The term branding typically brings thoughts of popular company names. But to stay relevant in today’s job market, everyone should spend time on their personal brand. But what does it really mean? Personal branding is the ongoing process of how you market yourself and your career as a brand or product. I love this quote from Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon. It sums this up well. “Your brand is what other people say about you when you are not in the room.”
Branding is essential to career advancement because it helps define who you are, how you are great, and why you should be sought out. Branding is your reputation. To be clear, your brand is not your job title. It is not just what you do. Your brand is the difference you make for others because of your value. It is important to get this one right. With a strong brand you can differentiate yourself from others, get noticed, and maximize your career potential.
Think about the brands you trust or hold to a high standard. What do they all have in common? Many of us would say we base our attitudes and beliefs about them based on our experiences. The strongest brands are consistently authentic, visible, and valuable. The same qualities apply to personal brands. People with strong personal brands get noticed because they share the passion for what they do in a way that is relevant to the people they want to serve.
So how do you build your brand? You have to start by knowing who you are and where you want to go. Remember, if you don’t brand yourself, others will do it for you. Therefore, you have to sure to spend some time thinking about how you want people to perceive you. It is often helpful to brainstorm using the following questions:
Write one or two sentences that you may use in an email to introduce and position yourself to a client, a colleague, or at a networking event. Try to capture the value you create, who you create it for, and the expected outcome of working with you. This will become your personal brand story across your social media platforms. Once you have defined your amazing brand, you want to promote it and social media is the key to managing it successfully.
Building your personal brand takes time and effort. You will need to become clear on who you are in your life and career now, and what your vision is moving forward.