When most people think of brands, they think of companies; they don’t think of people. However, branding yourself is a highly effective way to establish your authority, create a buzz, and become a reputable resource in your industry. A long time ago, branding incorporate the name, the slogan, the symbol, or the design (or a combination of these elements) that define what a company offers. A brand was used to identify what made one company different than the next and set businesses apart from the competition. In today’s business world, branding is a bit more involved, but it’s an even more important element of marketing than it ever was before.
What is Branding?
Branding refers to what consumers perceive when they hear about, see, or think of a business and the products or services that a business offers. It differentiates a business from the competition, establishes authority, and makes a business the first source people think of when they are in need of a particular product or service.
Branding is just for businesses: It’s also for people. Think about celebrities, who are essentially businesses in their own right. Examples include Oprah, Justine Timberlake, Madonna, Roseanne, Beyonce, and so many more.
Of course, these celebrities were able to become famous because they offer something in particular that the general public finds appealing – entertainment, insight, opinions, etc. However, celebrities are able to capitalize on their talents by branding themselves. In fact, branding can be so effective that if done right, it can turn people who don’t have much to offer the general public in terms of entertainment or insights, into figures that are known around the globe.
What does Branding Yourself Mean?
Essentially, branding yourself involves developing a unique identity professionally and a clear message that sets you apart from the crowd. Developing a personal brand is much like developing a brand for a company or a product in that the overall goal of both is to be viewed as unique and different from others in your industry.
The Benefits of Branding Yourself for Your Career
Think of it this way: You are the product and your consumers are your employers. Branding yourself lets you market your skills in a way that establishes how those skills meet the needs of consumers. For example, consumers tend to be biased toward brands that are endorsed by the celebrities that they like the most. The same can be said for personal branding. If you create a unique personal brand, you can launch your success to the next level.
Establishing Your Personal Brand
Often, people get so excited about the benefits that personal branding can provide and the prospect of establishing their personal brand that they make mistakes when it comes to actually creating their brand.
In order to create an effective brand, keep the following in mind:
- Determine what your aspirations are. Be particular and make sure your goals and objectives are clearly defined. Do you want to become known as the best financial advisor in your particular industry? Do you want to be regarded as the most reputable resource for celebrity news? Whatever it is, make sure that you know exactly what your aspirations are.
- Do your research. Take a look at how others who have made it to the level of professionalism that you are hoping to achieve built their personal brand? Is there anything that you can learn from experts in your industry in regard to their personal branding efforts? Don’t forget to take a look at your competition, too. They can also offer valuable insight about personal branding and help you learn how to set yourself apart from the crowd.
- Establish what you want your personal brand to convey. What do you want people to think of or associated with you when they think of you or hear your name? Why do you want them to think or associate those things with you?
- Think about your current status. Do people already have a perception of you? If so, what is that perception? Do you want to change it or do you want to build on it?
- Come up with a plan of action. You should establish a plan of action that includes how you are going to get yourself out there, get noticed, and set yourself apart from the crowd. What mediums are you going to use to do this? Social media, radio, TV, email; these are all effective ways of reaching your audience and establishing your personal brand.
Evaluating Your Brand
Don’t forget to manage your brand, too! Once you have set your plan in motion, it’s important that you continuously monitor your personal brand so that you know how others are perceiving you and if you are still holding traction in your industry. A lot of people tend to forget to manage their personal brand and end up falling short.
When monitoring your brand, ask the following questions:
- Is your personal brand relating to your target audience? Will your audience instantly understand what you are trying to convey without putting too much thought into it?
- Does your brand highlight why you are unique and different from others in your industry.
- Does your personal brand reflect the values that you want to represent to your customers?
When you are evaluating your brand, make sure to answer these questions and make adjustments as necessary. Remember that your personal brand is constantly evolving. You have to be willing to make changes in order to stay relevant in your industry.
Creating a personal brand can help to take your success to a higher level. It is a valuable way to establish your authority and make your presence known.