Most of us recognize the influence that corporate brands such as Apple, Coca-Cola, Zappos, Google, Microsoft, Nike or Starbucks have on our buying decisions. But how much focus do most of us put on the most important brand of all – our own?
Wikipedia defines personal branding “as the process whereby people and their careers are marked as brands. It has been noted that while previous self-help management techniques were about self-improvement, the personal branding concept suggests instead that success comes from self-packaging.”
Just a few short years ago, personal branding wasn’t really such a big topic of discussion. These days, however, it has everything to do with succeeding, especially in the social selling space. According to William Arruda, a personal branding guru, personal branding is a revolution in the way we manage our careers or businesses. It’s a way of clarifying and communicating what makes you different and using those qualities to separate yourself from your competitors.
You are the CEO of Brand U
Some years ago, in a Fast Company article, business guru Tom Peters advises individuals to follow the lead of the corporate world and do what they have been doing for years: create your own personal brand. Peters says that no matter what your career title, you are really the CEO of your own personal service company: Me, Incorporated. He says each of us is “a free agent in an economy of free agents” and that we all must establish our own “micro equivalent of the Nike swoosh.”
How does this fit social media?
Your personal brand is the firm impression or image that comes to mind when people think about you. It’s a mental picture someone forms about you when your name is mentioned. Whether we like it or not, prospective buyers Google our name, check out our website and look us up on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. In addition to our actions, words, clothes and behavior making a statement about who we are and what we offer, our online presence does the same thing. When you have seconds to create a lasting impression, one that contributes to achieving your revenue goals, it is important to honestly evaluate how your personal brand stacks up. Once you do, you can develop strategies to minimize those things that are detracting from the message you mean to convey.
Consistent branding based on authenticity can help you improve partnering and cultivate loyalty. –David Cohen, Creative Start-Up Veteran and Brand Strategist at Equation Arts.
Starting today – YOU are a brand!
Social media provides everyone the chance to stand out. Everyone has a chance to be a brand worthy of something remarkable and memorable. Take the time to ask yourself the same question that brand managers at top companies ask themselves: What is it that my product or service does that makes it different? Challenge yourself to shrink it down to 15-words-or-less. Write down your answer. Then take the time to read it – several times. Think about…
- The qualities or characteristics that make you distinctive from your competitors or your peers.
- How you have made yourself stand out today, this week or this month.
- What others would say is your greatest and clearest strength?
Shelve your biased thinking that a personal brand doesn’t matter when it comes to being successful selling your products or services. In today’s world, it is everything! If you want to achieve your goals, developing your brand is a must not a luxury.
Remember, even if you choose not to proactively define your personal brand, others are certain to do it for you. Will you like what they say?