By Dr. Hume Johnson
Nowadays, personal branding simply cannot be escaped. We are living in the age of the self and of selfies – more photos taken by ourselves rather than by a photographer – of self-promotion and personal celebrification helped along by social media platforms, too numerous to mention. What we are witnessing is a rise of brand image as the new currency for people as much as it is for products and corporations. But your personal brand is much more than a few selfies and posts on social media. One of the most popular definitions of personal branding out there today comes, from founder of the popular online shopping site, Amazon, Jeff Bezos who declares that “Your brand is what people say about you when leave the room”. But do you have control over how you are perceived when you leave the room. The short answer is YES.
Personal Branding is simply how you come across to others, it’s the image you project to others, how you choose to present yourself to others and the world; your distinctiveness, what differentiates you from others. Personal branding is therefore, fundamentally, about managing your name, image and identity, in short, taking control over your public image, on the internet, on paper, or in person. It is about unearthing your best qualities and presenting them in an appealing way to the world. What is the benefit of managing your image in this way? Read on, as I tell you the six TOP reasons why it is a good idea to discover, build, shape up and sharpen your personal brand.
- Establishes Reputation and Credibility: Personal branding will, first and foremost, enhance your recognition as an expert in your field, showcase your skills and assets, as well as raise your perceived value to potential clients or employers. Personal branding will earn you a good and positive reputation that people will admire. But it is 100% about sincerity. You have to be authentic by showcasing exactly who you are and what you can deliver. Otherwise you run the risk of being exposed as a fraud.
- Wins Steady stream of clients: Personal branding increases your value and the value of the skills, products and services you have to offer. The visibility you acquire from branding yourself in turn creates opportunities for advancement and success. Customers will become increasingly aware of your products, skills and services, and will want to purchase from you.
- Helps to Stay Competitive: Personal Branding will help you to remain competitive in your industry. It’s all about marketability for your products, skills, services and any offerings you provide. Personal branding gives you the unque opportunity to create differentiation, and stand out in the marketplace, to show what makes your product and service better, or different than your competition.
- Builds Rewarding Relationships: There is nothing more helpful to your personal brand building than being able to develop strong and rewarding partnerships with influential people in your industry. These are folks that are already successful and have the clout to help you to mentor, advise, and make things happen to thrust your business forward. They may be folks that you would like to collaborate with, or being employed by. To position yourself as a player in your field is a great way if gaining the visibility you need to succeed.
- Promotes Confidence: I can tell you from personal experience that the quickest way to build your confidence is to get noticed for what you do best. No one is going to seek you out, and come find you and figure out what you are good at, and hire your skills. It is your job to position yourself in a favourable light, through careful and strategic promotion of your skills and assets.
- Can Restore Your Image: Finally, personal branding can also be used to restore your image if it is inconsistent or out of control. Something may have happened in your life and career which may have put a damper or negative light on your image. It is not the end of the world. Opportunities to display your positive characteristics, positive behaviour and positive leadership abound when you can build and sustain a positive and credible personal brand. Reshaping your personal brand will help you to position yourself in the way you want to be recognized and gives you the visibility you need to repair and restore your public identity..
Overall, you are a brand whether you know it or not, or whether you like or not. To therefore establish your competitive identity, you truly have become the CEO of your own “me” corporation, the chief marketer of the brand called YOU. In the same way big names such as Coca Cola, Digicel, Louis Vittion, Red Stripe, Nike and Apple present a unique and positive image of themselves in the marketplace, thereby influencing our shopping habits, you too need to sell yourself, exhibit your finer qualities, talents and services, and be recognized as a quality individual, especially if you are to experience professional or business success. Remember its never too late to reinvent yourself and unleash your personal power.
Dr. Hume Johnson is a brand consultant, speaker and executive trainer. She is currently a Professor of Public Relations at Roger Williams University, Rhode Island, United States. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org