Seven steps to a standout personal brand
Whether you believe it or not, opportunities abound in the country for those who are poised and properly branded. We live in a brand conscious world and whether we realize it or not, it plays a major role in how we are perceived and treated.
I was interviewed recently by a local talk show host and one of the first questions she asked was, “How were you able to build such a strong personal brand?” My response was one word: Consistency. While this is true, when I looked deeper into my 15-plus-year career and business history, there were many specific things I did along the way.
The term branding has long been related to companies, but today almost every individual has a personal brand. The question is no longer IF you have a personal brand, but how you choose to build your brand or to let it be defined on your behalf. A recent Forbes article shares 7 things you can do to begin building an awesome personal brand. I can relate to each one of these steps below.
1. Start thinking of yourself as a brand. What do you wish for people to associate with you when they think of your name? Is there a certain subject matter in which you want to be perceived as an expert or are there general qualities you want to be linked to your brand? Once you understand how you wish your brand to be perceived, you can start to be much more strategic about your personal brand. A strong personal brand can yield a tremendous return on investment, whether you are working with an organization or leading one. Here are some examples of individuals who have built up authentic and powerful personal brands: Michael Port, John Bates, Mike Michalowicz, Dave Kerpen, David Meerman Scott, John Jantsch, Dave Carroll, and Barry Moltz.
2. Audit your online presence. You can’t mold perception without first understanding the current status. In other words, Google yourself and set up alerts for your name on a regular basis. Have a fairly common name? Consider using your middle initial or middle name to differentiate. Cultivating a strong personal brand is just as much about being responsive to what is being said as it is about creating intellectual property.
3. Secure a personal website. Having a personal website for yourself is one of the best ways to rank for your name on the search engines. It doesn’t need to be robust. It can be a simple two to three page site with your resume, link to your social platforms, and a brief bio. You can always expand on the website with time.
4. Find ways to produce value. We’ve all been there. Someone in your network posts something utterly mundane or ridiculous, and you wonder what compelled them to do so. A medium is not a substitute for a message. Find ways to add value to your audience by creating or curating content that’s in line with your brand. Create a regular schedule of sharing valuable content on topics you want your brand to be associated with.
5. Be purposeful in what you share. Every tweet you send, every status update you make, every picture you share, contributes to your personal brand. It is an amalgamation of multiple daily actions. Once you understand how you wish your brand to be perceived, you can start to be much more strategic about your personal brand.
6. Associate with other strong brands. Your personal brand is strengthened or weakened by your connection to other people or brands. Find and leverage strong brands which can elevate your own personal brand. Start with the three C’s: company, college, colleagues. Which school did you attend? Are there groups you can join? An alumni newsletter you can contribute to? What hidden opportunities are available within your company which you have yet to tap? Consider submitting a guest post to the company blog or look at other digital assets you can connect to your brand.
7. Reinvent. A strong personal brand is dependent on a strong narrative. In other words, what’s your story? Take a second to think of celebrities you know who have a strong personal brand. Mark Cuban. Oprah. Richard Branson. They all have a very clear story and a consistent brand. If you have multiple passions or areas of interest, a narrative becomes even more crucial so there can be a unified theme. If you need help defining your story, I highly recommend reading “Reinventing You” by Dorie Clark.
Take action now and choose one of the following steps to implement first. Then be intentional about taking consistent action to build the brand you want.
If you’d like to go further into the personal branding process, join the notification list to know when my upcoming course Standout Power Branding Workshop becomes available by emailing me at email@example.com.
• Keshelle Davis is an authority in the areas of corporate, business and personal success training in the Bahamas. She is also an internationally recognized speaker and author. Her roles include executive director of the Chamber Institute, the education arm the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce; president of Creative Wealth Bahamas and founder of The Training Authority. Keshelle was listed as The Nassau Guardian’s Top 40 under 40 for the 40th anniversary celebrations of The Bahamas. To comment on the article or join her list for free monthly training tips, email firstname.lastname@example.org.