I work in personal branding, but I like to think of it more as purposeful branding. You already have a brand – people think and feel things about you, your business, or you as an employee or employer. You have no control over this fact. What you do have control over is the shaping of this brand, the direction of the perception and the energy around the message you put out into the world. You have a choice about how purposeful you want to be.
The reason I work in this sector is that I discovered, by accident, that I was a personal brand. Without knowing it, I had started using personal brand techniques. I was very clear about who I was, everything I communicated centred around a few core values I had, I was visual, and I was consistent. The result of this was new clients, new opportunities and the ability to gain work – often through referral – but also through totally unexpected avenues from people I didn’t even know existed. These people knew me, knew my stance on the world, knew my aesthetic and knew what I would be like to work with. Bingo. I just earned clients, without really doing anything… other than being VERY myself. How great is that?
The main reason people get personal branding wrong is by thinking it is the “them show.” That it is boastful, or humblebragging and I totally get why people think that when you look at some influencers out there. Personal branding, however, is actually much more about being human and how you harness this human aspect and share it in a way that is easy to understand. How does it work I hear you cry…?
You need to think about this in terms of:
- Values. Define your key drivers and motivators (i.e. what are you passionate about? Collaboration, creativity, competition etc)
- Benefits. Consider how you turn your drivers and motivators into content that will help other people on their journey. (i.e. collaboration – you organise networking events for mutual benefit and financial reward).
- Content. Choose your preferred content type that translates your values and gives people access to your benefits (i.e. events, books, video, podcasts)
- Communication. Choose where you communicate your personal brand (i.e. specific social media accounts and at real-life events. What is your platform?)
- Consistency. Get consistent in everything you do, the messages you share, the style you write, the way you treat people and make sure you are “on-brand.”
Sounds simple huh? It actually takes a considerable amount of self-discovery, reflection and refining to hit the sweet spot and it takes a little bit of time to start to build trust – which you mainly do by being consistent. But once you take the leap into being more purposeful in your business or life, you will not only reap the rewards of more opportunities, but you will probably also find you increase your general contentment and happiness too.