McDonald’s, Nike, Apple, Cristiano Ronaldo, Amazon, Coca-Cola, Donald Trump. Seven global brands with distinct personalities. Each of these represent certain values, goals and beliefs. We know a company must be careful with its image and reputation, but the question is – are you concerned about your own? How do others perceive you?
A few years ago, during one of my undergraduate degree lectures, my class was given the following exercise – pair up with someone sitting close to you and choose three words that you think best describe that person. I remember not being satisfied with the words my colleague chose to describe me. Not that he was impolite or didn’t make the effort – he just didn’t know much about me and chose words such as “nice” and “friendly”. We repeated the exercise with different colleagues and I got to sit next to a friend who knew me well and chose a few words I was happier about. It made me think – do only my friends have that perception of me? Do I just want to be perceived as nice and friendly to everyone else? Aren’t there many more qualities I would like to shout about? That’s when I first created my LinkedIn account. The next step was deleting ‘not-so-great’ photos from social media. And a couple of years later, deciding to create my own website.
The term ‘branding’ is usually associated to companies, but the fact is that every person has its own personal brand. You have two options: either accept your personal brand as it is or have a say and start building and developing it.
Thinking of yourself as a brand not only opens up professional opportunities but expands your network and gives you industry recognition. Do you have any qualities you want to be associated with or do you want to be perceived as an expert in a certain subject?
These six tips will help you improve your personal brand:
- Do your research – first of all, Google yourself and make sure you are happy with everything you find. Cultivating a strong personal brand is also about being responsive to what is being said.
- Be visible and accessible – building a personal brand takes time and commitment and it won’t do you any good if you are not open to new connections. Attend networking events and meet new people.
- Cultivate a strong value proposition – what makes you, as a person, attractive to potential customers or clients? What makes you special and why would someone want to work with you? Once you have these answers, it’s important your audience knows them as well.
- Share relevant, real content – don’t use social media purely as a marketing tool. Be authentic and focus on showing the real you.
- Improve your social media presence – being active on social media can be great if the content you share reflects your values, goals and beliefs. Open your social media profiles and engage in conversations.
- Create a website – having a personal website is one of the best ways to rank your name on the search engines. It can be a simple website with articles, a brief bio and links to your social platforms.