How to build your personal brand
"A brand is an expectation of an experience." - Lida Citroën
As a student about to enter the workplace, you have probably heard the term ‘Personal Brand’. This refers to how you portray yourself, typically online. Your personal brand articulates a game plan and strategy for your career.
What experience do you want to give people who will work with you and get to know you?
Why create a Personal Brand?
In the words of Lida Citroen, “A brand is an expectation of an experience”. By creating your personal brand when networking and applying for jobs, you are communicating to the internet what they can expect when they meet and work with you. Your online brand can support you in your job applications and interviews.
How to create a Personal Brand?
Below are some initial questions to start you thinking about your personal brand and at the end of this post there will be some resources that will allow you to delve deeper into your brand.
1. What are you passionate about?
What gets you up in the morning? What experiences have been the most fulfilling? What impact do you want to make on the world? What are your core values and beliefs?
These can be what you do in your studies, at work, or even what you do in your spare time. It’s the thing that gives you energy and motivating in your day.
2. Who inspires you?
What do they do that inspires you? What can you learn from them? How can you inspire others to support your goals?
This can be anyone: from a friend, or family member to an A-list celebrity. There are always things we can learn from those around us.
3. What are you good at?
What job roles or activities have you excelled at previously? What are your biggest achievements? What would someone you work with say your biggest strength is?
It can be beneficial to conduct 360° reviews to get feedback on what you are doing well, and the key areas to improve. Make sure you keep a record of these, and any positive feedback on the work you have done as an evidence-based approach, which can be used on a portfolio and as examples during interviews.
4. What does the world need?
In order to do this, identify three issues or themes affecting your industry or organisation. Think of it like this: What is currently broken? What is missing? What is the competition failing at?
These opportunities can be identified by keeping up-to-date with industry news and speaking with customers to identify the challenges they face to find solutions to meet their needs.
5. What skills and talents do you have that you would love to grow?
Focus on these and promote your strengths. This allows you to focus on your professional and life goals and create development opportunities. The world is constantly changing and keeping up with the new developments through continual development and learning ensures that you are always relevant.
6. How are you perceived by others?
How will you be remembered? How do you make people feel?
This is important to consider, as Maya Angelou said: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
List the first three brands that come to mind.
What did you think of?
What makes these brands so special and stand out from the rest? What draws people to them? Why are people loyal customers? They form connections with their customers. In order to create a good brand, it is important to ensure your credibility. This is achieved by:
Values + Action = Credibility
Values: What do you believe in?
Actions: How are you behaving?
The brands you listed above have effectively marketed themselves in a way to ensure that they stand out from the rest. However, they have different target audiences and they use the right platforms in order to increase interactions.
Who is your target audience? Think of people, communities, companies, and industries with whom you want to interact.
“Visibility has a funny way of multiplying; the hardest part is getting started.” - FastCompany.com
Once you have thought about the core of your personal brand, you can then apply this to your everyday life: how you portray yourself through social media, what actions you need to take in your life to progress in your career, and guide you on the right path to achieve your goals. It is important that your brand is consistent, as this helps to build trust with your network and demonstrates yourself a reliable person - a key indicator of an effective worker.
Take some time to think about your personal brand and the experience you want to give your network and colleagues whenever they interact with you.