stand for and key values I can offer?” The answer will help you identify the unique essence that will form the core of your brand.
2. Play to Your Strengths. Your personal brand should reflect the qualitative and quantitative attributes that distinguish you professionally. For example, are you a visionary? Adept at navigating global culture issues? Experienced in a certain business sector? Defining your areas of expertise will enable you distill your attributes into one or two short sound-bite sentences that are easily communicated and remembered.
3. Develop Your Brand Presence. Examine and adapt your LinkedIn profile, personal web site, company bio—everywhere that your name appears—so that the content consistently reflects the image and values that you want to continuously reinforce and emphasize. Seek out opportunities to further develop and refine your brand messaging through social media, blogging, writing articles and creating video content. Consider reaching out to journalists who cover your business sector and offering to serve as an expert source or offering to serve on a panel at industry events. These are all great ways to build your reputation and strengthen your personal brand by delivering insights that will resonate with people.
Remember: authenticity and consistency are paramount. As you look for ways to build your brand, be sure to define your swim lane and be disciplined about focusing your messaging on specific areas where you can add value or offer a unique viewpoint.