Mastering Your Personal Brand: The Art of Building a Successful Business
In today’s digital landscape, everyone is a brand. Whether asking for a promotion, applying for a job, or writing a dating profile, much of your personal and professional success depends on persuading others to recognize your value.
Personal branding is a strategic and intentional practice where you define and express your value proposition. It combines the beliefs, associations, attitudes, feelings, and expectations that others collectively hold about you. Therefore, your only goal is to ensure that the narrative associated with you is coherent, accurate, differentiated, and compelling.
A well-managed personal brand can boost your visibility, expand your network, and help attract new opportunities. If you wish to build a strong personal brand, read on. This article will discuss a seven-step process to help you create a personal brand you can authentically and comfortably live into and achieve business success.
Outline Your Purpose
The first step is to define a long-term mission and vision. What difference do you want to make to the people important to you, professionally and personally, and what values do you wish to represent as you do so?
For instance, if your purpose is to advance your finance career, you can pursue an advanced degree like an online MBA in finance and fulfill your purpose to become a financial expert who can add value to businesses and organizations.
So, determine your significance to others, rooted in your past decision, actions, and experiences, and look for any consistent competencies, character traits, or interests that could also lead you into the future.
Then write a personal value proposition that targets a specific group, outlines what you hope to provide, identifies your competition, and highlights your distinctive capabilities. Also, ensure your value proposition fully aligns with your mission, passions, and goals.
Evaluate Your Brand Equity
The second step is to identify and analyze your existing brand so that you can successfully shift or build on it to stay true to your value proposition. Think about people’s awareness (what they know about you), meaning (what they tell about you), and associations (feelings and thoughts about you).
Then list descriptive phrases or adjectives you think define the real you, including negative and positive ones. Also, be specific as much as possible and avoid simple descriptors. For instance, instead of ‘smart,’ choose ‘well-read,’ ‘intellectual,’ or ‘educated.’
Finally, evaluate if your self-assessment aligns with your desired brand identity and how well you exhibit and showcase such attributes.
Construct a Personal Narrative
Your brand should not just be a jumble of descriptors floating in other people’s minds, but it should be built on some authentic and meaningful stories that your audience can process when you communicate them. Thus, you need to craft, identify and refine the narrative that represents your brand.
For instance, think about when your uniqueness made the difference between success and failure, when you outshined others and fully embodied the brand you wish to have. Similarly, if someone asks you, ‘Where are you from?’ Don’t just say ‘New Jersey’ but say ‘A rural part of New Jersey, where I spent my childhood building campfires and hiking mountains.’ This is how you can show you are resourceful and adventurous without being explicit.
Remember, your personal value proposition gets more resonant, memorable, persuasive, and accessible when you convey it and associate it with stories.
Embody Your Brand
Remember, each social interaction can shift your personal brand further or closer to your ideal. When you interact with people at parties, in casual conversations, or in job interviews, people form opinions about you, whether you like it or not. Thus, consciously or subconsciously, you are always advertising yourself. Therefore, always be mindful of the message you’re sending.
Avoid communicating negative or mundane vibes, and don’t miss the chance to reinforce your appealing aspects. Remember, it is more about understanding the needs of others and what you can offer them. Thus, always communicate your perianal value proposition most compellingly.
Communicate Your Brand Story
Next is to convey your brand to others using different channels formally. Like in product marketing, the idea is to increase your audience’s awareness, understanding, and discoverability. While you may find it uncomfortable initially, outlining your successes and telling people what you can offer is often critical to success.
Also, to promote your brand story, always consider a mix of media and leverage the best platforms. For instance, you may go with earned media (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.), owned media (videos, podcasts, speeches, etc.), or paid media (buying social media ads, pay-to-play publication opportunities, etc.). With that, tailor your branding tactics to your target audience and see how they prefer consuming media.
Socialize Your Brand
When it’s about personal branding, don’t consider it as an individual exercise. You would need different people to promote your stories and enhance your credibility to target and reach new audiences. One way to socialize your brand is to carefully identify which influencers, gatekeepers, communities, and promoters you can enlist to help you advance your journey.
Then, identify how you can search for allies in those categories. Try to connect with them and communicate your goals and why you seek their assistance. For instance, you can request them to invite you to a panel or speak at an alum club, allowing you to socialize your brand.
Reevaluate and Adjust Your Brand
The last step is understanding that establishing a personal brand is ongoing. Since the professional and digital spheres are constantly changing, your brand must also evolve with them. Thus, regularly assess how your narratives and value propositions fit into your current personal and professional context. See how they are being received and then tweak them accordingly.
This will help you align it with your goals and improve your brand image.
The importance of having a personal brand can’t be overstated. It is about creating an identity for yourself, just like a business brand. Building a personal brand takes time and effort. However, it is essential to achieve business success.
One way to establish a strong personal brand is to follow our seven-step process. So, keep these in mind, work towards it, and attract the right kind of opportunities and clients.