I appreciate that Personal brand seems to have become one of those “buzz words” that is being used quite a lot these days. But what is the value and what does it actually mean?
Some of the definitions I found describe it as:
· The process of creating a recognisable professional name and reputation for yourself or your company/business
· To develop a single definition of Personal Branding that can be consistently communicated across all media
I consider Personal brand to be a fancy way of describing self-awareness or authenticity. When I’m working through job search strategies or holding discussions with my leadership client’s I often ask “what is it that’s important to you?” or “what type of person or leader do you want to be known as?”
My belief on personal brand goes beyond simply defining a persona that allows you to market yourself but an opportunity to truly explore who you are, what interests and motivates you and what you want to stand for and achieve.
Stephen Covey, 7 habits of highly successful people advised to always “start with the end in mind”. Self-awareness is the foundation of being able to reflect and decide on the best version of who you are or want to be, whether that’s to be a great leader and or to use it to gain self-confidence in the types of value you will bring to any role when you are in the process of growing or searching for the next step in your career.
The challenge is how do you identify or be able to articulate your #personalbrand ?
Colmar Bruntin recently talked about the power of building a brand and the importance of marketers being both implicit and explicit when promoting products. I translate this to personal brand by encouraging you to consider how you can demonstrate the logic of what you offer/bring as well as the emotional connection of who you are.
Where do you start?
Here are 4 areas I usually work through with my clients:
This process will allow you to identify what skills and experience you have to offer (the logic) as well as the sort of person and behaviours you want to demonstrate (emotional connection to what matters and people). This should be authentic and represent who you really are – not who you think you should be.
What do you do once you’ve identified your brand?
The answer is to live your brand and share your value, you can only behave your way into a situation and a true brand should be part of what you do and say every day. Be that how you show up for interviews or how you lead your team.
Sharing your value is the next level, as well as face to face one other way to do this could be demonstrating your knowledge and interests on linkedIn. However for both leaders and career explorers this is one of the areas that often causes the most discomfort. Many people have created an obligatory profile page with minimal content and then never return to it again. The thought of being proactive feels people with dread!
3 stages to optimise and share your value:
1) Set up your Linked in profile fully, consider your brand and value you add to the community.
2) Grow connections and follow,
· look for the industries you are interested in either from a future employer perspective or if you recognise them as experts in their field
· Who are the people that you admire? Who are the thought leaders in your area of interest?
· What groups exist that align with your purpose?
· Connect and follow with all of the above, look for people you may know within these companies and reach out to them to add to your net work
3) Keep it live – sustainably, as with any website, if there’s no activity or reason to visit the site it just becomes static and disappears into the ether, LinkedIn is the same …You need to demonstrate and live your brand. Here are some suggestions on how you can do this: likes, comments, sharing articles or creating your own blogs/vlogs
The key to all this is to be authentic, share and promote the things that you are genuinely interested in, ensure that everything aligns with your brand and you feel will add value to your LinkedIn community, these will then enhance and support your #personalbrand. The main thing is to be consistent.
Realising the benefits
The power of truly knowing, living and sharing who you are is about you gaining clarity, knowing who you are authentically and deciding on a direction/goal you want to achieve. This could be anything from finding a company that aligns with your values, or to be a leader that innovates and empowers. linkedIn is a great community with amazing possibilities to connect and learn from people so I encourage you to make the most of the platform and show your value through sharing. You’ll be amazed at the networks, learning and doors it can open.